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An Introduction to Database Systems (8th Edition) 8th Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321197849
ISBN-10: 0321197844
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

C. J. Date is an independent author, lecturer, researcher, and consultant specializing in relational database systems, a field he helped pioneer. Among other projects, he was involved in technical planning for the IBM products SQL/DS and DB2. He is best known for his books, in particular, "An Introduction to Database Systems" (7th edition, Addison-Wesley, 2000), the standard text in the field, which has sold well over half a million copies worldwide. Mr. Date is widely acknowledged for his ability to explain complex technical material in a clear and understandable fashion.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson; 8 edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321197844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321197849
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is not a how-to, it is a how-to-understand. I own multiple editions of this book starting with the 3rd, when many of the examples referred to RBase. It won't tell you, with simple color diagrams and cut-and-paste examples, how to optimize your Oracle SQL queries or tune your DB/2 engine, but it will teach you the underlying principles of relational databases, from which the serious professional will be able to extrapolate. If you have the intelligence and stomach for it and you actually read it, it will serve you much better than the SQL in 24 hours picture books that some reviewers seem to be looking for -- it is a timeless and effective conceptual work on the subject that spans the evolution of commercial product implementations. Dilitantes and desperadoes, head for the Dummies aisle -- this one's not for you.
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Format: Paperback
Sorry, no full-color graphics, and no included disk full of fill-in-the-blank examples and wizards to build your contact list. This is an old-fashioned academic tome, not a how-to book or thinly-disguised marketing tool for some commercial database system.
I suppose the biggest criticism I could make of this book is that it overestimates the target audience. Unfortunately, many who see the title of this book assume that it will teach them how to work with current database products such as Oracle, or maybe SQL Server and Access. No, this book doesn't show you how to create an invoicing system for your bicycle shop, or a web content management system. What it will show you is the conceptual underpinning of the relational data model, how to understand relational database systems in general (not everything is SQL, you know), and provide some heavy insight into how relational databases should be designed.
In that sense, it can be considered an "introductory" book for software engineers, who might themselves create a new database management system. It can also be considered introductory for database administrators and systems programmers who are looking to expand their knowledge beyond the product-specific practical methods they have been exposed to. In other words, if you just want to know "how things are done" in your industry, don't read this book. If you want some insights into how things COULD be done much better, you might want to read this book.
So, while I might not recommend this book to a junior programmer tasked with creating his/her first web-based ordering system, I might recommend it to the company DBA or systems architect.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book for training as a senior DBA consultant and enjoyed CJ Date's excellent treatise on databases. This is the ultimate book on database theory. Like another reader commented its not how to get OCP/MCDBA whatever certifications but actually will make life better in the long run as a serious DBA pro. I now actually understand the basis of complex database topics such as cursors, data models, and concurrency/locking topics that previously are skimmed over in other books and training guides. Best book for a beginner and yeah its a bit dry and academic but CJ Date writes clearly. A MUST FOR SERIOUS COMPUTER SCIENCE STUDENTS!
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Format: Paperback
Date's seminal work is critical to understanding databases - a step mostly forgotten by those who believe every concept can be taught using commercial products with brain-dead examples in under 24 hours. Date teaches the logic and theory that underlie all successful practice. You can probably buy a different book and create a mock database faster, but you will neither understand nor be able to use it well. Do yourself a favor and read this first to understand what a database is; only then can you judge the value of other books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suppose there are two potential audiences for an introductory database book. The first audience consists of developers who need to know the very basics about databases to design and implement a database computer application. For that group I would recommend Date's book, but only upon having sufficient "computer science maturity": i.e. having taken one year of programming, and possibly a course in discrete mathematics and/or data structures and algorithms. Without this maturity much of what Date writes will be very hard to appreciate if not comprehend. True, he gives numerous examples that are quite understandable, but he also spends many paragraphs discussing somewhat abstract issues to the novice that will make him or her want to skip ahead. A good example of this is the notion of thinking of a table as the current value of a relvar, or the importance of closure in the relational algebra. The paragraphs he spends on these subtle importances will frustrate the uninitiated reader.

For someone who does not believe that he or she has the maturity to handle this book, and simply wants to develop an application that requires a database, I would recommend buying a more "down-to-earth" book possibly covering the RDMS that will be used. For example, if it is MySQL, then one might want to purchase

Welling's "MySQL Tutorial" (ISBN: 0672325845) for a much gentler and user-friendly introduction (or better yet the PHP and MySQL web development book if a web application is desired).

The other audience for this book are the professionals who are in charge of managing a database and/or using a database server for an industrial-strength application. In this case, Date's book is mandatory reading. May be not all of it, but certainly Parts I-IV.
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