Creating a MySQL Master – Slave connection

I’ve setup several MySQL Master – Slave connections and like to share my procedure. During the trials there are several details I’ve come to learn how to handle and my own set of “best practices”.

The MySQL Master Slave connection works under the premise that “a statement executed on the master should create the exactly same result when executed on the slave given that their database is equal”. For this to work we need to start two servers that are identical and then make one follow the other.

We used MySQL Server 5.5.11 when creating the master slave connection in the guide below. Please consult the MySQL Documentation if you are using a different version.

Step 1: Setup servers
First of all you will need two MySQL-servers. The standard community edition works fine. They should be of the exact same version to avoid any problem that bugs in one or the other might introduce. If you introduce a slave into an existing MySQL server you will need to make plan for a downtime for the duration of running the “mysqldump” command.

TIP: Save the MySQL installation file if you want to add more servers later since you will need the exact same version.

Step 2: Configuration
Edit the my.ini-file off the future master and add the following settings:

# Unique Server ID
# Name of binary log

The Server ID can be any number as long as there are no two servers with the same number in the replication chain, i.e. in our case the slave must have a different number.

The log-bin setting tells the server to make a binary log of every statement executed on the server.

Edit the my.ini file off the future slave and add the following settings:

# Unique Server ID

TIP: Add the setting relay-log=relay-bin to name the relay log. Otherwise MySQL by default uses [hostname]-relay-bin. The problem with the default is that if the host ever change hostname the replication will break. It also breaks if you want to make a copy of the slave to a second slave (if you do not add the setting to the new slave as well).

As mentioned before, the Server ID of the slave needs to be different from the Server ID of the master. When these changes are done, restart the service on both MySQL machines to let the changes take effect. Use the following commands to restart the service:

Linux (requires super user access):

user@host:~$ service mysql restart

Windows (requires administrator privileges):

C:\net stop mysql
C:\net start mysql

After the changes you should see a binary log starting to grow in data data directory of your future master.

TIP: If you have made other modifications to the my.ini file these needs to be copied as well to the slave, otherwise the slave riscs behaving differently from the master.

Step 3: Create a user
The replication will be using a normal user with the replication privilege. I opted to create a new user for this using the following commands:

mysql> CREATE USER 'slave'@'%' IDENTIFIED BY 'mytrickypassword';
mysql> GRANT REPLICATION SLAVE ON *.* TO 'slav'@'%';

The user will be created on the master but if you replicate all databases (as this guide will) then the user will also be replicated to the slave.

TIP: You can use any password you like BUT the password will be visible in plain text on the slave server! In the file that will be created later in this tutorial all the master information will be stored including username and password.

TIP: Make the slave user limited to a certain domain or IP so that security riscs will be minimized. In the above example the user slave can log in from any host.

Step 4: Copy database
Now the time critical portion of this tutorial begins, from here until the datadump is complete the master database will be unavailable for writing.

Execute the following command on the MySQL Master:


Now all tables will be locked so that no transactions can occur. This is required since we need to make a full database dump of the current state of MySQL Master. Next execute the following command:


Write down the reply of the following values: File and Position. An example would be:

File: mysql-bin.00001
Position: 1337

From the command line on the MySQL master issue the following command (change password etc as needed):

C:\mysqldump --user=root --password=rootpassword --all-databases --master-data --result-file=mydump.sql

TIP: Are you using non UTF-8 encoding? Add “–default-character-set=latin1” to the command line where latin1 is the encoding you are using. If you do not supply an encoding MySQL will assume UTF-8.

When the dump is complete and you have a file called mydump.sql you can unlock the tables. Issue the unlock command on the master:


The master server will now be on-line and working again.

Step 5: Create the slave
Copy the file mydump.sql to the slave server. When it is done execute the following command from the mysql command line (you might have to specify exact location of the mydump.sql file):

mysql> source mydump.sql

TIP: Do NOT use “mysql -u root -p < mydump.sql” from the normal command line since that can corrupt the encoding, again if you use non-standard encoding.

The database on the slave is now identical to what the master from a specific point in time. Now configure the slave to connect to the master and follow it from that point in time.


Make sure that MASTER_HOST is the name or IP of the MySQL Master. MASTER_USER and MASTER_PASSWORD are the same as created in step 3 above. MASTER_LOG_FILE and MASTER_LOG_POS are the same as read from step 4 above.

TIP: Since we used the flag –master-data when creating mydump.sql the MASTER_LOG_FILE and MASTER_LOG_POS should allready be set. The remaining settings are however needed.

TIP: Unless you specifically need it I recommend to avoid using binary logging on the slave while it tries to “catch up” with the master. Also the “bin-log” command only triggers logging of commands executed directly on the server, not from replication. To make the slave write replication to it’s own binary log the following setting must be added: “log-slave-updates=1”.

Start the slave with the following command from MySQL command line:


Step 6: DONE
Congratulations, your slave server is now replicating everything on the master server. Depending on how long time it took between step 4 and step 5 the slave should most likely allready have caught up the the master. To check on the status run the following command on the slave server:


Especially noteworthy fields in this reply are “Slave_IO_State” that informs us of what the slave is up to, most common reply here is “Waiting for master to send event”. “Seconds_Behind_Master” tells us how many seconds behind the slave server is at the moment. If the slave server has been done or restored to an old backup this value can be very high. Normally this value is zero indicating that the slave is up to speed.

TIP: Did you know you can “daisy chain” MySQL servers. Just setup the slave as master to a new slave! There are however some further considerations for doing that, maybe a future blog post!

TIP: The slave server is perfect to use as a “live backup” in case the master should fail. You can also temporarily stop/lock the slave to make a complete database backup without having to worry about downtime of the service. The slave will catch up with the master again once started.

TIP: As with every security meassure in information technology, try this out before trusting how it works! I give NO GUARANTEE OF ANYTHING WRITTEN IN THIS GUIDE, you have to try and verify it yourself. This works for me, it doesn’t necessarily work for you.

More tips, comments or questions? Please feel free to comment below!

Using AJAX to asynchronously load slow XML files

More and more I’ve come across situations where I want to use AJAX to download a XML file to use in the interface but know beforhand that the file will take a long time to load. With asyncroneous download of XML files by JavaScript, which is kind of what the buzz word AJAX is all about, you must be carefull not to leave the client in limbo between a useable interface and a locked up screen.

Unfortunately this script only works in Internet Explorer, useful tips of how to port it properly (with the asynchronous property intact) would be highly appreciated.

Here is a simple description of the basic functions needed to perfom a asynchronous download where the user will have the option to abort.

First we need a simple function that download the XML, this is pretty standard and the code is lovingly ripped off from

function loadXml(sUrl){
		//Internet Explorer
		xmlDoc=new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM");
			//Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, etc.
			xmlDoc = document.implementation.createDocument("","",null);
		catch(e) {
		xmlDoc.async = 'true';
	catch(e) {

This code is pretty straight forward and I assume you allready know of it, if not read the guide over at W3Schools. The only difference in the above code compared to that from the tutorial over at W3Schools is the flag “xmlDoc.async = ‘true'”. This means that the code will continue executing after the load is called without waiting for the load to finish. This will place the status of the xmlDoc variable in a limbo which can be checked with the “readyState” flag.

To check if our file is ready to use we have a test-loop that will check if readyState changes:

function testReadyLoop(){
	if (xmlDoc.readyState == 4){
		// the file has completed the download
		alert('xmlDoc ready to use! Contents:n' + xmlDoc.xml);
		// TODO: add code here of what to do with the file
		if (!abortXmlLoad){
			// try again in 1 second
			// stop loading the xml file
			alert('Loading of the XML file aborted!');

The incrementation of the variable “i” is just a counter that will be used later and the “abortXmlLoad” is a boolean if the loop should continue or not, these will be explained later. What happens in this function is that it first tests if readyState is 4 which indicates that the file is ready to be used, if this is the case we simple show an alert with the contents of the file, here more intelligent code would be placed. If it’s not ready it checks if it should continue waiting for the file or not, if it should it calls itself in 1 second (1000 ms) otherwise it aborts the loading and simply stops.

To abort a download we need to set the “abortXmlLoad” flag to true, a short function is needed for this:

function abortAsyncXML(){
	// set the abort flag to true
	abortXmlLoad = true;

Now we have all the functions needed for the asynchronous download, a last function is added to tie them all togheter:

function loadAsyncXML(sUrl){
	// set abort to false and start download
	abortXmlLoad = false;
	i = 0;
	// start loop to check when ready

This function first resets the values of “i” and “abortXmlLoad” and then it calls the download and after that starts the loop to test if the download is ready. The file will now download silently in the background and pop an alert when ready unless someone calls “abortAsyncXml” before that happens.

As you may have noticed there are a few global variables I use across the functions that also need to be added to the top of the script:

var xmlDoc;
var abortXmlLoad;
var i;

To use this script a small form need to be added to the page:

<input type="button" value="load" onclick="loadAsyncXML('sample.xml');">
<input type="button" value="abort" onclick="abortAsyncXML();">

This will load the file “sample.xml” and abort if the abort button is pushed. In order to test that the abort button is working you would have to build a slow loading page that simulates long loading time.

I will post a link to the full code and sample later. Hope you found this helpful.

Google Blueprint CSS tutorial

This is a basic tutorial of the first use of Google Blueprint as a CSS layout.

Download Blueprint CSS
Download the main library att Google Code, at the time of this writing that is the file “Blueprint”.

There are three folders in the ZIP-file, first you have the “blueprint” folder which contains the ready to use CSS-files (ie.css, print.css and screen.css). While there are more files in that folder we will only concern ourselves with those in directly in the “blueprint” folder and not subfolders.

I will not go into detail about the two other folders, for your information the “lib” folder contains YAML source for the project and the last folder “tests” contains sample pages you can play around with if you’d like.

Fast reference PDF
There is a nice “cheat page” you can print out from a PDF, this is optional though but I found it very helpfull at least while learning the new classes.

Link the CSS-files
All you need to do is copy the three CSS-files in the “blueprint” folder into a directory of your choice in the main HTTP directory. I assume you put them in a subdirectory simply called “blueprint”. Next you need to link them in the HTML-files where you wish to use them, add the following code:

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”blueprint/screen.css” type=”text/css” media=”screen, projection”>
<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”blueprint/print.css” type=”text/css” media=”print”>
<!–[if IE]><link rel=”stylesheet” href=”blueprint/ie.css” type=”text/css” media=”screen, projection”><![endif]–>

The first CSS defines how to display the page on normal monitors and projectors. The second file is for printing and the last file, surrounded with an IF condition to only be used by Internet Explorer, is specific instructions for the naughty web browsers that do not follow the standards.

Make a HTML file that uses the Blueprint
I assume you know HTML and CSS so I skip the basics and move straight to the new classes that blueprint offers. Simply put you need an outer DIV of the class “container” that will be the parent object of all others. Inside of this you can decleare HTML code as normal. A real simple first page could look something like this:

<div class=”container”>
<div class=”span-24 last”>
<h1>Hello World</h1>

The outer DIV is the container of all objects. The second div defines itself as a “span-24” and “last” class. Span-24 is the max width (950 pixels) and will span the entire area inside the container, last is added to signal this is the final column on this row (it’s also the only so in this case maybe a bit overkill).

Now after this it’s very easy to expand the concept, for example to make a “top headline and under menu + content” layout simply write:

<div class=”container”>
<div class=”span-24 last”>
<h1>Hello World</h1>
<div class=”span-4″>
The menu
<div class=”span-20 last”>
The content

This still doesn’t solve the more complex aspects of CSS-layout when you need everything to be “just right” but with an overall layout made this easy you can focus on the end tweaking instead of re-inventing the basic wheel everytime you need to make a new design.

The absolute best part about the Blueprint CSS is a “small” feature internally namned “rest.css” which is part of the “screen.css” file. This resets all browser settings to one single setting (Firefox, Internet Explorer etc all have slightly different default values for border, margins, padding etc) making cross platform development much much easier. Secondly, and the acctual main purpose, the ability to easily create new columns and layout modifications really improves start up development time of new designs. While the Blueprint CSS just have very basic settings it’s often these basic settings that screw up every new design I make since I tend to aim a little too high everytime I write a new CSS-class.