Top critical review
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Good ideas but not necessarily practical
on June 3, 1999
The idea of "characteristic function" (or more commonly know as delta function with function value equals to 1 at a specified input value and 0 elsewhere) is interesting. But with the new SQL "CASE" statement, one can do away with this delta function. The book also presented the "power of product join" where one can use self product join to achieve results (such as finding the median) with one SQL pass as opposed to traditional multiple passes approaches. While the idea is interesting and innovative, the implementation may not be practical for large tables. If fact, it is much more efficient to find the median by multiple passes than self product join realizing that product join creates N square temporary rows. Unless one have unlimited time and computer resources (or extremely small table), the implementation of proeuct join is just not practical.
In sum, the book does present some interesting ideas. But a lot of the ideas may be either out of date or inpractical. On top of that, the book is over priced.