Lesson 1 > Get Started

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Welcome to the free MySQL lessons!
This is your working desktop. Before we begin, click here to take a quick tour.
Here you will learn some of the basics that will help you in your journey with MySQL.

Before we get our hands dirty with SQL commands, we need to go through some basic terminology.
We know it's boring, but hang in there.
MySQL is what we call a DBMS, Database Management System.
By its name you can figure out that a DBMS is a software that manages the creation, maintenance and use of a database.
So, what is a database?
As its name indicates, a database is an organised collection of data. In other words, related data that is stored together.
For example, a video club, a library, and a shop could use databases to store information about their rentals, sales, customers, stock etc.
But still, how is the data organized inside a database?
Using tables.
Tables are smaller collections of related data.
Let's take the video club example. We already have the database which is called videoclub.
Inside this database we must store a number of different data. We will use tables.
We will create a table for our members, for the movies, for the movie categories, for the rentals, for pricing etc.
Each table holds specific information.
Now, a table consists out of columns. Each column can hold a single piece of data.
For example, the members table of our videoclub database would have some of the following columns:
first name, last name, birth date, registration date, address, city, post code etc.
Hang in there, we are almost done.
Let's look at this from another point of view.
  • A database is a warehouse. You cannot have a warehouse inside a warehouse, so you cannot have a database inside a database.
  • A warehouse can have many rooms. Each room is a table. You cannot have a room within a room, so you cannot have a table within a table.
  • A table can have many shelves. Each shelf is a column. You cannot have a shelf within a shelf, so you cannot have a column within a column.
  • Finally, you can store something in a column, as long as it fits in it. We will talk about this in the future.
That was it. Now that you know what a database, table and a column is, you can click the BEGIN button to start with your free lessons!