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MySQL 5 is out. This stable release is now recommended for production use, so if your installation of MySQL 4.1 is getting dusty (or worse yet, if you’re still on 4.0), now might be the time to look at updating your installation.

This release of MySQL effectively brings it to feature parity with enterprise databases like MS SQL Server and Oracle, with many new, long-awaited features:

Stored Procedures and SQL Functions
Embed a portion of your application’s business logic directly into your database to improve performance of frequently-needed data manipulaton operations.
Triggers
Further offload business logic from your application. Respond to changes in your database by executing custom operations in response to events like row insertions, deletions, updates.
Views
Define particular table columns or joins that are accessible to certain users without granting them full access to sensitive data in the relevant tables.
Cursors
The database can keep track of your application’s current position in a large result set, so that you don’t need to cache such large result sets in your application.
Information Schema
Access information about your database tables through the virtual information_schema database.
XA Distributed Transactions
Perform transactions (multi-step operations that must succeed completely or not happen at all) across multiple database servers, or even non-database systems.
SQL Mode
Switch modes on-the-fly to request stricter or more standards-compliant database behaviour (e.g. raise errors insteads of warnings for tables involved in transactions).
New Federated and Archive Storage Engines
The new Federated storage engine lets you access tables actually stored in other database servers as if they were stored locally. The Archive storage engine is good for storing large quantities of infrequently-accessed data without indexes with greatly reduced overhead.

Additionally, a number of new tools are available for managing MySQL servers and importing data and related structures from competing database servers.

Grab MySQL 5.0 now, or head over to the MySQL AB Articles index to read up on some of the new features.