REVIEW: "Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners", C. J. Date
- BKDDRTFP.RVW 20071112
"Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners", C. J. Date,
2005, 0-596-10012-4, U$29.95/C$41.95
%A C. J. Date
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$29.95/C$41.95 800-998-9938 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
%O Audience i- Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 208 p.
%T "Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners"
The preface states that this book is intended for those (great many)
who understand relational databases primarily from their work with SQL
(Structured Query Language) without a formal background understanding
of the underlying model. It is, therefore, not peoposed as
introduction for those unfamiliar with relational concepts, but
provides the basic and fundamental concepts and principles accurately
for the benefit of that particular audience.
Chapter one outlines the foundational precepts and terms. Although
the text is clear and well-written, those without some working
experience in relational databases would have difficulty with the
material. Examples (mostly SQL commands) are used, in chapter two,
the differences between relations and data types. Again, readers
should have a solid grasp of relational concepts in order to get the
greatest benefit from this material. Questions are given at the end
of the chapter, and are much more than the usual reading checks. (Some
exercises expect readers to be familiar with the author's "Tutorial D"
language, which comes from a different book.) A comparison of
relations and tuples is in chapter three. Relation variables, or
relvars, are outlined in chapter four, which also contains a
comparison with predicates. Chapter five describes relational
algebra, and notes the original relational operators. Integrity
constraints, both for data types and database information, are covered
in chapter six. Chapter seven does not teach database design as such,
but examines and promotes certain principles of design by
concentrating on the meaning of the data. Date recaps and reinforces
the important aspects of the relational model in chapter eight.
As Date notes, those who want a "ground up" introduction to relational
databases will have to go elsewhere. This is demanding material, and
requires at least a working background with relational databases.
Relational theory is a formal specification precisely because that
particularity of specification helps to ensure that database systems
provide the best and most consistent results. Therefore, those who
are familiar with database administration but do not have formal
training in the abstract principles of relational databases would be
well advised to make the effort to work through this book, which is
uniquely crafted for that particular audience. Doing so will improve
both understanding and performance.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2007 BKDDRTFP.RVW 20071112
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If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish
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