7 MySQL and MariaDB features you don’t want to miss

Look to these powerful MySQL and MariaDB features to boost your modern apps

Over the past few years, the open source relational database management systems MySQL and MariaDB have undergone tremendous changes: new and improved features, fixes for long-standing problems, better performance across the board.

With all that’s changed, it’s easy to miss some of the best features MySQL and MariaDB have added in that time. In this article we’ll run through seven of the biggest new capabilities added to MySQL, MariaDB, or both—and why you would want to use them.

JSON support

When NoSQL databases appeared, with their promises of developer ease and elastic scalability, many wondered if relational databases were on the way out. Short answer: Not at all. NoSQL systems are handy and flexible, but schemas and tables will always have their place. 

What’s more, many old-school relational databases, MySQL and MariaDB among them, took a page from the NoSQL book and added JSON support as a standard feature. The net effect is NoSQL when you need it, side by side with conventional SQL in the same database.

JSON support in MySQL and MariaDB lets you insert JSON documents in a specially designated table column. The inserted JSON data can be automatically validated using the same kind of constraints used for other data columns. You can retrieve the data either as JSON documents or simple scalars, and you can use generated or virtual columns to produce an effect similar to JSON indexes.

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