Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars aggressive promotion of Derby, November 27, 2005
This review is from: Apache Derby -- Off to the Races: Includes Details of IBM Cloudscape (Hardcover)
Apache Derby is a very promising package that is being freely offered, as both source code and binaries. This book is an aggressive promotion of its virtues. The authors stress many things about Derby, or its IBM sidekick, Cloudscape.

Derby addresses a persistent need amongst many Java programmers for an easy to use SQL database. Often, a Java programmer has only cursory expertise in coding for a full database like IBM's DB2 or Oracle. Best usage of these often requires you to be a DBA.

By contrast, Derby comes as a Java JAR file, and can be plonked into your programming environment just as any other JAR file. The book explains in depth how to then interact with Derby, at the level of your Java source code. You can see that you get a pretty powerful engine. Including features like stored procedures and user defined functions, that let you optimise for speed.

Speaking of speed, that is perhaps the biggest possible drawback of Derby. It is run as Java bytecode in a jvm, which is not quite as fast as a package compiled into native binaries. The book seems to deprecate this aspect, but you should be aware of it.

You might find Derby useful enough that you don't have to migrate to a full database like DB2. The book stresses that the code you write to interface with Derby will also do for DB2. There is a potential problem here for IBM, if it loses DB2 business to Derby. But maybe it feels that if it never promoted Derby, then sooner or later, an equivalent product would come along.

Obviously, to use Derby, you still need to know basic SQL statements. And some understanding of how to develop related tables to hold your data. The text is not meant to teach you these skills.

The first chapter also makes various cogent points about the advantages of using Derby. With sometimes unintentional hilarity. A passage says the intent is not to besmirch Microsoft. But despite this pious protestation, it proceeds immediately to do just that. By opining that Microsoft's SQL Server has a 5 year lag between upgrades - Server 2000 and Server 2005. While Derby has source code available, and a much faster cycle for introducing new capabilities.
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