TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Programming and MySQL

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 3
Column Tag: Programming

Untangling the Web

by Kevin Hemenway, Imitating Conspirator

Programming and MySQL

Modifying our MySQL database with the shell and PHP.

We finally added information into our MySQL database last issue, but in a rather infantile way: by writing all the SQL statements (like those seen in Listing 1) into a text file and then passing them to MySQL with a command line, mysql mactech < mactech-insert.sql, which completes silently when successful. This is certainly helpful if we're passing default information to be initialized in newly created databases, but not very useful if we want to programmatically access the information within.

Listing 1: Three new SQL INSERT statements for our database.

mactech-insert.sql
INSERT INTO books
   SET publication = "2000-00-00",
       title = "Object Oriented Perl";
       
INSERT INTO books
   SET publication = "1999-00-00",
       title = "MyEssQueEll";
       
INSERT INTO books
   SET publication = "2003-00-00",
       title = "PHP and MySQL Web Development";

In this article, we'll talk about two more ways to manipulate data: through the MySQL interactive shell, and via PHP's built in database functions. First up, let's walkthrough the interactive shell, which is quite helpful for quickly testing out new SQL statements or applying immediate fixes without new code overhead and development.

The MySQL Interactive Shell

Starting up the MySQL interactive shell is mindlessly simple. Just type mysql and you'll be shown a mysql> prompt, similar to the shell prompt you see when you first enter the Terminal. Since we've yet to specify a database, we're in a sort of limbo: MySQL knows we're here, but we've yet to tell it anything of import. First we'll show which databases have been configured, choose which one we'd like to work with, and then ask for a table listing:

:~ > mysql
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 2 to server version: 4.0.15

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help.
Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

mysql> SHOW DATABASES;
+--------------------+
| Database           |
+--------------------+
| mactech            |
| mysql              |
| test               |
+--------------------+
3 rows in set (0.26 sec)

mysql> USE mactech;
Reading table information for completion of
table and column names. You can turn off this
feature to get a quicker startup with -A.

Database changed
mysql> SHOW TABLES;
+------------------------------------------+
| Tables_in_mactech                        |
+------------------------------------------+
| books                                    |
| person                                   |
| relationships                            |
+------------------------------------------+
3 rows in set (0.05 sec)

The most obvious fact from the above is that all SQL commands must end with a semi-colon. If you happen to forget that termination, MySQL will change its shell prompt to show you it's waiting patiently for a complete command. The following is the same command as before, only split with new lines. Notice the prompt indicating an incomplete statement:

mysql> SHOW
    -> TABLES
    -> ;

A good portion of readers will know that the shell opened by the Terminal gives you command line history (press the UP arrow to see commands you've previously typed) as well as file or directory completion (press TAB after typing the first few letters). MySQL also supports these time-savers: pressing UP will show you SQLs you've typed previously, and pressing TAB when typing a table or column name will auto-complete the nearest match.

In our previous work with SQL, we've touched on the INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE commands. We've yet to touch on the most often used, however, which is SELECT. While our previous statements have focused on adding, modifying, or deleting data, the sole purpose of SELECT is for displaying:

mysql> SELECT * FROM books;
+----+-------------------------------+-------------+
| id | title                         | publication |
+----+-------------------------------+-------------+
|  1 | Spidering Hacks               | 2003-11-01  |
|  2 | Mac OS X Hacks                | 2003-04-01  |
|  3 | Object Oriented Perl          | 2000-00-00  |
|  4 | MyEssQueEll                   | 1999-00-00  |
|  5 | PHP and MySQL Web Development | 2003-00-00  |
+----+-------------------------------+-------------+
5 rows in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT title, name FROM person;
+-------+----------------+
| title | name           |
+-------+----------------+
| Mr.   | Kevin Hemenway |
+-------+----------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

mysql> SELECT * FROM relationships WHERE book_id = '2';
+-----------+----------+
| person_id | book_id  |
+-----------+----------+
|         1 |       2  |
+-----------+----------+
1 row in set (0.05 sec)

The above shows three different variants of a SELECT statement--many more are possible. The first is the easiest to understand: "select everything from the books table". The second is an example of specifying only the columns you want to see, in any order. Even though title came after name in our original CREATE statement (last issue), SELECT allows us to reorder things however we decide best. The third statement is an example of more intimately specifying which exact rows you'd like to retrieve.

Comparing the above walkthrough to the command line we entered last issue (mysql mactech < mactech-insert.sql) gives us a better understanding of what's going on. We specify the database to connect to (mactech; similar to USE mactech in the MySQL shell), and then send a bunch of SQL commands in a batch, as opposed to manually entering them one at a time. It doesn't take a giant leap of faith to realize that we can save the USE database step by specifying it on the command line:

~ > mysql mactech
Reading table information for completion of
table and column names. You can turn off this
feature to get a quicker startup with -A.

Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 2 to server version: 4.0.15

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help.
Type '\c' to clear the buffer.

mysql> UPdAtE books SET title = "MySQL"
    -> where title = "MyEssQueEll";
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.02 sec)
Rows matched: 1  Changed: 1  Warnings: 0

mysql> SeLeCT id, title FRoM
    -> books WHERE title LIKE '%SQL%';
+----+-------------------------------+
| id | title                         |
+----+-------------------------------+
| 4  | MySQL                         |
| 5  | PHP and MySQL Web Development |
+----+-------------------------------+
2 rows in set (0.30 sec)

The previous listing shows an example of entering the MySQL interactive shell with a database already selected, updating a row of misspelling in our previous INSERT (Listing 1), and then getting a pattern match with LIKE. The % characters are boundary placeholders for "anything or nothing", so our final statement finds the letters "SQL" in the beginning, middle, or end of a title. Changing "SQL" to "my" would return the same set of results, confirming that LIKE searches are case-insensitive.

Up until now, all our SQL commands have used capital letters, but you'll notice that they too are case-insensitive. For clarity, I prefer uppercase SQL: it just makes things easier to mentally and visually parse after long hours of fevered coding.

Accessing MySQL From PHP

Our next step is to access our mactech database programmatically with PHP. You'll notice some similarities with the above interactive shell process: we connect to MySQL, choose a database, and issue some SQL queries. You'll note that we're passing the MySQL username and password we created with mysql_setpermission a few columns back. This is important for security: just like you don't want your sister messing with your personal files, you don't want to make it too easy for web interlopers to affect the various databases you maintain. In most cases, once you're finished developing an application, you'd tighten the user's permission even further (say, to restrict DELETE and DROP access).

Save the contents of Listing 2 into /Library/WebServer/Documents:

Listing 2: PHP code for accessing our MySQL database.

db_access.php
<h1>MySQL Database Access in PHP</h1>
<?php
   $dbh = mysql_connect("localhost","favemarksman","***")
     or die ("There was an error connecting to MySQL.");
?>

Before we delve deeper into our code, I wanted to show you a one-character-difference that can be used to improve security. Astute readers will notice that even though I meant davemarksman (the MySQL user created a few issues ago) I mistyped as favemarksman:


Figure 1: An error occurred during the database connection.

Here's the problem: if someone comes to our site and triggers this error message, we've freely given them four pieces of valuable information that can be used against us for exploitive purposes. We've told them we're using MySQL as a database, that it's installed on the same machine as the web server, that there's (possibly) a user named favemarksman (a similar error would occur if the username was correct, but not the password), and revealed a directory path (which, in this case, infers we're using OS X, a fifth fact).

Listing 3 contains a much stronger version of our code, which removes any mention of the technology being used, and stops MySQL from spitting useful information to our visitors. The real magic happens with the @ symbol before our function name: using it will silence any automatically visible errors. This makes for more secure code, as well as a more professional web site (i.e., what impression does it leave visitors if they see nothing but errors?)

Listing 3: Revised PHP code for accessing our MySQL database.

db_access.php, revised
<h1>Database Access in PHP</h1>

<?php
   $dbh = @mysql_connect("localhost","favemarksman","***")
     or die ("An error has occurred. Please report this.");
?>

The revised output is shown in Figure 2:


Figure 2: No more information disclosure. Much better.

With that out of the way, we can now accomplish something. Listing 4 contains complete (but simple) PHP code to insert some information into the mactech database, view it, and then DELETE a bit. As with most programming, there are many ways this can be done: more information about the different mysql_ functions we've not shown can be found at the PHP web site: http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.mysql.php.

Listing 4: Finished PHP code for accessing our MySQL database.

db_access.php, finished
<h1>Database Access in PHP</h1>

<?php

   // connect to the database server.
   $dbh = @mysql_connect("localhost","davemarksman","***")
     or die ("ERROR: Could not connect to the database!");

   // choose our database.
   @mysql_select_db( "mactech" )
      or die ("ERROR: Could not select our database!");

   // create a SQL statement. Notice that through
   // PHP, the SQL terminating semi-colon is optional.
   $statement = "INSERT INTO person SET
                  name          = 'Dave Mark',
                  date_of_birth = '1901-03-31',
                  title         = 'Intern', 
                  designation   = 'Bullseye Hole Filler'";

   // standard way of executing SQL through PHP.
   $response = @mysql_query( $statement, $dbh );
   
   // mysql_error() would give too much information for
   // a production site, but this is just an example. 
   if (!$response) { print mysql_error () . "\n"; }

   // create and execute another SQL statement.
   $sg_made_out_of = "SELECT * FROM person;";
   $response = @mysql_query( $sg_made_out_of, $dbh );

   // this is one of a few ways to iterate through rows.
   print "<h3>People, List #1</h3>";
   while ( $person = @mysql_fetch_array( $response ) ) {

       // column name is array key.
       print "$person[id], $person[title], 
              $person[name], $person[designation]<br />"; 
   }

   // one more SQL statement, this time a delete.
   $freedom = "DELETE FROM person WHERE name LIKE '%Mar%'";
   $response = @mysql_query( $freedom, $dbh );
 
   // and make sure he's really gone.
   $sg_made_out_of = "SELECT * FROM person;";
   $response = @mysql_query( $sg_made_out_of, $dbh );

   // another way of iterating through rows, only
   // as variables, not hash keys. Could get messy.
   print "<h3>People, List #2</h3>";
   while ( $person = @mysql_fetch_array( $response ) ) {
       extract ( $person ); // make columns variables.
       print "$id, $title $name, $designation<br />"; 
   }

?>

The results of running this script are in Figure 3. Since we're inserting a new record, then deleting it, successive loads will assign the new record an ever-increasing sequential ID, even though the data we're entering is exactly the same.


Figure 3: The final results of our database access in PHP.

Homework Malignments

As is typical in a four-page article, we've barely touched the surface of what PHP can do in regards to database access and handling. Next month, we'll change gears and see how Perl handles the same logic. Until then, contact the teacher at morbus@disobey.com.


Kevin Hemenway, coauthor of Mac OS X Hacks and Spidering Hacks, is better known as Morbus Iff, the creator of disobey.com, which bills itself as "content for the discontented." Publisher and developer of more home cooking than you could ever imagine (like the popular open-sourced aggregator AmphetaDesk, the best-kept gaming secret Gamegrene.com, the ever ignorable Nonsense Network, etc.), he'd rather be nursing his wounds with a swift kick to the head. Contact him at morbus@disobey.com.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VOX 2.8.6 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.1.3 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click app installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on... Read more
ExpanDrive 5.4.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Espionage 3.6.6 - Simple, state-of-the-a...
Espionage offers state-of-the-art encryption and plausible deniability for your confidential data. Sometimes, encrypting your data isn't enough to protect it. That's why Espionage 3 goes beyond data... Read more
Pinegrow Web Designer 2.94 - Mockup and...
Pinegrow Web Designer is desktop app that lets you mockup and design webpages faster with multi-page editing, CSS and LESS styling, and smart components for Bootstrap, Foundation, Angular JS, and... Read more
1Password 6.3.3 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
Sublime Text 3126 - Sophisticated text e...
Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose. You'll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features, and amazing performance. Features Goto Anything. Use Goto... Read more
ForkLift 3.0 Beta 2 - Powerful file mana...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
OmniFocus 2.7.1 - GTD task manager with...
OmniFocus helps you manage your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Capturing tasks and ideas is always a keyboard shortcut away in... Read more
CleanApp 5.1.1 - Application deinstaller...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more

Leaf for Twitter (Social Networking)
Leaf for Twitter 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Social Networking Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Banner Saga 2 (Games)
Banner Saga 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The epic award winning story-based role-playing game continues its emotional journey across a breaking world. Lead your Viking... | Read more »
Concrete Jungle (Games)
Concrete Jungle 1.16 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.16 (iTunes) Description: A follow up to the puzzle hit 'MegaCity'! Concrete Jungle is a new take on the city building genre that swaps micro-... | Read more »
5 great apps for the budget traveller
Travelling abroad, or even within your home country, has never been easier thanks to our handy smartphone companions. There are hundreds of apps on the market that promise to make your world journeys hassle-free, but we've selected five of the... | Read more »
Zip—Zap (Games)
Zip—Zap 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Touch to contract.Release to let go.Bring the clumsy mechanical beings home. · · · over 100 levelsno adsno in-app-purchases Zip—... | Read more »
Paperback: The Game (Games)
Paperback: The Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: You are an author trying to finish kitschy paperback novels. Complete Westerns, Science Fiction, Romance or even a Crime... | Read more »
How to Rule With a Firm Hand in My Majes...
My Majesty is a kingdom management sim not unlike August’s magisterial hit, Reigns. It’s essentially a reskin of developer Tigrido’s previous management sim, Dictator. As supreme ruler of the land, you must consult with a number of subjects to... | Read more »
Our 5 Favorite iMessage Sticker Packs
At long last, iMessage joins the ranks of messaging apps the likes of LINE and Whatsapp, adding an impressive collection of stickers. They’re a great way to add a little something extra to your daily conversations. [Read more] | Read more »
How to get past Vulture Island's tr...
Vulture Island is a colorful and quirky mish-mash of platforming and puzzles. It’s creative and fresh, but sometimes the game can throw a curveball at you, leaving you stuck as to how you should progress. These tips will help you explore smoothly... | Read more »
The new Clash of Kings is just for Weste...
If you’ve played the original Clash of Kings, you’ll probably recognise the city building, alliance forging and strategic battles in Clash of Kings: The West. What sets this version apart is that it’s tailor made for a Western audience and the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished Mac minis available startin...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $928...
Overstock has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $927.99 including free shipping. Their price is $171 off MSRP. Read more
Buying McLaren Would Give Apple Instant Car C...
Apple “iCar” rumors have waxed and waned over the years, piquing interest and speculation as to whether Apple is seriously interested in getting into the automotobile business, either in a joint... Read more
Aetna to Transform Members’ Consumer Health E...
Health care benefits company Aetna, which has an estimated 46.3 million clients, today announced a new initiative to revolutionize members consumer health experience by combining the power of iOS... Read more
USB-IF Announces USB Audio Device Class 3.0 S...
USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, today announced the USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specification to establish USB Audio over... Read more
Clearance 12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks, App...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks available for $1189, or $410 off original MSRP. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free... Read more
Logitech SmartDock and Skype For Business Com...
Logitech has announced Logitech SmartDock, an AV meeting room solution designed in collaboration with Microsoft. Logitech SmartDock works with Skype for Business and qualified devices, including... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for up to $220 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1899.99 $... Read more
Apple Macs and iPads available for up to $300...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Chicago...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Raleigh...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
User Support Specialist *Apple* Product Spe...
…Description:Ciber, Inc. is seeking a User Support Specialist - Apple Product Support in Nashville, TN!Responsibilities:Support, implementation, and upgrade of Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.