- Paperback: 168 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (July 18, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449326331
- ISBN-13: 978-1449326333
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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PostgreSQL: Up and Running 1st Edition
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A Practical Guide to the Advanced Open Source Database
From the Back Cover
- Learn basic administration tasks, such as role management, database creation, backup, and restore
- Apply the psql command-line utility and the pgAdmin graphical administration tool
- Explore PostgreSQL tables, constraints, and indexes
- Learn powerful SQL constructs not generally found in other databases
- Use several different languages to write database functions
- Tune your queries to run as fast as your hardware will allow
- Query external and variegated data sources with Foreign Data Wrappers
- Learn how to replicate data, using built-in replication features
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As a secondary point, the English in this book is bad enough to be annoying. O'Reilly should be concerned enough about its reputation to hire an editor who understands noun-verb agreement (e.g. "the dog bites the man", not 'the dog bite the man").
However, this book took the what you must know before hand to an extreme level and doesn't even act as a very good reference. First, you must know ANSI SQL in and out before using this book. The book fails to teach the nuances of PostgreSQL because it can always fall back on "well, you should know ANSI SQL before reading this book and PostgreSQL is completely ANSI SQL compliant, therefore we don't need to explain this." It will often throw code at you without much prose.
Its larger failing is the failure to act as a good reference. Almost every paragraph of the book is cut short with "well, you can read the PostgreSQL manual here" followed by a url to the relevant manual page. It's not a reference or an explanation in itself, but rather a reference of where to go to find what you really want. Instead of buying this book for either learning or reference, you would be better off taking your $18 and just getting a nice printed copy of the PostgreSQL manual, since all this book does effectively is point you to it.
features that set PostgreSQL apart and how one can start using them
quickly. This is also achieved to a decent extent. PostgreSQL is an
extremely versatile and complete database, with lots of features the
average programmer does not know about. This causes many developers to
resort to hacky alternative methods (such as writing slow code to
achieve what PostgreSQL does natively and faster), or to other
persistent stores that tout their horn louder (*cough*, nosql,
*cough*). A quick skim of this book would help them achieve the same
functionality without committing to maintenance work or less
In the first few chapters of the book, the authors explain the base
cases and useful deviations of simple functionality such as getting
PostgreSQL to run with different settings, making backups and
restoring from them, monitoring and terminating database activity,
etc. An important feature of the book is that the authors, due to
their experiences with managing bigger clusters, always mention
options and alternatives that might be useful when one is working with
a large database that is live. The feature-rich commandline client
psql, a major feature of PostgreSQL, and its visual companion
pgAdmin, both of these get their own chapters with decent treatments.
The rest of the book deals with useful extensions of PostgreSQL to the
SQL standard, such as different kinds of indices, constraints, views,
window functions, and common table expressions. It is really
astonishing how many powerful features are packed into PostgreSQL,
such as functional indices, which allow the user to define an index on
a function of a column, or recursive CTEs through which the user can
traverse trees through simple relations. Recursive CTEs are not
available in any other DBMSs, by the way. The authors do a good job of
giving a foretaste of what these features can accomplish, and how they
set PostgreSQL apart from other DBMSs, including proprietary ones. The
last two chapters deal with topics very important for people who want
to use PostgreSQL in challenging live setups: Optimization and
replication. Instead of detailed guidelines, the reader is presented
with initial solutions and ways to gather more information on which
directions can be taken.
Despite doing a good job of whetting apetite for PostgreSQL, and
giving important pointers, the book has serious flaws, and leaves a
lot to be desired. First of all, there are big gaps of information in
the text on certain definitely interesting topics, and the reader is
simply pointed to either PostgreSQL documentation, or a blog post
written by the authors somewhere else. An example is the treatment of
custom types, where the creation of operators on these types is simply
omitted, although it would be just another page or so
(p.72). Providing at least the gist of the referred posts and
documentation pages would have been rather beneficial. The authors
sometimes use incredibly weird and maybe even nonexistent
words. Effectuate, turducken? Why do I have to look up a word that
essentially means the same thing with a widely known word with just
four extra letters? In one instance, the authors refer to someone as a
"data entry dude", which might be OK in a blog, but not in an O'Reilly
book. The most annoying shortcoming for me though was the fact that
half of the book used the US census data in database form for sample
queries, but this database is not provided by the authors for trying
things out. If you Google for it, there are some howtos on how to dump
the census data into a database, but none of these are as simple as
restoring a dump or running a sql file. I expect from the authors of a
technical book to provide the sample data they use so that the users
can do some experimentation and try other things than what the authors