Eran Galperin has posted a few helpful tips (ones you can "actually use") for optimizing your database and how your application uses it.
I understand the need for simplicity because of the wide audience of Smashing Magazine, but I'd wish they'd give something more than the absolute basics you could find in almost any other site out there [in their recent tutorial]. I also didn't like some of the methods mentioned there for profiling (or the code itself), so I here is my starter guide to optimizing database performance.
Tips included in his post center around a different set of questions:
- When should you optimize the database?
- Think about profiling first, optimizing last
- How EXPLAIN can find the big problems
- When caching should be used
Some code is included, but only briefly since his point is more about the server than the client (script) side of things.