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Agile Database Techniques: Effective Strategies for the Agile Software Developer Paperback – October 17, 2003

ISBN-13: 072-3812098330 ISBN-10: 0471202835 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471202835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471202837
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"I wish I had a book like this eight years ago. You’ll want to be sure to have enough copies for both your development and database folks."
Jon Kern, Founding Member of the Agile Alliance

"You will find workable, real-world advice here."
Doug Barry, Author, Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures and The Object Database Handbook

An agile database administrator (DBA) has the difficult task of focusing on data-oriented issues, including traditional database administration as well as any application development involving data. Agile DBAs also collaborate with enterprise professionals to ensure that the efforts of the project team reflect enterprise realities. Scott Ambler has written this invaluable book from the point of view of an agile DBA, enabling you to learn the techniques that agile DBAs use to work effectively on evolutionary (iterative and incremental) software projects.

With every chapter you’ll be introduced to essential facets of data-oriented activities such as:

  • The basics of object orientation, relational databases, data modeling, and how to deal with legacy data issues
  • Database refactoring, an evolutionary technique that enables you to improve your database design in small steps
  • Mapping objects to relational databases, performance tuning, database encapsulation, and supporting tools
  • Implementation techniques and strategies such as concurrency control, security access control, finding objects in relational databases, referential integrity, and the effective use of XML
  • Strategies and advice for individuals who want to become agile software developers and organizations that want to adopt agile techniques

About the Author

SCOTT AMBLER is president and a senior consultant of Ronin International (, a software services consulting firm that specializes in software process mentoring and object/component-based software architecture and development. He is a contributing editor for Software Development magazine and a columnist for Computing Canada. His personal Web site is

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Customer Reviews

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Most OO developers will kill for a DBA who actually supports the software effort rather than being an institutionalized impediment.
Gary K. Evans
If you are looking for a broad overview of how to develop applications that use databases (typically relational DBs), then this is a great start.
Nicholas Roeder
After a long struggle, I'm giving this book "only" fours stars despite that it contains some very, very high quality material.
Lasse Koskela

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Lasse Koskela on January 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Agile Database Techniques is a brilliant book. Already after reading the first chapter I felt like I had been run over by a truck, wondering why I haven't paid more attention to these issues before. Yet, it also has its flaws which I will go into further down.
Ambler starts laying out the groundwork for the second part of the book by introducing his Agile Data method, UML and data modeling. He also gives a very useful jump-start tutorial on data and class normalization and discusses the infamous object-relational impedance mismatch. Worth noting is that in each chapter (throughout the book) Ambler makes sure that the reader understands how the subjects relate to the role of an agile DBA and what should he be looking out for. The subjects in part one were introduced so well that I more than once thought, "I've never seen such a well-balanced and informative tutorial."
The second part of the book focuses a bit on how evolutionary software development is the reality and how techniques such as Agile Model-Driven Development and TDD can assist in surviving in this climate. The chapter on database refactoring is intriguing and the more comprehensive list of database refactorings, found in the appendices, is something I'll definitely Xerox and keep with me in my traveling tool bag. The second part also covers database encapsulation strategies and approaches to mapping objects to relational databases which, again, is a delightfully comprehensive tutorial, as well as touching on the topic of performance tuning.
The third part is a seemingly random collection of subjects such as finding objects in a relational database, referential integrity, concurrency, security, reports and XML with databases.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "agilecoder" on February 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Agile Database Techniques" is aptly subtitled "Effective Strategies for the Agile Software Developer". Take special note of the word "strategies", because what you will not find within is pages of code and implementation details. This is not a bad thing as there is so much ground to cover that getting caught up in the low-level details of how to implement a particular strategy in language (add yours here) would have limited the scope of the book. Instead, what you will find is a detailed set of skills and development methodologies required by the developer who finds him or herself immersed in the details of modeling, implementing, and/or refactoring the database schema for their current application.
Should you buy this book? Well, try answering the following questions:
- Could you easily create a physical data model of your schema?
- Can you explain the difference between first and third normal form?
- What about first and third object normalization forms?
- Can you list the challenges in mapping an object model to a data model?
Did you answer honestly? Because these are just some of the items covered in Part One of the book and unless you said yes to all of the above, you will walk away with plenty of ideas for improving your development after a single reading. This is the core reason I would recommend this book. It is full of ideas that you might never have thought to include in your development practices, and probably some that you had thought about but were not sure what the best approach might be.
My complaint with "Agile Database Techniques" is that it could use another iteration.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I've bought in years. It starts with an overview of agile software development, something that every single IT professional needs to understand these days. It also overviews basic skills such as data modeling, object modeling, and normalization. Ambler is absolutely dead on with this material: everyone needs to understand the basics of both object development and database development if they're going to get the job done. I'm really surprised how few object and data books actually deal with these basics, they always seem to focus on only one part of the overall picture. Why hasn't someone written just this section before?????
More importantly the book has chapters on agile model driven development and test driven development, two topics that are critical to your success as an agile programmer. Anyone doing XP needs to be up to speed on both these techniques. in particular TDD but just as importantly AMDD.
A really cool chapter talks about database refactoring, which is basically refactoring for relational databases. Anyone who wants to be an effective DBA needs to learn this stuff. There's also an appendix with a catalog of DB refactorings. This material alone is worth the price of the book.
I didn't think that the chapters on basic programming issues such as concurrency control, referential integrity, database access, and reporting would be of interest. Man was I wrong. Ambler takes what I thought were dry subjects and shows how many implementation choices you actually have. I can't remember how many arguments I've gotten into with DBAs, or programmers, who thought there was only one way to do these things. Most importantly he discusses the tradeoffs of each strategy and tells you when they work best.
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