When General Assembly students graduate from their course — whether it’s user experience design or data science — it’s always exciting (and sometimes surprising) to see the range of products and passions that actualize as a result. In the case of Nathan Maas, a Web Development Immersive alumnus of GA Seattle, the product was an idea called pennypost. The passion? Connecting the world with homemade digital postcards that are easy to send and share.
Nathan — who took a range of night classes in product management, front-end development, and data science at GA before choosing WDI — developed a web (and soon-to-be iPhone) app, pennypost, which was inspired by his travels to nearly fifty countries across the globe. Though he bought postcards everywhere he went with the intention of sending them home, constraints like time, postage, and tracking down mailing addresses, meant he never actually sent them. An idea was born.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably not a programmer. (No worries. You’re in safe hands, here.) If you are a programmer, odds are you’re plugged into GitHub right now, building the next great something. That, or you’re too busy writing an endless book of gushing sonnets about the much-loved service to read an article like this.
MySQL. You’ll hear developers speak of it in lofty terms. “It’s my lifeline,” “it’s essential,” “without it, we’d never have launched.” It also happens to be integral to some of the largest web platforms in the world, such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.
So what is it?
MySQL (pronounced “My S-Q-L” or “My Sequel”) is an open-source, relational database management system (RDBMS). It enables developers to manage data streams in a fluid, scalable, reliable way. Essentially, one can outsource a multi-terabyte data flow to the MySQL database server, and freely customize that data’s interaction with your site or web application.
Think about the data inside files that you store on your computer’s hard drive. That data is accessible to you, but unless you organize your files as part of a larger system, its contents are static, and its relationship with data in other files is difficult to ascertain. When one inputs databases into MySQL, all that data – the location, size and inventory of a company’s retail stores, for instance – can be filtered, edited, and searched with amazing speed. Put another way, MySQL is where data points talks to each other, and also interact with the web.