MySQL, with its speed and general ease of use has become the database of choice to hundreds of thousands of developers globally. Like many relational databases, the command line is the ‘factory installed’ tool for building and modifying tables and databases. While the command line will get the job done, it’s not the always simplest nor the most intuitive tool to use. SF.net’s December Project of the month, phpMyAdmin, takes away all the pain of creating and maintaining a MySQL database. Using simple web pages, a database admin can perform all the basic tasks visually, with simple pull down menus. As the growth of MySQL has exploded, so has phpMyAdmin, which is now being used by web developers, ISP’s and universities around the world.
Project Name: phpMyAdmin
Founded / Started: September 1998 by Tobias Ratschiller
Restarted on SF.net: March 2001 by Olivier Müller
Description of project
phpMyAdmin is a web-based front-end to manage MySQL databases and has been adopted by a majority of Open-Source distributors and ISPs.
phpMyAdmin is OS independent, but requires a Web server, PHP and MySQL. It is mostly written in PHP.
How did you get started?
Olivier: For me it started when I noticed the phpMyAdmin project was "clinically dead": no new release from Tobias for the last 18 months, no feedback about submitted patches etc. The SF.net project was created, and I asked Tobias for his permission to take over the project (he accepted). LoÔc & Marc joined very quickly.
Marc: In September 1998 I modified version 1.3.0 to add multi-language support. Then I joined the newly-restarted project on SF.net in May 2001.
Loïc: Just like Olivier, I wanted to merge all valid patches submitted to the old dead phpMyAdmin mailing-list. I agreed when Olivier suggested that I open a SF.net account to pursuit the work.
What is the intended audience?
phpMyAdmin is targeted for all MySQL database users.
What does phpMyAdmin do?
ISPs and schools deploy phpMyAdmin to enable their customers/students to easily manage all aspects of MySQL, including user management, database statistics, database and table creation, query, and relations management.
What makes it unique?
We try to maintain compatibility with the greatest possible range of web browsers, web servers, PHP versions and MySQL versions.
How many people do you believe are using your software?
We probably have between 200K and one million users, based on several facts:
– We sometimes get 300,000 direct downloads on SF.net for a release
– One copy of phpMyAdmin can be installed centrally for all users of a school network or ISP
– It is included in some Linux distributions and PHP books
What gave you an indication that your project was becoming successful?
– Mailing list and forums activity (including praise letters)
– We have been in the top ten list of Most Active Projects on SF.net for months
– We see a lot of PHP/MySQL books writing about phpMyAdmin, some even have tutorial pages
– Numerous mentions in magazines and web articles
What has been your biggest surprise?
Seeing the download numbers growing and growing (3 to 6 downloads per minute).
What has been your biggest challenge?
Merging contributions from a lot of persons, while keeping the code maintainable.
Why do you think your project has been so well received?
It’s easy to use and install, well known, a must-have program for every php+mysql developer and there are many translations available.
Where do you see your project going?
We want continue listening to the phpMyAdmin user community, which means ongoing effort to polish the product and support all aspects of MySQL, especially MySQL 4 and InnoDB.
– August 2001: version 2.2.0 (first version produced by the new team)
– In 2001-2002, we produced seven minor versions
– August 2002: version 2.3.0 (new design with a sub-page for each major functionality)
– We added a Relational component, to add new cross-table features rarely seen in products of this category