MySQL/Database Help

I'm wondering if someone can explain this code a little for me the table is actualy jos_ezrealty I can understand where the defined variable for that is coming from however I'm a little confused where the a.* is reference and the letter in front of the code. thanks so much

   
$query = "SELECT a.*, u.mid AS mid, u.dealer_name AS dealer_name, u.dealer_company AS dealer_company, u.dealer_email AS dealer_email, 
	u.dealer_phone AS dealer_phone, u.dealer_mobile AS dealer_mobile, u.dealer_sms AS dealer_sms, u.show_sms AS show_sms, 
	u.dealer_image AS dealer_image, u.dealer_type AS dealer_type, u.logo_image AS logo_image, u.published AS dealerpublished, 
	p.mid AS amid, p.dealer_name AS adealer_name, p.dealer_company AS adealer_company, p.dealer_phone AS adealer_phone, 
	p.dealer_mobile AS adealer_mobile, p.dealer_sms AS adealer_sms, p.show_sms AS ashow_sms, p.dealer_image AS adealer_image, 
	p.dealer_type AS adealer_type, p.logo_image AS alogo_image, p.published AS adealerpublished, 
	q.username AS user1, r.username AS user2 FROM #__ezrealty as a"
	. "\n LEFT JOIN #__ezrealty_profile AS u ON u.mid = a.owner"
	. "\n LEFT JOIN #__ezrealty_profile AS p ON p.mid = a.assoc_agent"
	. "\n LEFT JOIN #__users AS q ON q.id = a.owner"
	. "\n LEFT JOIN #__users AS r ON r.id = a.assoc_agent"
    . "\n WHERE a.published = '1' AND a.id = $id";
    $database->setQuery( $query );
    $rows = $database->loadObjectList();
	$row = $rows[0];

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adamrosshillAsked:
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gr8gonzoConsultantCommented:
The "a." is just a nickname, really.

SELECT myTable.myField FROM myTable;
SELECT t.myField FROM myTable AS t;

Those two queries do the same thing. When you declare a table name AS something, you're creating a short nickname for that table to make it easier and faster to write the query. In my example above, there's really not a lot of difference in the length of the query. But when you're joining lots of tables or referencing a lot of fields, using "t" instead of "myTable" makes the query considerably shorter and easier to read.

It also helps when you're joining the same table on itself:

SELECT t1.parentID, t2.ID FROM myTable as t1 LEFT JOIN myTable as t2 ON t1.parentID=t2.ID;

Hopefully that makes sense!
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adamrosshillAuthor Commented:
Ya thanks so much! I did a little more goggling and found this article as well. I guess I always just joined long hand.
http://www.keithjbrown.co.uk/vworks/mysql/mysql_p8.php

You also explained it very well.. I wasn't sure if I would mess up the variables by adding in some more field in here but it worked well.. thanks!
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adamrosshillAuthor Commented:
thanks
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