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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for using Perl and DBI!
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...
Published on February 28, 2000 by Cat LeDevic

versus
43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book about the DBI, not programming databases from Perl.
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...
Published on June 7, 2000


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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book about the DBI, not programming databases from Perl., June 7, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (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
3.0 out of 5 stars I expected more., February 21, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for using Perl and DBI!, February 28, 2000
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for anyone serious about Perl DBI development, February 24, 2000
By 
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (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. Using Perl DBI gives a standard interface to this complex process. This book does not explain how to use advance features of a particular database system. This is left to the reader and the large number of database references available. If you want to use a stored procedure with a trigger or execute a stored query, Programming the Perl DBI explains how to make the call, however, you'd need to know what to execute, and results to expected.
As I stated in the beginning, this book is a must for anyone serious about using Perl DBI.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars proved its value within days of buying it, February 28, 2000
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
this is a solid book that's been needed for a long time. it's a good introductory text for perl programmers on how databases work, and how to use the dbi to access them.
i'm one of many who has spent hour after hour bashing my head against the dbi. of everything i've developed in perl, database interactivity and the dbi specifically has had by far the steepest learning curve. what i would have given to have this book six months ago.
even though it comes after my painful experience, though, i've already found information in this book i hadn't gleaned elsewhere that will help me immediately in projects i'm working on. the chapter on dbish alone is worth the price of the book to me.
i'm also glad to see a very detailed breakdown by major dbd drivers. my most significant problems were sussing out the specifics of dbd::informix; even with the generous help of jonathan leffler, i had a hard time figuring out some of what's clearly stated here.
the one thing this book is missing is a detailed explanation of installing the dbi. addressing the basic issues for each major driver would probably easily double the size of the book, but this information is some of the hardest to learn on your own. since the book is targeted at perl programmers, it would be valuable to include the rdbms-specific information about installing the drivers that perl programmers are unlikely to have experience with. this information would also be crucial in easing communication with the various sysadmins and dba's whose help will likely be needed to get any perl-database project off the ground.
i'd like to see an expanded second edition, or perhaps an advanced title, to expand on this complex topic. it would be nice to see an explanation focused for db developers and dbas on how to use perl for their work.
kudos to alligator descartes and tim bunce for an excellent book that makes the dbi more accessible. once i got a rudimentary understanding of the dbi under my belt, i was quickly able to demonstrate perl's power for database connectivity in my work environment. by easing the initial learning curve, descartes and bunce are helping perl prove its reputation as an easy-to-use, powerful programming language.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's There Is Good, But We Need More, May 8, 2002
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
This is a good DBI reference for experienced perl programmers. The authors give you a good road map in the introduction so that you can find what you need to accomplish your task.
I needed to interface to an existing database so I skipped chapter 2 on alternative persistent storage mechanisms.
Having prior experience with SQL, I also skipped chapter 3.
Chapters 4-6 are where the majority of people are going to find useful information. There you will find good explanations on connecting to databases, executing SQL statements, and some advanced features such as binding variables. The authors give a good treatment of the various ways to execute queries with performance tradeoffs.
Chapter 7 is only useful if you are working on a Windows platform. My database is on Solaris so this wasn't something that I needed.
As I said, though, what's there is good, but I there is definitely something missing. I needed to be able to call Oracle stored procedures as well as executing simple SQL queries. It would be nice to include some examples of calling stored procedures using the major vendors: Oracle, Informix, Sybase, etc. This information is hard to come by on the web. There are subtleties in using inout parameters in stored procedure calls that require some extra work in perl. You have to size variables large enough to store the largest value that is in the database. Since perl handles all string sizes dynamically, I used sprintf to force the strings to be large enough before calling the stored procedure. I don't know if you would run into these issues with outher databases, but it would be good to have this information with the rest of this text. That would make this fine book complete.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars very mediocre, December 10, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
This book is very much a regurgitation of the docs you can find online. They are incomplete, and so is this book. I've been coding db's for 15+ years, so I can spot a mediocre doc when I see one almost instantly. I bought this book to learn more about the connection attributes - I have found evidence there are more than 2, but all the book discusses are PrintError and RaiseError. Big whoop... I have found several bugs in the DBI regarding binding params for parameterized sql statements, and am also having a problem w/ Perl trimming right spaces on my char columns, which caused major headaches and a lot of lost time debugging. The book doesn't help w/ any of this - I can't find any info that will help me solve any of these problems, although I remain convinced there must be some connection attibute to tell Perl to trim right padded spaces, etc. (LongTrunc?).
The bottom line is this: the book is very much the same as the on-line docs, and then they added in the obligitory but never necessary SQL intro chapters, nonsense on a "flat file db", etc. They pumped up the material to make it big enough to be a book. There's more than a little something missing - I totally agree w/ Mr. Philip R. Heath (thank you for an honest, accurate review).
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful, even for insiders, February 26, 2000
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
I'm biassed; I'm the primary author of the DBD::Informix module. And I bought my copy of the book.
The Cheetah Book has a lot of useful information in it. Obviously, it describes the core DBI functionality very clearly, but it also contains a lot of information that was not previously available in a form comparable to what is in the book. For example, the extensive Appendix B, which lists a lot of details about each of the various drivers, is very useful and informative indeed. The information is not yet available elsewhere in this format, and you'd have to download all the drivers to be able to get all the information in one place. The guide to using the DBI Proxy Server is invaluable. The non-DBI database information in Chapter 2 is interesting; it shows how diverse the Perl modules are. And the comparison with Win32::ODBC is illuminating.
There is information in the main text which has not been documented before, such as the "use DBI qw(:sql_types);" -- that isn't in Appendix A (the DBI Specification), either, but that oversight will no doubt be fixed so that it is in 'perldoc DBI' by the time DBI 1.14 is available on CPAN.
This book does not attempt to teach you the rudiments of Perl, and nor should it. It does not teach everything about SQL, and nor should it. It doesn't teach you about every possible use of DBI, and it shouldn't try to do that either. It is a pity that the use of DBI with the Apache web server and mod_perl is not covered at all, but even that would be difficult to do sensibly. Half the effort would be in explaining how to handle HTML and CGI and not in using DBI per se. Nevertheless, should there be a second edition, this is something that should be covered in outline, even if not in complete detail.
If you have any intention of working with DBI, either as a regular user or as a driver writer, you need this book. It is clear and pleasant to read. Having the DBI specification printed in book format is worth the price of the book alone; the rest of the material is also very valuable.
Go, Buy!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, June 27, 2000
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
Of the 331 pages of text, 145 pages are an exact reprint of the CPAN DBI documentation (which I had already printed on my laser printer); 76 pages deal with text files, DBM, and SQL. This leaves 110 pages for DBI. For [the price], I was expecting more.
The actual 110 pages of DBI are fairly good. The authors should have included examples other than Oracle, and I did not notice any treatment of areas that are different between databases, such as date/time fields. But, the examples included should be quite helpful.
Eventhough I am returning my copy back to the book sellers, I would still recommend it for O'Reilly groupies, or people who can not print out the CPAN documentation, or if your job situation requires you to use DBI and you're starting from ground zero. Otherwise, check out CPAN and the message boards.
The greatest asset going for this book is the "Tigger" factor -- "It's the only one" on DBI currently being published (that I know of).
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh so *THAT*'s how it works!, March 18, 2000
This review is from: Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl (Paperback)
After reading the other reviews for this book, I bought it expecting a handy reference manual plus some extra tutorial stuff that I wouldn't need (I've been using DBI for years).
How wrong I was. Yes, the reference stuff is great (thanks Tim!) - but the first half of the book was entertaining to read and contained a wealth of information that I thought I knew (but didn't).
The chapter on database proxying was worth more than the purchase price in itself.
Other fine books have included a chapter or two on DBI, but they are no substitute for this.
Excellent stuff. Highly recommended.
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Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl
Programming the Perl DBI: Database programming with Perl by Alligator Descartes (Paperback - February 14, 2000)
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