I’m going to give you a whirlwind tour through some of Maatkit’s features and functionality. The toolkit is much too large and complex to cover more than a small part of it in depth. So here is your advance warning: I’m going to go through a lot of material, and I won’t be stopping for lengthy discussions :-) The Maatkit documentation is very thorough, and I hope to introduce you to things that could be of use to you, so you can go learn about those topics from the documentation.
Let me give you an idea: when I’m optimizing queries, I open up the output of mk-query-digest in Vim, navigate to the query I’m working on, CTRL-V to start visual selection mode, select the part of the query I’m interested in, type :!mysql -vr, press Enter, and I get my EXPLAIN, SHOW CREATE TABLE, or whatever pasted right into my file, which helps make a nice analysis report I can send to the client. I just skipped a lot of important information. Did I go too fast? Well, pretend you’re at the conference: now you know you want to go home, learn Vim, and use mk-query-digest for query analysis.