Book Review: Beginning Oracle Programming

Beginning Oracle Programming
Title: Beginning Oracle Programming
Authors: Sean Dillon, Christopher Beck, Thomas Kyte with Joel Kallman and Howard Rogers
Publisher: Apress
ISBN: 1-59059-286-7
Publication Date: Sep 2003

Even though there’s “beginning” in the title, I think everyone should read this book. Whether you consider yourself a beginner or an Oracle veteran. Or if you just want to read anything with “Oracle” in the title.

It covers a whole lot of material from the inner workings of the Oracle database to a proper program design.
It explains how the database works and what the consequences are for you as a programmer. It shows you by examples how features work instead of just lecturing you on the proper way to do things. The sample scripts are available for download, so you can verify the results without having to type them all yourself. Included in the download is the SQL toolkit. These are a bunch of scripts which you could use on a daily basis.
There are tons of “try it out” section which guide you step by step through the working of a sample script. This helps you understand the way the examples were meant by the authors.
The book was updated to include the Oracle 9i database features as well as what’s in the new sample schema’s.

If you’re a frequent reader of askTom then you known how he feels about a scheduled, frequent rebuild of indexes. You might be surprised what it says on page 306, and I quote: “…the administrator must rebuild them fairly frequently…”. This might seem contradictory, but the chapter on Indexes was written by Howard Rogers. (by the way, he has a great website which you can find here). You can imagine it was a surprise to read this statement.

In the back of the book are a couple of case studies which go through the motion all of us do when creating a utility or
application. This provides some insight in how to tackle problems (or should I say challenges?) that we face everyday. I’m pretty sure that the first case study is also in “Mastering Oracle PL/sql:Practial Solutions” also by Apress. Nevertheless it’s an interesting case study but …

Overall conclusion: it’s a great book. Read it! I wish I read this book a couple of years ago. Absolutely love it.