Russell J.T. Dyer

Russell J.T. Dyer

Writer & Editor

the works and musings of an american writer in europe • Updated: Feb 15, 2019 • hits: 17892 past month

Foreword for ‘Learning MySQL & MariaDB’ Book

by Russell Dyer
published:  january 27, 2015;  revised:  september 10, 2017;  readers in past month:  98

My new book is on the database software MySQL and MariaDB—tech. review of the book ended last and it went to production on Wednesday. The creator of both of these database software systems is Monty Widenius. We’ve known each other for more than eleven years now. So at the end of last summer I asked Monty to write the Foreword to my book. He agreed to do it, but he’s been very busy and hasn't had the time. He has had plenty of work to do with the MariaDB Foundation and speaking at conferences and other business activities.

Last week I was in Malaga, Spain for the MariaDB company meeting. Monty attended the company meeting as well, as he usually does. When he saw me, he apologized for not having written the Foreword for my book. So I suggested that we meet for a half hour, since we were there all week, and I would interview him. He agreed to that. We met during lunch on Thursday. I had a set of questions that I had worked out with my editor, Andy Oram. They were very open-ended questions so that Monty could speak freely. Monty’s quick when he speaks about MySQL and MariaDB—these are topic about which he is very passionate—so I recorded the interview. I later transcribed the audio recording.

I used the transcript of the interview with Monthy as the basis of the Foreword. I removed my questions and changed a few of his words. For instance, I changed the pronoun ‘they’, when he was referring to the reader, to ‘you’ so as to make it more personal. I eliminated some of the text that went too far off topic and moved some paragraphs around so it flowed better. Then I added an introduction paragraph that describes what follows and added some section headings to the main text to match the introduction. When I finished, I sent it to my editor and Colin Charles, one of my tech. reviewers, for corrections. Then I sent it to Monty to read and approve—to make it all his own.

The Foreword isn’t in the style of flattering me as the author and praising the book. I didn’t want that. It’s generally assumed that the person who writes the Foreword approves of the book and its author. Instead, during the interview, I asked Monty questions about his motivation and the environment when he started MySQL and later MariaDB. I also asked him about the state of both database software. My thinking was that with so many other database systems that a reader might learn, the reader would want some encouragement to learn MySQL and MariaDB. The reader would want some assurances that both software have a long future ahead of them and that the reader isn’t wasting his time in reading the book and learning them. The Foreword ends with some suggestions for the reader from Monty about how to learn MySQL and MariaDB and to become part of the community.

The result is an excellent Foreword that I think potential buyers will find encouraging and thereby get them to buy the book. Those who have already bought it will find it encouraging to forge ahead to read the book and learn MySQL and MariaDB. The publisher has added a note to the front cover that says that Monty has written the Foreword. You can see that in the image here, under my name. All of this should sell more books and make for a better reader experience.