MySQL Gives .NET High Five

MySQL gives Microsoft a nod from the open source community at the MySQL Conference and Expo.

There was a lot of head scratching at this year's MySQL Conference and Expo when Microsoft was singled out for its contributions to open source development.

"Seriously?" one attendee was overheard asking during the keynote address of Marten Mickos, who was CEO of MySQL AB until Sun Microsystems Inc. acquired the open source database developer for $1 billion in March. Mickos, who's now senior VP in Sun's new database group, pointed to Redmond's work with MySQL in naming Microsoft one of three companies to receive its Partner of the Year awards.

Building a Partnership
Not everyone was surprised. "MySQL is practically unknown in the .NET community," says Jeffrey McManus, principal at consultancy Platform Associates LLC. McManus develops and runs the online document collaboration site, which uses both .NET and MySQL. "There are some bleeding-edge guys who use it, and there are some open source tools, like SubSonic, which provides explicit support for .NET. But for the most part, MySQL has a reputation problem with .NET developers."

But McManus, who led a session at last month's conference on .NET development for the open source database platform, believes that MySQL is a viable platform for .NET developers. It's very mature technology, McManus says.

"It's a full-featured relational database system," he adds. "It runs well on Windows. Also, there's explicit support for it in Microsoft's development tools. And, unlike the standard version of SQL Server, it's free."

Microsoft offers its own free version of SQL Server, dubbed SQL Server Express.

New Developer Platform
While McManus is a proponent of MySQL as a database platform suited for Redmond developers, he also used his podium at last month's conference to talk up .NET as a developer platform for the open source community.

"When I talk to MySQL people, I tell them that .NET has a lot of features and capabilities that make it an extremely powerful and productive development environment," he says. "The fact is, most companies have Windows somewhere -- it just makes sense to use the Windows development stack for the apps you build."

McManus calls Microsoft's support of MySQL "one of the best-kept secrets in the industry." That support takes the form of a .NET data connector that's officially maintained and supported by MySQL and the Visual Studio integration for which the company received the conference award.

During his session, McManus discussed techniques for creating a Web app with very little hand-coded ADO.NET. And he touched on methods for creating a database-driven ASP.NET AJAX application, object-relational mapping strategies in .NET 2.0 and the value of querying using Microsoft's LINQ in .NET 3.x.

How does McManus know so much about the efficacy of coding MySQL solutions using .NET? He used that combination to build his own company's Web site,
"We used it from the beginning," he says. "I spent five or six months when I was still at Yahoo! evaluating MySQL. It became clear pretty quickly that it was the perfect choice for us, too."

Mobile Tool Gains MySQL Support

Count MySQL as the latest database platform that developers can port the MobiForms development environment for handheld devices running applications over wireless networks.

The Guildford, United Kingdom-based vendor last month released MobiForms for MySQL, adding to other key database platforms it supports -- including Oracle, Sybase, IBM's DB2, SQLite and HSQLDB. The software also runs with embedded databases that run on handheld devices, the company says. The rapid application development (RAD) tool lets developers build apps for key mobile platforms including Windows Mobile, Palm OS and Symbian, as well as Windows Tablet Edition. The new release, which also comes with a free version of the open source database HSQLDB, comes with SMTP e-mail interfaces. The company has upgraded the Deployment Wizard to support added devices and operating systems.

The only key database MobiForms does not support is Microsoft's SQL Server. That's slated for the next release, a company spokesman says in an e-mail. The $178 license fee includes the developer tool, Deployment Wizard, a free runtime distribution and the SQLLDB database.

-- Jeffry Schwartz

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at

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