Publications     Connecting To A Remote MySQL Database


It is commonly said that most open source projects begin by a programmer “scratching an itch.” I am by no means a programmer but I do believe in sharing and helping others when possible.

A few months back I was planning a database solution for a running club. Their database was essentially a flat file in MS Access and I wanted to move them to a remotely hosted MySQL database. Among the many benefits would be increased accessability of the data, less of a need for regular (and often forgotten) backups and simplification of using/administering the database.

What I forsaw as the only major problem with this plan was how to allow the membership person to generate and print out renewal forms, envelopes and other printed matter as a mail merge with data from this remote database. While searching for solutions, I came across two potential solutions: Generating PDFs on the fly using various plug-ins available for PHP and I had heard that had database capabilities similar to MS Access. After further research I decided the PDF option would be too unweildy as it would require my or another technical person to make even the smallest changes to documents. I am lazy and want to give the end-users as much control as possible (and prudent). About this time I happened across an article on which explained how to hook up to a local MySQL database on Linux.

Knowing how well works cross-platform and having had a little experience with MySQL both locally and remotely, I thought it must not be much of a leap to connect to a remote database. If this could be done, all of my running club's database problems could be solved.

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