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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 11, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565926994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565926998
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The birth of new modules for the Perl scripting language is a regular occurrence, and the publication of an O'Reilly book about one of these modules is a sign of coming of age. Perl's DBI module, which facilitates the database-independent operation of Perl, achieves its rite of passage this month with the arrival of Alligator Descartes and Tim Bunce's excellent Programming Perl's DBI. Perl's DBI interface is maintained by Bunce and includes submodule interfaces to Oracle, MySQL, Sybase, Microsoft ODBC, and many other smaller databases. O'Reilly Perl book aficionados take note: this is the cheetah book, named for the animal that graces its cover.

Far from being a formalized how-to or man page, Programming Perl's DBI is a mini textbook in database programming, ideal for CPAN-savvy Perl programmers with little or no experience in database programming. Descartes and Bunce develop primitive notions of databases by using flat files, and they introduce relational databases with careful didactic motivation. The example database used throughout the book contains ancient sacred monolithic sites in the UK and elsewhere, of which Stonehenge is the most famous. Readers will learn about these primitive places while storing, updating, deleting, sorting, and locking their descriptors using flat files, nonrelational and relational databases, and a tutorial on SQL. The last chapters describe the peculiarities of interacting with ODBC and introduce DBI's Perl-less diagnostic shell and database proxying.

The authors use many modules--including DBI itself--that are not part of the vanilla Perl distribution, and Descartes and Bunce introduce them without explaining where to find or build them. Perl newbies with no CPAN experience may find themselves derailed early. The Storage module seems not to be available on CPAN at all (at the time of this writing). Fortunately, DBI and friends build, test, and install seamlessly under Linux/Red Hat 6.1.

At 350 pages, Programming the Perl DBI is 60 percent text--filled with highly annotated Perl code--and 40 percent appendices covering a detailed specification of DBI and 3-to-5-page descriptions of each of the 14 supported databases. Brevity is a large component of this book's wit. Clarity is the rest of it. --Peter Leopold


'The book is very well written with frequent examples. It certainly maintained my interest from beginning to end. I mirrored the authors' examples with my own MySQL databases and had no problems. I learnt SQL as well. If you need to interact with databases and you have access to Perl, then this book is a must.' - Mick Farmer, news@UK, June 2000

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Customer Reviews

It is well written and easy to follow.
Tomi Tuominen
There's little in this title that cannot be found in the online Perl DBI and DBD documentation.
I would recommend this book to anyone who uses Perl and the DBI.
Cat LeDevic

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a good book, IF:
- You want the online documentation with some extra fluff on databases, extra examples and the DBI spec. in one handy place (pages 187 - 333 are pretty much available online, the rest of the book is the online material filled out).
- You are interested in learning about the DBI, the book is about the DBI rather than database programming.
This is not a good book, IF:
- You want to learn how to program databases from the web (the widest application of Perl today is covered on one example/page and is an absolute joke).
- You want to learn how to program databases other than Oracle (the massive Windows market, and other markets are left to you, the reader, to extrapolate techniques from the book to practice).

This is a terrible book, IF:
- You are a Perl/programming beginner.
- You want to learn about databases.
- You want to troubleshoot your application (to not include much more driver specific material, when the DBI relies so heavily on the database's driver, means that essentially the book's use is very limited in the real world).
The DBI is a great tool in the Perl armoury; this book does not do it justice. You will learn more from the online documentation, DBI mailing list and the very generous Perl community than you could ever get from here - save your money (The forthcoming 'Web Databases with Perl' from Manning looks far more promising, but it's not out until Oct 2000).
Of course, if the book is supposed to be nothing more than a guide to the DBI in the very limited scope of being a recycle and slight expansion of existing material, then you can't fault it, and it is a nice read. A lot of the reviews for the book reflect this sentiment. However, if you are after more, you will end up questioning what O'Reilly were thinking. On these grounds three stars is generous.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am by no means a DBI master . . . but, I still expected more from this book. To be fair, I did get some "finer points" clarified for me, and saw some features of DBI I hadn't used before that I will try in the future. However, I didn't get enough out of it to have it be worth the price tag. Try this book only if you can't deal with the pod documentation that comes with the DBI module. (Or borrow it from a friend!)
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Cat LeDevic on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
The only moan I have is that it didn't come out earlier.
The shop where I work asked me to cost a project using Perl as the back end for a T1 sales feed into an Oracle DB. They wanted to know if they could buy a package to do this. After a little research, I fell over the DBI. They were amazed at the "cost", and delighted with the speed.
I finally got the book about a week ago. Lo and behold, it also covered flat files. A large part of this shop's income comes from a custom doc library, flat files exported from many different DBs. So not only did the book aid with optimising the script I'd already written for the Oracle interface, but it's going to make all our lives easier for the next release of their commercial app.
The book is extremely well-written. (In a past life, I was a tech writer. Nothing worse than a badly written techie book.)
The flow is well thought out. Not being a DB meister, the first few chapters were extremely helpful. In my case (and I'm sure, many others as well), I had to get up on DBs in a large hurry. With the Cheetah book, I was able to do so.
The examples given are concise, easy to follow, and they _work_. The latter point is invaluable.
I would recommend this book to anyone who uses Perl and the DBI.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Lowery on February 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Programming the Perl DBI continues the long O'Reilly standard of providing accurate technical information for a reasonable price. If you develop or use Perl DBI, BUY THIS BOOK!
Chapter 2:Humble beginning to start a Perl DBI book with how to use other types of data storage and retrieval features. I found this very enlightening as a solution to persistent data challenges not requiring a full database system.
Chapter 3: A basic intro to SQL. Simple and to the point.
Chapter 4-6 Describes development using Perl DBI. The information is excellent, as DBI is only an interface to the database systems. These chapters describe how to use the interface, the standard features supported, and expected results. Do you want to learn about reading BLOBs or binding output columns? Need to use bound input parameters? The information is all contained in these chapters.
Chapter 7: I enjoyed the quick comparison between DBI (DBD::ODBC) and Win32::ODBC.
Chapter 8: The description of DBD::Proxy and how to begin, is worth the price of the book. These simple pages make interfacing Linux to Win32 (NT/9[58]) easier to explain and do.
The appendixes provide information about the DBI interface, what properties are available from which handle, also, a brief description of the drivers available. Good reading. I'd reference this section if selecting a database provider for a Perl solution. Enjoyed reading which driver supported what features. Is this information available in pod format, yes, however, this book provides it in one cover with an index. I'd check the driver pods for changes or additional features, as the development of DBD drivers continues.
Interacting with a database system is a complex process.
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