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To database developers, administrators or curious students, with love: It is very unfortunate that destiny had me suffer the tremendous pain and frustration in reading the 3rd edition of "Database Management Systems", by Ramakrishnan and Gehrke, to learn the fundamentals of DBMS, for the contents of the book lack preciseness and clarity, thus, leading to a lot of confusion and ambiguity in the mind of the reader, who is learning databases for the first time (and is presumably an experienced programmer). Authors of the book have badly failed in properly covering the topics based on clear and formal definitions of fundamental database concepts. Many topics were not dealth with by the authors comprehensively and lack focus too. The book is full of hundreds of lines of explanation that require another expanation. It is true that this book is more like a puzzle for you to put together in order to make heads or tails of what the topic really is all about. This book seems appealing, however, to the instructors, for the authors have provided them with supplementary material that mainly includes lecture slides, complete solutions to problems in the book, and some examination papers. In summary and conclusion, the 3rd edition of "Database Management Systems", by Ramakrishnan and Gehrke, sucks and is it not worth your time or money. This conclusion higly propabilistically holds for all previous editions of the book. A strongly recommended alternative is "Fundamentals of Database Systems" by Elmasri and Navathe. Oh, and by the way, those quotes (all of which I bothered to read) that the authors have selected to start each chapter of the book with are really silly, irrelevant and meaningless.
A lot of the reviews on here are negatively critiquing this book for what I feel are the wrong reasons. I used this book for a senior University course, and it covered the material, and did so well, and to a good level of detail. It gives great coverage on the theoretical level and decent coverage on the details/practical level. I taught myself the whole course using the textbook references to this book (I had an attendance problem), and did fine in the course. Just be sure that your expectations are reasonalbe: it gets into ways to access databases and how to design architectures around data, but this isn't a book about jsp, or enterprise architecture, so don't expect that - but if you're ever writing jsp and need a tip on getting to your database, this book might be able to help. This is a book about data and databases, and it covers that material well.
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I appreciate that the kindle version of this book exists as it makes it exceedingly convenient to bring the book to work, to school, restaurants, etc; but the book is full of equations. The equations were converted to images of such low quality I'm left wondering if they printed out the book, scanned the images in on a fax machine and pasted them into the document in MS Word 2003. Some of the equations literally have a fuzzy gray pixelated background. Heh.
The diagrams in the book are of such a startlingly low quality they're totally illegible. Plan on buying the print edition of this book along with the kindle version. You'll need it to decipher the diagrams. They look alright in the page, but of course the font is too small to read. The problem is that zooming in doesn't help, since it was (as previously mentioned) faxed over from one building to another.
This conversion is shameful.
I'd hate to discourage publishers from making Kindle copies though. I'd buy it again, I'm just embarrassed for them regarding this conversion.
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To be blunt, this book is terrible. I've read the first 21 chapters very carefully. The coverage of material is fairly thorough. However, the text is confusing, poorly written, and lacks useful examples. Some sentences were so ambiguous that I needed to read them 5-10 times to understand what the authors were apparently trying to say. I've been involved in academic science and engineering for 15 years, and strongly feel that this is one of the worst textbooks I've ever read. As an alternative, you might consider the book by Garcia-Molina et al - although I haven't read that book carefully enough to intelligently compare the two.
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I bought this book according to my course instructor recommendation.The text is very difficult to understand.I have to read the same sentence for several times and then go back to the according powerpoint slide to try to understand what is going on. Take chapter 2, introduction to database design, as an example.Most of the text is devoted to ER model.The example is very difficult to understand.Graphical explanation should be included, but not all examples are explained in such way. Many times, when going in depth to stuffs like class hierarchies and key constraints.Litte if not zero example is provided.Read this quote if you can understand: "In contrast to class hierarchies in programming languages such as c++ -- there is a constraint on queries over instances of these entity sets: A query that asks for all Employees entities must consider all Hourly_Emps and Contract_Emps entities as well." The authors seem to be very weak in english.They love to use rheoteric questions and followed by the very same answer, 'Intuitively, no!', to try to convoy their ideas. Obviously it is not very intuitive! Avoid this book please!