Book Review: Oracle Database 10g A Beginner's Guide

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Oracle Database 10g A Beginner's Guide Cover

Title: Oracle Database 10g A Beginner’s Guide
Authors: Ian Abramson; Michael Abbey; Michael Corey
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
ISBN: 0072230789
Publication Date: March 31, 2004
Website: http://shop.osborne.com/cgi-bin/osborne/0072230789.html

The setup of the book is nice, with progress checks to monitor how well you understand the chapter you just read and sample exercises. Every now and then there’s a “Ask the Expert”-section which gives you answers to fictitious questions. Some of these raise an eyebrow, ’cause the explanation for the answer is not always given. From the publisher’s website there’s a sample chapter to download. The code used in this book is also available for download.

Even though it’s an easy to read book (I’m a slow reader and it took me a little over a week), don’t do it. It’s very confusing. If you’re a beginner and would like to get a first hands-on-experience with Oracle, don’t start here. The feeling I get from this book is that they try to cover too many different subjects and don’t go into any details. They’re only scratching the surface.

According to Merriam-Webster the definition of a beginner is “an inexperienced person”.
The terminology used to explain the working of the database is not for an average “inexperienced person”. If you don’t have an understanding of the basic concepts of Oracle, it’s very confusing. The way the chapters are set up is not what I expected. They don’t build on previously acquired knowledge. This makes you think you skipped 40 pages while turning a single page.

From early on in the book they use Enterprise Manager to show different features of the database and show you some of the generated SQL code. You can tell it’s generated SQL, ’cause the column names are in double quotes…. Or is it just me, that I don’t use double quotes when creating a table ;-). I’m a strong believer that you shouldn’t put tools like Enterprise Manager or TOAD into the hands of a beginner, it’s easy to do more harm than good.

A quote from the back-cover: “You’ll also get an in-depth introduction to SQL, PL/SQL, Java, and XML programming.”
Would you think it’s possible to get an in-depth introduction to these technologies as well as cover the main concepts of the Oracle database in a mere 400 pages? I think not.

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