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MySQL Cookbook by Paul DuBois

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Using MySQL for Apache Logging

Problem

You don’t want to use MySQL to log accesses for just a few pages, as shown in Recipe 18.14. You want to log all pages accesses, and you don’t want to have to put logging actions in each page explicitly.

Solution

Tell Apache to log pages accesses to MySQL.

Discussion

The uses for MySQL in a web context aren’t limited just to page generation and processing. You can use it to help you run the web server itself. For example, most Apache servers are set up to log a record of web requests to a file. But it’s also possible to send log records to a program instead, from which you can write the records wherever you like—such as to a database. With log records in a database rather than a flat file, the log becomes more highly structured and you can apply SQL analysis techniques to it. Log file analysis tools may be written to provide some flexibility, but often this is a matter of deciding which summaries to display and which to suppress. It’s more difficult to tell a tool to display information it wasn’t built to provide. With log entries in a table, you gain additional flexibility. Want to see a particular report? Write the SQL statements that produce it. To display the report in a specific format, issue the queries from within an API and take advantage of your language’s output production capabilities.

By handling log entry generation and storage using separate processes, you gain some additional flexibility. Some of the possibilities are to send logs ...

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