Friday, April 22, 2016

The new MySQL X DevAPI Protocol and what it means for PHP

The relational database world just changed and you didn't notice, did you? Rather than speaking SQL to your data, what if you could talk to it in PHP directly? No longer do you have to struggle to remember arcane structured query language syntax and just grab data with PHP. You can still write bad queries full of N+1 errors and a whole host of other problems. But you are speaking PHP to your data. And this started with MySQL 5.7.12 and its new Document Store Functionality.

The Document Store functionality expands on the new JSON data type in MySQL 5.7 with a new server plugin, a new API, and a suite of new components designed to make MySQL accessible for users who are not familiar with the SQL language or prefer to use a schemaless data store. This MySQL Server plugin enables communication using the X Protocol. And clients that implement X DevAPI and enables using MySQL as a document store easily. So you can talk to your data in the language of your choice (say Python, Javascript, or SQL) via a new shell or use a new connector to use these features. For those in the PHP world I must warn you that the new connector to support the new X DevAPI is on the way -- not here yet but on the way.

Trying the XDevAPI

You will need MySQL 5.7.12 with the X plugin enabled and the new mysqlsh. Details on the installation of the shell and plugin can be found under Using MySQL as a Document Store in the MySQL 5.7 Reference Manual. Fire up the shell and you will see something like this:

That mysql-js> prompt lets you know that your shell is currently in Javascript more. Currently the shell has modes for Javascript, Python, or SQL. To connect to a database simply type

db = session.getSchema('world_x')
It is then easy to use Javascript to create, remove, update or delete data.

The X Plugin extends MySQL Server to be able to function as a document store and the X Protocol, which is designed to expose the ACID compliant storage abilities of MySQL as a document store. Documents are stored in JSON format and enable schema-less storage. Using the X DevAPI you can use a NoSQL-like syntax to execute Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) operations against these documents. The server will be listening to port 33060 (configurable) for communications in the new protocol.

And any data you drop into the document store is avail from the document store in JSON format AND is accessible at the same time from SQL. And by using the new connectors (Java, .NET, Node.JS for now) that support the X protocol, your code hits the database without have to fidget and grumble about using SQL. You are talking in your language to a relational database using NoSQL.

And you data you add via the X protocol in Node.JS can be used by someone with Python, or Java, or SQL at the same time.

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