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PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts Paperback – December 15, 2000
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From the Inside Flap
This book is about POSTGRESQL, the most advanced open source database. From its origins in academia, POSTGRESQL has moved to the Internet with explosive growth. It is hard to believe the advances during the past four years under the guidance of a team of worldwide Internet developers. This book is a testament to their vision, and to the success that POSTGRESQL has become.
The book is designed to lead the reader from their first database query through the complex queries needed to solve real-world problems. No knowledge of database theory or practice is required. However, basic knowledge of operating system capabilities is expected, such as the ability to type at an operating system prompt.
Beginning with a short history of POSTGRESQL, the book moves from simple queries to the most important database commands. Common problems are covered early, which should prevent users from getting stuck with queries that fail. The author has seen many bug reports in the past few years and consequently has attempted to warn readers about the common pitfalls.
With a firm foundation established, additional commands are introduced. The later chapters outline complex topics like transactions and performance.
At each step, the purpose of each command is clearly illustrated. The goal is to have readers understand more than query syntax. They should know why each command is valuable, so they can use the proper commands in their real-world database applications.
A database novice should read the entire book, while skimming over the later chapters. The complex nature of database systems should not prevent readers from getting started. Test databases offer a safe way to try queries. As readers gain experience, later chapters will begin to make more sense. Experienced database users can skip the early chapters on basic SQL functionality. The cross-referencing of sections allows you to quickly move from general to more specific information.
Much information has been moved out of the main body of the book into appendices. Appendix A lists sources of additional information about POSTGRESQL.Appendix B provides information about installing POSTGRESQL. Appendix C lists the features of POSTGRESQL not found in other database systems. Appendix D contains a copy of the POSTGRESQL manual pages which should be consulted anytime you have trouble with query syntax. Also, do not overlook the excellent documentation that is part of POSTGRESQL. This documentation covers many complex topics, including much POSTGRESQL-specific functionality that cannot be covered in a book of this length. Sections of the documentation are referenced in this book where appropriate.
This book uses italics for identifiers, SMALLCAPS for SQL keywords, and a monospaced font for SQL queries. The Web site for this book is located at postgresql/docs/awbook.html. 0201703319P04062001
From the Back Cover
The most advanced, feature-rich SQL database server available, the open-source PostgreSQL system has rapidly become a key Internet technology. PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts, written by a founding member of the PostgreSQL Global Development Team, provides a much-needed tutorial and real-world guide to understanding and working with this complex yet essential system.
Assuming no previous knowledge of database systems, the book establishes a firm foundation of basic concepts and commands before turning to PostgreSQL's more advanced and innovative capabilities. It leads you step-by-step from your first database query through the complex queries needed to solve real-world database problems. The author not only presents proper query syntax, he goes beyond the mechanics to explore the value and use of these commands in working database applications.
You will read about such important topics as:
- Basic SQL commands for manipulating and updating a database
- Customizing queries
- SQL aggregates
- Joining tables
- Combining SELECTs and subqueries
- Importing and exporting data
- Database query tools, including PSQL and PGACCESS
- PostgreSQL interfaces to C, C++, ODBC, JDBC, Perl, TCL/TK, and more
- Server-side programming and multi-user control
- Extending PostgreSQL with C
- PostgreSQL administration, including backups, troubleshooting, and access configuration
- Features unique to PostgreSQL
Throughout, the author highlights common pitfalls, offers tips to save you time and trouble, and provides many examples--all garnered from his extensive experience and inside knowledge. In addition, this resource-rich guide provides a copy of the official PostgreSQL reference manual. A companion web site, www.postgresql.org/docs/awbook.html, will contain updates, corrections, and links to other material.
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Top customer reviews
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The book's title says "Introduction and Concepts", letting you know this isn't an advanced treatise on Postgres. The first half of the book handily summarizes SQL and then dives into hands-on PostgreSQL, run interactively via the psql interactive utility. This is a nice way to give readers direct experience with Postgres, but it is also automatically limiting because readers never learn how to use Postgres in the context of an application. There is a chapter on programming interfaces, but it covers ten languages in ten pages, which isn't enough to impart any practical Postgres programming skills.
The second half of the book is a verbatim replica of the SQL Commands reference from the official Postgres user's guide. It's handy to have in the book, but it's hard to give the author any credit for simply pouring this stuff into his book unchanged. I would have liked to see some useful annotations from the author, reflecting his obviously considerable experience with Postgres.
I gave the book four stars in part because the author is breaking new ground by carving out a niche with publishers for future PostgreSQL books. I'm hoping a second edition of his book comes soon, replacing (or augmenting) those 250 pages of reference material with concrete programming examples in a variety of languages and interesting comments on usage. In the meantime, this book is a very nice primer for our new employees who have to come up to speed on PostgreSQL quickly.
I wish they were more specific about field max sizes - oracle for example is very clera and very constrained (4k limits on inmserts to varchar fields for example). These limits appear to be arbritarily large as we have tested without overrunning them.
ALso we have of course the source files for postgres, so questions like that can be answered with some familiarity with the code. Postgres isn't Oracle and it certainly wont scale like Oracle, but for web projects witha few thousand records and a few dozen simultaneous users it, and this book, are perfect.
1. Nearly half of the book is Appendices. Maybe OK if you don't want to read the free docs on the computer screen.
2. Written like an encyclopedia. Ever try reading one of those? The lack of user exercises is particularly irritating.
Get the Wrox book instead of this one and you will be richer and happier ...
Considering the title, it should at least give some direction about how to install/configure, list the gotcha's, do's, don't's, etc. But this book starts with the assumption that you already have the database installed and ready to run, server and all.
I'm not kidding, it's actually listed in one of the first sections in the book that a running server is required to read this book. How does this match the "Introduction and Concepts" title???
A little pointer to the author if he's reading this, in his next book or second edition of this book, he should: 1. Explain where PostgreSQL fits in modern distributed architectures 2. Why would I want to use PostgreSQL instead of MySQL if I'm developing a J2EE application, how about CORBA? 3. How do I take advantage of the OO features of PostgreSQL to shorten the development time