- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (June 2, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0201485559
- ISBN-13: 978-0201485554
- Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,891,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
"The aim of this book is to provide a correct and up-to-date understanding of--and appreciation for--the practical aspects of crucial, yet little-understood core database issues. It identifies and clarifies certain fundamental concepts, principles, and techniques that persistently trouble users and vendors. It assesses the treatment of those issues in SQL (both the standard and commercial implementations) and gives specific guidance and practical advice on how to deal with them (and how not to). It covers, carefully and thoroughly, several particularly tricky and misunderstood topics--complex data types, missing information, data hierarchies, quota queries, and so forth--in a succinct and concise form for the busy database practitioner."
--C. J. Date
Three decades ago relational technology put the database field on a sound, scientific foundation for the first time. But the database industry--vendors, users, experts, and the trade press--has essentially flouted its principles, focusing instead on a "cookbook," product-specific approach, devoid of conceptual understanding. The consequences have been costly: DBMS products, databases, development tools, and applications don't always perform up to expectation or potential, and they can encourage the wrong questions and provide the wrong answers.
Practical Issues in Database Management is an attempt to remedy this intractable and costly situation. Written for database designers, programmers, managers, and users, it addresses the core, commonly recurring issues and problems that practitioners--even the most experienced database professionals--seem to systematically misunderstand, namely:
- Unstructured data and complex data types
- Business rules and integrity enforcement
- Normalization and denormalization
- Entity subtypes and supertypes
- Data hierarchies and recursive queries
- Quota queries
- Missing information
About the Author
Fabian Pascal is an independent industry analyst, consultant, author, and lecturer specializing in database management. He is the author of two previous books, Understanding Relational Databases and SQL and Relational Basics, and has contributed extensively to many industry publications.
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Top customer reviews
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My only complaint is that he regularly complains about the design of the SQL standard. For example "Due to numerous flaws in the design and implementation of SQL, the performance of SQL DBMS ... leads users to denormalize for performance". As a user I have say over my design, but little sway over the SQL standard or my particular software package. With regard to denormalizing, I think there is also a tendency to use flat tables in web page pages, so perhaps Pascal should go over developing tools to program relational tables easier with ASP pages. I would have also appreciated his thoughts on dimensional modeling used in data warehouses.
Pascal is clearly a seasoned professional and also someone who understands the relational model well. However, his frustration with the current state of the art bleeds over into this book, and is unhelpful. I now very clearly understand that SQL is incapable of dealing with a truly relational view of data, and that SQL (and by extension almost all contemporary DBMSes) is flawed and illogical in many ways, but there's only so much that I, as a database designer and software developer, can do with that information. In many cases, only a change in phrasing would have been necessary: I think the book would have been much more useful if it had been written prescriptively, as a "style guide" or best practices manual (DON'T use NULL. DO normalize your relations to at least 3NF) with his impassioned critiques of current technology provided as rationales for his guidelines.
Also, there's more than a whiff of the amateur to the presentation in this book. Aside from the baffling reprints of web pages included as appendices to the first chapter, he recycles exhortations across chapters and reuses the same examples over and over (down to the same explanatory text), without necessarily explaining what's different about this usage from all the others. Add to that a large, wide text face and the book, not particularly long at 256 pages, starts to feel significantly padded.
Most interested parties would be much better served by C.J. Date's excellent "Database In Depth". As it is, Pascal cribs heavily from Date's work (2/3 of the book's citations are credited to either Date or his frequent partner Hugh Darwen), and I can't help but feel that Date expresses the same concepts much more clearly and concisely. There's a lot of good material in this book, but it's a frustrating slog to get to it.
As others have pointed out here already, learning and thinking in terms of the fundamental principles of database management makes one an extremely effective practitioner. Many, who think they already have a firm grasp of database management, will find Fabian's work surprizingly eye-opening and mind expanding -- like discovering a door that opens onto a hidden world that has been there all along!
I cannot recommend this book enough. I consider it mandatory reading for every programmer and database practitioner.
Most recent customer reviews
This book title should be "Understanding Relational Databases, once again"...Read more