Top 10 MariaDB Books For Developers

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MariaDB is the open source equivalent to MySQL having been forked from that original codebase. It has grown rapidly in the past few years and tons of developers are flocking to this database engine as an alternative for modern webapps.

There aren’t many differences in the SQL code itself. But maintaining a MariaDB website is definitely different from a MySQL site.

Thankfully there are tons of books to help you learn this powerful database engine and I’ve curated the best picks here. Take a look over this list and see if anything catches your attention.

Best Intro Book

If you’re just getting into databases I’d recommend reading MariaDB Crash Course by the incredible author Ben Forta. He teaches MariaDB in a way that just makes sense with a writing style that doesn’t feel overly technical.

You can even pick this up with little-to-no prior database or SQL knowledge and still work through the lessons comfortably.


Getting Started with MariaDB

For complete novices with no prior experience I would highly recommend the book Getting Started with MariaDB. You can pick this up without ever touching any other database engine and you’ll still be able to work through the exercises.

Over 135 pages author Daniel Bartholomew teaches you how to install and configure MariaDB for web development. You’ll learn how to set this up on Windows, Mac, and Linux machines along with creating local dev environments.

Daniel gets into lots of nuanced details regarding security and user roles for the databases. This is all important for newbies to understand so these exercises really pay off down the line. Plus the writing style of this book is very simple and easy to pick up.

By the end you’ll be comfortable installing, configuring, and building on top of MariaDB without hassle. This is definitely one of the simplest intro books for developers who have absolutely no history with MariaDB or databases in general.


MariaDB Essentials

Every relational database relies on SQL for querying tables and data. But most developers learn SQL along with a database engine so it’s tough learning one without the other.

MariaDB Essentials covers MariaDB with a big focus on the SQL language. This book teaches you how to install MariaDB from scratch and how to setup, populate, and alter tables. These exercises include SQL commands so you’re forced to learn the language alongside MariaDB.

Later exercises teach you how to create a full text search over a database and how to work with dynamic columns in a table. Many of these lessons push beyond the norm for web development but they’re helpful if you need to learn the basics first.

MariaDB Essentials is really a DB+SQL intro book for beginners. If you’ve already used MySQL this book will be a tad easier but prior knowledge isn’t required.


MariaDB Crash Course

Some people want to dive right into the action and start building cool stuff. MariaDB Crash Course is a 300+ page book on MariaDB that’s basically full of exercises and tutorials.

The author Ben Forta is a renowned tech instructor with years of experience in programming and servers/databases. Ben’s writing style is very colloquial so it’s pretty easy to understand without too much techie talk.

Since the book is so easy to read it’s perfect for beginners who have never used a relational database. You’ll start with all the basics like creating tables and pulling data for webapps. But you’ll quickly move into regular expression searches and transactional processing on top of the MariaDB engine.

This book is practical and straightforward. You’ll dive right into the lessons and Ben provides source code for each one.

It’s also pretty lengthy so you’ll be covering a lot of ground with this one book. It’s a great intro for devs who want to learn MariaDB through guided exercises.


MariaDB: Beginners Guide

I know some people want cheap intro books and MariaDB: Beginners Guide is the perfect pick on a budget. This is much cheaper than the other books in this list and it comes with much of the same info.

This guide totals about 200 pages with early lessons teaching you how to install MariaDB and how to write your first SQL commands.

You’ll learn about the different storage systems like InnoDB and Myisam along with different storage types like dates, plaintext, and auto-incrementing IDs. The author does not cover as many detailed examples as previous books so this reads more like a study guide rather than a teaching guide.

But the information is solid and it can be a very handy reference. This might be more useful in conjunction with another exercise-focused book since the two would complement each other nicely.


SQL in 10 Minutes

If you’re looking for a complimentary SQL book on top of the MariaDB content then please check out SQL in 10 Minutes. This is part of the Sams Teach Yourself series which is full of brilliant intro books for every programming language under the sun.

This book is a decent size with just under 300 pages in total. It was also written by Ben Forta, the author of MariaDB Crash Course and his writing style for this book is just as brilliant.

This is truly the best intro to SQL for anyone with no prior experience.

You’ll work through basic lessons teaching the SQL command line including simple queries and more complex ones too. These exercises teach the various operators and data sorting techniques when pulling content from a database.

By the end of this book you’ll be a SQL whiz and should feel very comfortable working in any relational database system. I do not think this is necessary for someone trying to learn MariaDB since so many other books add this into the curriculum.

But if you want to become a pro developer in any field you’ll want to master the SQL language and this book will give you a big jump start.


Building a Web Application with PHP and MariaDB

The majority of web host environments come with MySQL by default. This is the most common setup for web applications but more developers are moving to the PHP/MariaDB model.

Only trouble is learning all the proper PHP functions to connect into MariaDB. Thankfully there’s an awesome book called Building a Web Application with PHP and MariaDB which teaches all of this stuff.

It’s 240 pages long and through practice lessons you’ll learn how to connect PHP with MariaDB to build some incredible webapps. Later chapters get into unit testing and caching to optimize performance and reduce server load.

You can pick this up with very little knowledge of MariaDB and learn a lot by the end. Early chapters introduce you to the basic CRUD commands, yet by the end you’ll be working with database authentication and object-oriented programming for PHP database classes.

I would highly recommend this to any serious PHP developer. You’ll learn so much from this book that simply can’t be found elsewhere in this much detail.


Learning MySQL and MariaDB

Since MySQL and MariaDB are so similar it makes sense to study them together. Learning MySQL and MariaDB is an introductory guide to these databases by developer Russell Dyer.

In this book Russell teaches the fundamentals of both database engines by comparing their features and explaining their differences. You’ll learn how to create, update, and delete tables in both engines, plus how to join data tables together and connect into them from the backend.

The author mostly relies on PHP but he does work with other APIs for related backend languages. The ultimate goal is to teach MySQL and MariaDB together for contrasting effect.

If you’re just looking for a MariaDB book you should look elsewhere. This is really a look into both DB engines so you won’t get as much detail from this one.

But it is 400+ pages long and the content is very detailed. However I’m still waiting on an updated version with newer source code changes since the 1st edition has some typos.


MariaDB High Performance

There’s always a point where you move beyond the basics and need to scale larger MariaDB applications. This is where the book MariaDB High Performance becomes an asset to your database work.

This is without a doubt the most dense resource for anyone trying to learn and master MariaDB. The author gets into replication and sharding along with master/slave configurations for load balancing multiple database servers.

Every single chapter takes you on a step-by-step journey so you’ll be forced to learn along the way. And while this book does target sysadmins/database admins it can still be valuable to web developers who want to learn about the IT side of MariaDB.

If you have any need to go beyond the basic setup of MariaDB then this book is for you. It is easily the best guided book on advanced MariaDB that I’ve ever seen. The tutorials are incredibly detailed and they work with MariaDB core features + 3rd party extensions to help you create the highest performing MariaDB setup possible.


Mastering MariaDB

This book may seem like a letdown compared to the previous one, but it’s actually still great as a whole overview of MariaDB. Instead of just focusing on optimization this book teaches about everything from permissions to data backups and database clusters.

Mastering MariaDB spans 350 pages and offers a slew of great advice for intermediate-to-advanced level MariaDB users. This book really gets into the details including custom hardware stacks for partitioning HDDs or creating RAID setups.

If you don’t actually own a server this advice won’t be as useful. But you’ll also learn about user roles, custom permissions, optimizing queries & indexes, plus using log tools for checking your DB stats at peak traffic hours.

There is so much you can do with MariaDB once you know how it works. And if you need something to push beyond the beginner’s territory then Mastering MariaDB is a great book to have.


MariaDB Cookbook

I can’t wrap up this post without mentioning the incredible MariaDB Cookbook by Daniel Bartholomew. He’s the same author of the book Getting Started with MariaDB and he’s an authority in this field.

The cookbook has 280 pages full of over 90+ recipes hand-made for solving common MariaDB problems. Daniel teaches how to handle users and database security, how to connect into multiple databases from one app, and how to get real complex by merging a MariaDB+Cassandra setup together.

Daniel shares tips for using core functionality and troubleshooting built right into MariaDB. But he also offers solutions with 3rd party libraries like Sphinx text search, XML/CSV file imports, and working with the TokuDB storage engine.

This is the ultimate cookbook for advanced MariaDB users and I would highly recommend it as a reference guide. There is no better resource that I’ve seen on the web offering so many handy tips for both common and obscure problems.

Really incredible book and well worth having on your bookshelf if you’re a serious MariaDB user.

All of these book are valuable to developers and database admins who want to master the MariaDB engine. There’s no single book that can turn you into a pro. But with practice and consistency you can learn a lot over time.

If you’re just getting started I’d recommend either MariaDB Crash Course or Getting Started with MariaDB, both of which are incredibly friendly to novices. You can pick up these books without even understanding what MariaDB is or how it works and you’ll be able to follow along with relative ease.

But regardless of your skill level there’s bound to be something here that can up your MariaDB game to the next level. And so long as you put in the work and keep building stuff you’re bound to see results.


Author: Alex Turner

Alex is a fullstack developer with years of experience working in digital agencies and as a freelancer. He writes about educational resources and tools for programmers building the future of the web.