MySQL Gives .NET High Five

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."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].