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Spring Persistence with Hibernate
by Ahmad Seddighi


Packt Publishing
1 edition
November 25, 2009
460 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, January 2010
  (5 of 10)


Packt's "Spring Persistence with Hibernate" covers Spring 2.5. (Take care that you don't confuse it with the soon to be released Apress book with the same title which covers Spring 3.0.)

Packt really needs to work on their editing process. I play a game when reading called "what page for the first typo." The answer was page 3! (chapter vs chapters). I have read some Packt books of good quality, but unfortunately this wasn't one. The numerous typos included basic English, a typo in a code comment on page 364 and worst a typo in a code block on page 24. The later bothers me more as the technical content becomes suspect. As with most Packt books, the examples are longer than I would like and could omit getters/setters earlier.

There were a few cases where I had to go to the JavaDoc to understand distinctions between attribute values. The book text wasn't clear enough and didn't explain when one might want to choose those values. There was also some explanation of how to do something in Hibernate if not using Spring and Spring MVC. Good content, but a bit surprising given the title.

Now for some things I liked: cooks tour example with forward references, coverage of Hibernate and JPA APIs, explanations of IOC and AOP, introduction of DAOs with patterns.

Overall, I'd recommend you pick a different Spring 2.5 book or wait for the Spring 3 books to come out.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of JavaRanch.

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Graph Databases
by Ian Robinson, Jim Webber, Emil Eifrem


O'Reilly Media
edition
June 2013
224 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, July 2013
  (8 of 10)



"Graph Databases" was more fun to read than the typical O'Reilly animal book. It was still full of technical information. I think because it was shorter (just under 200 pages( and had lots of pictures (graphs) that it felt less deep.

The book starts by being very clear what it in scope. It's the topic of graph databases and not a graph compute engine. I particularly liked the example of why relational databases fall short.

Cypher is used to show how to write queries. Taking a relational problem and making a graph model was a nice transition. The content on how to test and performance test (the query and the app) were good. I would have liked to see how to see the execution plan though.

The real world uses cases were helpful and easy to understand. As were the sample graphs and queries. Seeing how the data is stored also depended my understanding. Finally, I learned a new term "triadic closure."

I knew next to nothing about graph databases before picking up this book. Now I know what is going on conceptually - at least on a high level. I'd say that is a success. You'll need more to actually work with Neo4J, but at least you will know where to start!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Hadoop in Practice
by Alex Holmes


Manning Publications
pap/psc edition
October 2012
536 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, November 2012
  (9 of 10)



"Hadoop in Practice" covers recipes/techniques for working with Hadoop. The 85 techniques range from pure Hadoop to related technologies like Mahout and Pig. There was good discussion of algorithms.

Java is definitely a pre-requisite. The book says you should have some knowledge of HDFS and MapReduce. Yet chapter one starts with "what is hadoop." It reads better as a review than an intro and doesn't fit with the rest of the book. It also assumes you haven't installed/started Hadoop. You really should read an intro book first and skim chapter one.

I particularly liked the chapters on MapReduce and performance. The overview of iostat and vmstat was clear and better than in many UNIX books. I also liked the AST explain plan. The techniques about when to use joins and sorts seemed like they would be in "Hadoop in Action" as well. Yet the comparison of different types fit well.

Each chapter begins with a conceptual overview which was very useful. The book also contains many diagrams to add clarity.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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NoSQL Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Emerging World of Polyglot Persistence
by Pramod J. Sadalage, Martin Fowler


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
August 2012
192 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, December 2012
  (10 of 10)



This is a must read book for all those who have worked with Relational Databases and want to explore the NoSQL world. One can argue that why a read a book on NoSQL when there is so much material on the web. Believe me lot of the NoSQL content on the web would be biased towards recommending NoSQL. But the authors of the book take a neutral stance towards NoSQL and clearly explain where NoSQL wins over RDBMS and where it doesn't.
People familiar with UML Distilled would be the first one's to pick this book because there's so much information packed in just about 200 pages.
The book is divided into 2 parts. The first part deals with explaining concepts related to distributed systems in simple way with examples and illustrations. It would be a refresher for someone familiar with distributed system concepts and a good introduction to someone who is not. The depth covered is just enough to appreciate the features of NoSQL dbs.
The second part deals with explaining different NoSQL implementations (not different NoSQL db vendors) and picking one NoSQL DB vendor for each implementation. This part builds on top of the concepts in the first part there by stressing the need for clearly understanding the concepts in first part.
There are a few chapters dealing with picking the right db, exploring alternatives apart from NoSQL and also short introduction to schema migration in both RDBMS and NoSQL.
Some of the things I liked about the book:
- Short chapters, less number of pages and no compromise on content quality and depth.
- Good introductory coverage on Distributed concepts because NoSQL is a great solution for clustered environments.
- The implementation part of the book picks one db vendor and explains various characteristics as well as its usage advice which is really helpful for someone who wants to get a quick overview of which db to use.
- Complicated concepts like Map-Reduce explained in a simple way using illustrations.

One possible problem with this book is that if you are very new to distributed system concepts, the first part might take sometime and effort for you to understand it well. So my advice for such readers is to take time and understand the concepts in first part and not hurry to read the Part 2 which deals with implementation.

Bottomline: Highly recommended NoSQL material for anyone who wants to learn about NoSQL and be a part of the buzz being generated by it.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Murach's MySQL
by Joel Murach


Mike Murach & Associates
edition
May 2012
612 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, June 2012
  (10 of 10)



If you ever wanted to learn to use MySQL, write SQL queries, create database elements then this is the book to pick up.

Some of the salient features of the book:
- The usual Murach's style of code mixed with concepts. Its really useful because you are not only reading but also trying out the code. Its Learning by Doing.
- It starts with the importance of the formatting and structure of the SQL queries and follows them right through out the book. By the end of it you would be naturally using the convention.
- Clear division of the book into sections and the right ordering of these sections, this helps to plan the reading of the book accordingly.
- Good coverage of procedural programming, Normalisation concepts as well as basic db Administration concepts.
- The importance of the use of tools (MySQL WOrkbench) is also explained, but you dont find it overstressed anywhere in the book. They have introduced the tools as and when necessary.
- Exercise questions at the end of each chapter to test your understanding.

I know lot of you would say that with the ORM frameworks and frameworks which provide DSLs to create database structures (like migrations in Rails) such a book exclusively on a particular database might be redundant. But to really understand how these frameworks work, one has to be aware of SQL language and also be familiar with using the db. I think these frameworks may not be of much help in cases where we would have to write complex queries or a stored procedure to perform complex calculations.

The intended audience:
-Any one new to SQL/new to MySQL.
-For someone familiar to SQL but not MySQL might find initial few chapters easy to read.
-Any one who wants to do some advanced procedural programming in MySQL.

I couldn't find anything which I didnt like. Though I might be tempted to say the size of the book, but considering the content it is packed with, the code examples, the exercises, the size shouldn't be of much concern.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Mike Murach & Associates
edition
May 2012
612 pages

Reviewed by Rob Spoor, June 2012
  (9 of 10)



The book follows the Murach style - on the left pages there is text, on the right pages there are screen shots, code snippets, and short summaries of the text on the left. For experienced database developers it's tempting to skip the entire left pages and focus on the right pages only.

I really like this book. It starts with the obligatory introduction which doesn't really add anything, but after that the good stuff follows. The book shows most of the queries you need - not just the four basic ones, but also stored procedures, functions, triggers, events and transactions. I believe that after reading the book you can do most of the things you will need in your everyday job. And if you don't like the command line, no problems; the book also shows you how to use the MySQL workbench.

If that's not enough, there is also an entire section about database administration. With this book you won't just learn how to be a database developer, you also learn how to manage security and backup and restore MySQL databases. What more do you need?

Summarizing, this is one of the best books on MySQL I've read. It's less useful if you want to work with other database systems since a lot of it is specific for MySQL, but then you wouldn't have bought this book, would you?

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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MariaDB Crash Course
by Ben Forta


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
September 2011
304 pages

Reviewed by Mohamed Sanaulla, December 2011
  (8 of 10)



This book is a nice introduction to using MySQL/MariaDB. MariaDB is a database server which offers drop-in replacement functionality for MySQL. One can quickly get started on various SQL concepts and start implementing it using MariaDB. This book also provides a very good introduction to SQL.

Various salient features of the book are:
- Concepts explained with the help of examples, which give the reader an opportunity to try out and understand the concepts in a better way.
- Each example has been analysed to explain its functionality thereby letting the reader know why and how it works.
- Chapters are short and concepts have been divided nicely into different chapters. Reader wont get bogged down by lengthy chapter or by overdosage of information.
- Almost all the SQL concepts have been covered and the chapters have been arranged in increasing order of complexity of the topic.
- Hints have been provided at required places to provide tips to the user.

The only downside is that the stored procedure related topics haven't been covered in much depth and the syntactical details of various control structures is short of explanation.

I would recommend this book for anyone who would want to get started with MariaDB.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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A Developer's Guide to Amazon SimpleDB (Developer's Library)
by Mocky Habeeb


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
August 2010
288 pages

Reviewed by Andrew Monkhouse, October 2010
  (9 of 10)


If you are interested in the no-SQL database systems or in utilizing cloud computing to set up a database, this book will teach you more than enough to get you started.

Mocky Habeeb (the author) demonstrates his mastery of this subject in providing valuable hints throughout the book. These include simple warnings about certain processes that are "high cost", tuning queries, avoiding throttling server side, altering queries depending on local versus remote queries, and so on.

Although the book is primarily a Java centric book, Mocky also provides sample code in C# and PHP. He also provides comparisons between other cloud providers offerings, and discusses some methods of choosing between schema-less databases and SQL databases.

Finally, Mocky builds an API that makes it easier for newcomers to Amazon SimpleDB to use within their Java programs.

This book is well written, and an easy to read and understand introduction to Amazon SimpleDB.

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Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
August 2010
288 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, November 2010
  (2 of 10)


The knowledge and experience of the author is not in question, but it doesn't come out in the text of this book.

"Amazon SinpleDB" is not a large book at a bit over 250 pages and even though it is aimed at developers I was expecting some coverage of the practical uses or experience but that is not evident. More on the source code later, but the user tips were often useful but buried in the text and not that accessible.

Sample source code is provided for four languages, Java, PHP, C# and Python but personally the code was niether here nor there.
50 pages worth of the same code covered four times feels like padding, and while it is helpful that each language introduced a library to simplify interacting with the Amazon Web Services, I kept thinking that at some point the book would directly address the Web Services.

In my mind this wasn't the book that the author intended and it falls short in so many areas that it feels unfinished and leaves you wondering what wasn't covered. There are other positive areas about the book but overall for me it was difficult to recommend an audience for this book.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.

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Expert Oracle Database Architecture: Oracle Database Programming 9i, 10g, and 11g Techniques and Solutions, Second Edition
by Thomas Kyte


Apress
second edition
July 2010
832 pages

Reviewed by Christophe Verre, November 2010
  (10 of 10)


No need to introduce Tom Kyte from "Ask Tom". Now imagine this great Oracle Database expert, sitting in front of you, lecturing about topics like table and index design or file management. Impossible you think ? Think twice. "Expert Oracle Database Architecture: Oracle Database Programming 9i, 10g, and 11g Techniques and Solutions" is Tom Kyte giving you a lecture. The book talks to you. The book forces you to open SQL*Plus and try yourself. This book is full of examples. Reading about databases might not be as fun as reading about programming, but you'll never get bored.

A chapter at the beginning of the book will help you create a proper test environment. Other chapters can be picked up in any order. In each chapter the author introduces some features, explains why you could be interested in them and how to use them. This includes tons of examples, common pitfalls and misuses.

I've been using Oracle Database for years, not as a DBA, but as a software developer. The amount of knowledge I have learnt with this book is tremendous. Tom Kyte has completely changed the way I see the database. Every developer using the Oracle Database should know more than just SQL. If you're one of them, grab this book as soon as possible.

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SQL Antipatterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming (Pragmatic Programmers)
by Bill Karwin


Pragmatic Bookshelf
1 edition
July 2010
328 pages

Reviewed by Deepak Bala, April 2013
  (9 of 10)



SQL anti-patterns wield their heads in many forms. This book covers them in many forms (application / queries / models). The author assumes that the reader already knows SQL, so no time is wasted in jumping into the first anti-pattern.

The writing style of this book reminds me a little of 'Head first design patterns'. Each anti-pattern is structured into various sections such as Scenarios / How to detect the anti-pattern / Valid use cases for the pattern / Solutions to avoid it. The narrative style adopted by the book makes it easy to read. You can picture an angry boss looking over an engineer's shoulder with every anti-pattern :)

The topics covered give the book good breadth. Everything is discussed from using bcrypt to hash your passwords, to the folly of using ambiguous groups and how single value returns play a role in them.

I found pleasure in learning new functions like GROUP_CONCAT() and alternate solutions to getting hierarchical queries to work right. Anyone with sound previous knowledge of SQL should be able to make quick work of this book.

I'd definitely recommend it to a fellow programmer.

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Persistence in the Enterprise
by Kyle Brown, Roland Barcia


Addison Wesley Professional
1 edition
May 2008
464 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, June 2008
  (8 of 10)


Persistence in the Enterprise helps architects pick the right persistence technology for JEE applications. The books is written from a we the IBM consultants point of view. I liked this as it made the five author book more consistent.

The persistence technologies evaluated are JDBC, iBatis, Hibernate Core (not the JPA implementation), Apache Open JPA and IBM's Pure Query. The last one seemed like plugging IBM tools, but the others were really good. Similarly Open JPA was chosen to represent JPA since it used by WebSphere (and WebLogic for that matter.) This was fine because the ideas apply to all JPA implementations.

The stated goals of the book are to provide an end to end view of choosing a persistence technology and help clients exploit the WebSphere product suite. These dual goals worked well for them. Luckily, the first goal dominates. The authors go into a lot of detail describing the criteria used for evaluating and comparing.

The book did spend some time describing basic database concepts that I'd like to think an architect already knows. Starting with the criteria in chapter four, things got excellent. The following five chapters describe each persistence technology with sample code implementing CRUD. It's not meant to teach the language just to show what a solution consists of. They also include literature references, ORM features and tuning options.

The last chapter includes five pages of tables to easily compare technologies along with what each technology is best for. Overall, this book is a good value if you are choosing a persistence technology. It saves countless hours of time in research and analysis.

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Hibernate Made Easy
by Cameron McKenzie


Self published
1 edition
2008
434 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, July 2008
  (9 of 10)


Hibernate is a subject dear to my heart. It is a database tool that I would not live without. However, it has a steep learning curve. In Hibernate Made Easy, author Cameron McKenzie does a great job in getting someone who is brand new to Hibernate, up and running quickly and understanding the basics of Hibernate to effectively take on its learning curve.

Keep in mind when reading this book, that in order to keep it simple, some alternative solutions are not discussed. This is a book to get you started. So it didn't mention that you can have Hibernate automatically search your classpath for @Entity classes, but used addAnnotatedClass() method calls. This is ok, and might be fixed by the time you buy the book.

Now, there are many pieces to the Hibernate puzzle and Cameron manages to pick the subjects that are the necessary building blocks to move on to the more advanced topics. If you are just learning Hibernate, I highly recommend this book to take you on the path of righteousness.

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Beginning Database Design
by Gavin Powell


Wrox
1 edition
December 2005
504 pages

Reviewed by John Wetherbie, June 2006
  (4 of 10)


As the title states Beginning Database Design is aimed at people new to database design. The book does a reasonable job introducing this topic but has a fair number of problems.

What I liked:

Good coverage of the basics - datatypes, ERD, keys, SQL, indexes, normalization, denormalization.

Exercises at the end of most chapters.

A case study for an online auction house.

What I disliked:

The first two chapters can be skipped unless you are completely new to databases.

The same information is repeated throughout the book sometimes within the same paragraph. While this can be an aid in helping people to learn a new topic it gets old fast.

Some strange turns of phrase and typographic errors that required me to re-read sections of the book a few times before I understood what the author was saying.

Not enough exercises.

Overall, a fair introduction whose effect is reduced by repetition and poor writing.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book for review.

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The Definitive Guide to MySQL 5
by Michael Kofler


Apress
third edition
September 2005
784 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, December 2005
  (9 of 10)


My requirements for this book for quite light, so I can't say that I used it to its full potential, but I can say that it filled my requirements completely, and it clearly has so much more ready and waiting to show me in the future.

Ranging from first steps with MySQL all the way up to the advanced features, 'definitive' is a good description for the book. I've always found that there are great MySQL resources on the web, but the layout of the book, clear descriptions and concise examples will give you a single location and unified view of anything you'll need.

There isn't really any point mentioning individual sections. Readers experienced with other databases will find coverage for all of the sections they expect, and likewise new users will be provided the information they require. This is one of the few books I've seen that works for both picking up a new topic and as a reference for flipping to a specific section.

I was a little concerned that it was written in another language and translated to English for this copy, but apart from some of the sample data in the examples this is never an issue.

You won't find a better MySQL resource than "The Definitive Guide to MySQL"... until the next revision comes out!

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JDBC Recipes
by Mahmoud Parsian


Apress
1 edition
September 2005
664 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, December 2005
  (6 of 10)


The 600 page "JDBC Recipes" might make a decent 100 page book. Some problem/solutions are repeated verbatim and others are repeated with minimal changes. For example, there are at least 8 distinct sections on closing a database resource. The BLOB/CLOB and Statement/PreparedStatement chapters are at least 50% identical.

Despite all this repetition, coverage manages to be spotty on other topics. For example, CallableStatements are barely mentioned. Many ways are presented of doing a task, but the tradeoffs aren't covered. Except for connection pooling, there weren't many comments about JDBC in practice.

The stated audience is developers knowing the basics of Java, JDBC and databases. Examples span 1-4 pages of code with only minimal, high-level comments afterwards. Experienced developers know most of this stuff and shouldn't have to plow thru so much code to discern the important points.

The examples are tailored to Oracle and mySql. If you want to write code without vendor lock-in, this book doesn't help. The cover says "Java EE 5 compliant." While true, this is misleading. Most references are to the 1.4 JavaDoc. The 5.0 references don't use the new features.

The book serves a very narrow audience. If you want to copy/paste Oracle/mySql code verbatim, the book's website is very useful. If you have a database framework, want cross-database compatibility, best practices or are simply reading for understanding, I recommend a different book.

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Pro Hibernate 3
by Dave Minter, Leff Linwood


Apress
1 edition
June 2005
242 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, September 2005
  (8 of 10)


So you are starting off with Hibernate and you want a book to learn from. If you want the basics and get up an running pretty quickly, then this book works well for you. If you intend to do some complex stuff that is using more underneath tools of Hibernate, then this book might be too surface for you.

I enjoyed the book and recommend it as a beginner's book just starting off. I think the examples and writing style make it an easy to read and understand book. But I also think it stays to high level with Hibernate. Hibernate has an interesting learning curve. The basic simple mappings are easy, but once you get more relational and complex, then the learning curve steepens. I would have liked to have seen this book delve into the more "gotchas" that everyone learning Hibernate always fall into, but it doesn't.

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Apress
1 edition
June 2005
242 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, August 2005
  (8 of 10)


The task of mapping objects to tables in a relational database (O/RM) has been the focus of many research projects as the O/RM problem domain is a very complex area that has long been short of efficient solutions. A host of vendors and open-source communities have tackled the O/RM problem and have come up with solutions, such as EJB, Toplink and JDO, which were either considered successful or inefficient depending on a wide range of subjective and objective point of views.

To the rescue comes the third release of the famous Hibernate framework, which is said to provide today's most elegant O/RM solution. I take as a proof the fact that the upcoming EJB 3.0 specification is heavily based on the design concepts underlying the Hibernate framework. The first part of this book focuses on presenting the basics of Hibernate 3 while the second part provides more detailed content that shows how to create mapping files, to query objects using HQL, SQL and the Criteria API, to use events, interceptors and filters, to manage sessions, etc. Minter and Linwood also explain how to fit Hibernate into an existing environment and how to upgrade from previous Hibernate releases.

In summary, intermediate and advanced Java developers who have good working knowledge of database management and who are in need of a powerful and cutting-edge O/RM solution will be very well served with this comprehensive, yet somewhat slim, APress reference.

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Apress
1 edition
June 2005
242 pages

Reviewed by Gregg Bolinger, July 2005
  (9 of 10)


I have several Apress "Pro Series" books and have yet to be disappointed. Pro Hibernate 3 is no exception. Dave Minter and Jeff Linwood do a superb job of getting the reader comfortable with the open source Object Relational Mapping tool, Hibernate.

Starting off with a simple example, the authors show you everything you need to create your first Hibernate application. From there you are shown more complex mappings, how to use the Session object, DAO pattern, Criteria API, well, you can read the TOC.

The book is very well written, clear, concise, and easy to read. The book is full of code and mapping examples that all work (yes, I tested them) with the exception of chapter 10 which points you to a download of the source. I have one complaint and that is between chapters 2 and 3 I felt I was flipping pages back and forth between the two chapters in order to get all the source code I needed for the example. Note also that the book lists required libraries for running Hibernate applications but seemed to miss one, asm.jar. So make sure you have that in your classpath if you are using the latest stable release of Hibernate.

If you are new to Hibernate or maybe you've used it minimally in the past, you'll find this book very informative and useful not only as a learning tool, but as a reference when you run into snags throughout the development of your applications.

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Expert Oracle JDBC Programming
by R. M. Menon


Apress
1 edition
May 2005
708 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, February 2006
  (9 of 10)


"Expert Oracle JDBC Programming" is part of a new series called OakTable Press. This series is written by Oracle experts, making the quality very high. In fact, one of the technical reviewers of this book is "Ask Tom."

This strong relationship with Oracle results in trying to convince the reader to use stored procs/Oracle specific code. This isn't a good or a bad thing -- just something to know up front. The author clearly shows what is Oracle specific and describes the tradeoffs.

The book has three sections, starting with an introduction to JDBC. While JDBC knowledge is not required, it is helpful to get full benefit from the book as advanced concepts are introduced very quickly. The book relies heavily on code with all examples clearly explained. The second section goes into Oracle specific concepts. The last section explains best practices, issues and specific performance related concepts.

This book is distinguished from others by the emphasis on good quality, high performing code. Benchmarks are provided from the beginning. Chapter 1 even covers how to time your code.

As you can tell from the title, the book is Oracle specific. So you can copy/paste the code and run it on Oracle. All code examples specifically state whether they work on 9i, 10g or both. The focus of Oracle also allows the author to demonstrate exactly what needs to be done to run/test the examples on Oracle. I recommend this book for Java developers on Oracle.

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Databases Demystified
by Andrew Oppel


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
March 2004
360 pages

Reviewed by Eric Pascarello, April 2004
  (8 of 10)


Databases Demystified was written so you would not need all of the technical jargon that you find in other books. The only problem I find with it is that certain places are way too wordy. Overall this book is great for a broad view about databases. Some areas that the book covers are: a brief history on databases, database design, database models, using forms, and general SQL.

This book would be great for a supplemental text to other books. It contains quizzes at the end of the chapters, but I felt some of the questions were there to make sure that you actually were reading the book and were not that important.

Databases Demystified takes a general look at all databases so you can have a basic understanding how they all operate. Since the book is a broad overview of databases, those concerned only with Oracle or Microsoft Access will not find it helpful. I would recommend this book to anyone that needs a general knowledge about databases. I personally learned a great deal from the book.

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Oracle Essentials
by Rick Greenwald, Robert Stackowiak, Jonathan Stern


O'Reilly
third edition
February 2004
394 pages

Reviewed by Jeanne Boyarsky, May 2004
  (10 of 10)


As with most O'Reilly books, Oracle Essentials is crammed full of information. The book is geared for DBA's, system admins and developers. The book assumes some general knowledge of databases, but most concepts are explained as they come up. For example, there are sidebars for normalization and RAID.

The third edition is updated for Oracle 10g. Since the authors point out which features are specific to Oracle 8i, 9i and 10g, this book is just as useful for older versions of Oracle. For readers of previous editions, the book has an appendix directing the reader to the new 10g content.

For developers, using Java with Oracle is explained. There are good sections on SQLJ, JDBC, EJBs and Java stored procedures. For DBA's and system admins, the book covers architecture, failover and deployment. The book uses a good mix of text, diagrams and examples. Many cutting-edge topics are explained with a non-platform specific background of the topic and examples. These topics include OLTP, Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and of course -- Grid Computing.

I found the list of major technologies to be extremely useful. Chapter 1 has a paragraph on Oracle features in the database, application server and standalone development tools. The rest of the book focuses on the database itself. This book covers everything you would want to know about Oracle and provides references for more detail on each topic. If you are only going to buy one Oracle book, this is the one to buy.

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Java Persistence for Relational Databases
by Richard Sperko


Apress
1 edition
July 2003
318 pages

Reviewed by Jason Menard, August 2003
  (6 of 10)


As the title indicates, this book takes a look at different methods in Java for persisting data to a relational database. JDBC, EJB CMP 2.0, ODMG 3.0, JDO, open source frameworks (Hibernate and Castor), and commercial frameworks (TopLink, CocoBase) are all given a look. The author touches on rolling your own persistence framework, and throws in a little bit about relevant design patterns and unit testing.

Overall this book left me with more questions than answers. Often we are told what the capabilities of a given library or framework are, but not how to make use of those capabilities. Frequently we are teased with a bit of information, only to be told that we need to go to another source to find anything of substance. Just as often, a promising topic such as unit testing the persistence layer is left inadequately addressed.

If you are looking for a broad overview on the book's subject, then this book may be for you. However, while this book ostensibly should help a manager or developer choose a persistence method suitable for his project, I'm afraid no guidelines are given as to when one particular method may be preferable to another. Although we can't expect a book such as this to be all encompassing, many sections in this book urge the reader to look elsewhere for more information. In this case, that might not be such bad advice.

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JDBC API Tutorial and Reference
by Maydene Fisher, Jon Ellis, Jonathan Bruce


Prentice Hall PTR
third edition
June 2003
1280 pages

Reviewed by David O'Meara, July 2003
  (9 of 10)


Well, this certainly is a big book. Sun appears to have gathered its most knowledgeable people on JDBC and related topics, squeezed the information out of them and knitted it into "JDBC API Tutorial and Reference, Third Edition".

It sounds far too broad in scope to work, as it is both reference and tutorial for users ranging from beginner to advanced, but in this book they appear to get it right. I guess they could have written two or three books instead, but this way it works in your favour, since this may be the only JDBC book you'll ever need.

Due to its size, it's unlikely you'll read it cover to cover, so to be useful the information would have to be organised logically and indexed well. Luckily, it is! Novice and beginner JDBC users will get the most from the first section, which contains all of the introduction and tutorial data. The second section is a comprehensive reference that will be of enormous use to all JDBC users regardless of their skill level. The strength of the second section lies in the fact that it contains the sort of detail you wished was always available in Javadocs.

All in all, it is worth adding to your library even if you only program direct JBDC a few times a year.

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Prentice Hall PTR
third edition
June 2003
1280 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, July 2003
  (9 of 10)


Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced JDBC programmer you will find useful information in this book. The book is divided into two sections. The first section is a tutorial on using JDBC. The tutorial starts with a look at JDBC 1.0. The next chapter looks at the additional features added to JDBC in 2.0 and 3.0. The third tutorial chapter looks at metadata. The final chapter examines the RowSet interface, which is complex enough to need its own chapter.

The remainder of the book (about 800 pages) is a reference containing a chapter for each class or interface in JDBC. Each chapter contains an overview of a class or interface, sections on anything of special interest or complexity, and a list of all the methods of the class or interface with complete descriptions. If a section applies to a particular version of JDBC, the version it applies to is clearly marked. The information contained in the reference is much more than you can find in the APIs. The reference section itself is well laid out to make the information you need easy to find.

This is probably the only JDBC book you will ever need. No matter which version of JDBC your database drivers support, you will find your answers in this book. he book is well written with clear explanations and plenty of code samples. Anyone working with JDBC will want this book by their side while they are coding.

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Java Database Best Practices
by George Reese


O'Reilly
1 edition
May 2003
304 pages

Reviewed by Jason Menard, June 2003
  (8 of 10)


JDO or EJB? JDBC? BMP or CMP? EJB BMP with JDBC and JDO on a RDMS?

Have you ever been caught up in the alphabet soup of Java database programming APIs? Have you ever questioned which approach might be best suited for your particular application? Sure you pride yourself on your skills in crafting some pretty mean EJBs, but is that the best path to head down with your latest project? O'Reilly's new book "Java Database Best Practices" attempts to answer these questions and more.

For such a relatively thin book (267pp), it touches on a wealth of topics vital to the subject at hand. Reese lends his insights concerning database architectures, database design, transaction management, and persistence methods using JDBC, EJB, and JDO. While this isn't intended to be an introductory tome, you are also not expected to be proficient with all these APIs. As such, the latter third of the book contains tutorials on relevant J2EE APIs, JDBC, JDO, and SQL.

Reese does not exhaustively go into detail on every topic, each of which could probably warrant its own book. Rather he arms us with just enough information to make informed decisions about which method might best serve our applications. Aside from merely determining which set of APIs might be best suited in a given situation, Reese also points out several best practices to help guide us in design and implementation (for example, "use join tables to model many-to-many relationships").

I do have a couple of small complaints about the book. For one, "best practices" are highlighted throughout the text, but they are not enumerated or indexed in any manner. An enumerated list of these best practices would be welcome. Secondly, MVC purists will likely cringe at the JSP examples. While the architecture shown (JSPs as view and control, database access through taglibs) may be valid for small web applications, I don't feel it should be highlighted as a "best practice", particularly for enterprise applications. None of these complaints are major however, and do not overly detract from the value of the book.

"Java Database Best Practices" accomplishes what it sets out to do. This is a book that might be handy to have to pass around your development team in the design phase to get you all on the same page when making some critical choices. This book could also well serve those, such as managers perhaps, seeking a broad survey of Java database programming. I also feel that this book would make an excellent companion text for a college database programming course using Java. While "Java Database Best Practices" won't make you an expert with all of these APIs, it will certainly point you in the right direction.

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MySQL and JAVA Developer's Guide
by Mark Mathews, Jim Cole, Joseph D. Gradecki


Wiley
1 edition
February 2003
432 pages

Reviewed by Gregg Bolinger, March 2003
  (9 of 10)


Mark Mathews is the creator of the mm.mysql JDBC Type IV Driver. He was then hired by the MySQL Team to continue his development of the driver which then became Connector/J. What better person to co-author a book on MySQL and JAVA? I was really excited to get this book because I use MySQL and Connector/J for all of my JAVA Database needs. The first 5 chapters were pretty much review for me with the exception of some minor MySQL specific details that were really helpful. I learned a few things about MySQL that I had missed trying to get through MySQL's fairly cumbersome documentation. I found the remaining half of the book super informative and fairly rich for a "Getting Started" type of book. The appendix alone is worth its weight in gold since it contains all the data type mappings from MySQL to JAVA. This book also helped me learn how to use Connection Pools which I had not used until now. All the examples are straight forward and easy to understand. The book covered precisely what I expected from the title. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to get started with JDBC and MySQL. However, I would not recommend this book to someone already fluent in these technologies. This is definitely a beginner to intermediate level book.

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SQL Performance Tuning
by Peter Gulutzan, Trudy Pelzer


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
September 2002
528 pages

Reviewed by Mark Spritzler, March 2003
  (10 of 10)


So you just bought that Surrey with the fringe on top, but the wagon wheels squeek and the horses are trotting slowly. What do you do? I'll tell you. You go out and buy SQP Performance Tuning.

While not written to a specific DBMS, this book examines every nook and cranny of SQL statements, table structure and storage, indexes, stored procedures and many more.

It would take many years of experience, through trial and error, to figure out half of these "Speed Fixes". But it is all right here in one book. Every SQL expert wishes they had had this book when they started. It would have saved them years of frustration. I just wish I could memorize all the great suggestions and how to's in one reading. So this will now be my #1 reference book when writing SQL queries et al.

Buy this book now.

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Java Programming with Oracle JDBC
by Donald K. Bales, Don Bales


O'Reilly
1 edition
December 2001
450 pages

Reviewed by Ajith Kallambella, February 2002
  (9 of 10)


An excellent coverage of Oracle's implementation of JDBC, this book beats your expectations.

Meet the middle ground where the strengths of Java and Oracle work in synergy - the JDBC. Whether making simple database connections or using the Oracle 8i's sophisticated object-relational features, the authors peel the onion very well with detailed information and cleverly written examples. After a brief overview of JDBC, several different types of database clients are discussed in detail - the applets, the Servlets, the Server side internal drivers and those managed by J2EE using JNDI and connection pooling.

A whole section is dedicated to traditional uses of JDBC API such as cursors, submitting prepared statements and ResultSet manipulation. The chapter on Object-Relational SQL covers broad ground on both Weakly Typed Object SQL and Strongly Typed Object SQL.

Enterprise essentials such as Security, locking, transaction management supports for data encryption and SSL issues, performance tuning and testing strategies - are addressed in detail. This book is treasure trove if newer feats of Oracle are of Interest to you. I found immediate application for features such as creating object tables and column objects based on user-defined data types, support for really big streaming BFILEs and LONG RAW data types and batch processing for my project.

Overall, this book has everything you need to learn, know and master in order to leverage the essential two great technologies - JDBC and Oracle. Every serious Java developer should have this at arms reach.

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O'Reilly
1 edition
December 2001
450 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, August 2002
  (8 of 10)


A workmanlike book which achieves its aims.

This book is for Java developers who need to get the most out of using JDBC and Oracle (version 8.1.6). Choosing a specific database allows a lot more detail. Other JDBC books may skip database-dependent parts of the API; this book even gives code examples for the hard stuff. It is slow to read end-to-end, but "dipping" works well - there's almost always a helpful code example nearby.

There are problems, though. The author is obviously very familiar with Oracle, but lacks the experience to make comparisons with other products, this book won't help you choose when to use Oracle. Also I noticed other signs of lack of research - he sometimes gets abbreviations wrong, and the Java code is not particularly well-written.

The big problem for me is that the book assumes you only ever use Oracle. There is no consideration of code portability, it offers no wisdom about avoiding proprietary Oracle-specific extensions. The techniques in this book could easily lock your product into Oracle.

The book has minor discussion of extra features in Oracle8i and Oracle9i, but nothing about JDBC 3. It's less helpful if you are using a version older than 8.1.6, too.

If you have already sold your soul to Oracle, get this book. If you might use other databases, get a more generic book, and keep this one for emergencies.

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Common Warehouse Metamodel
by John Poole, Dan Chang, Douglas Tolbert, David Mellor


Wiley
1 edition
November 2001
208 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, June 2002
  (3 of 10)


I'll say at the start that this is not my kind of book. I prefer books which are useful, enlightening or both. This didn't seem to be either. From page 3: "The mission of this book is to provide a single, coherent, and comprehensive overview of the OMG's Common Warehouse Metamodel, which is easy to read.". It may be slightly easier to read than the raw specification, but it's a lot less useful. The most telling point is further down the same page where it admits to really being just an introduction to a forthcoming "Warehouse Metamodel Developers Guide".

For an overview, the book is really short on examples. It's got lots of vague UML diagrams and pretty pictures like you might see on a powerpoint slide, but not a single worked example to show how all the buzzwords and technologies might actually fit together. I also have great problems with their use of UML as a language to actually specify data models, processes and so on. For me UML is a tool to help express intentions to people, not supply details to processing software, but this book seems to ignore the difference.

If you know nothing about meta-modelling, and want the sort of information you can get from the slides of a conference presentation, this may be a useful book. If you want to understand the details, or (gosh) actually get a job done, then this book will just frustrate you.

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OCP Introduction to Oracle9i: SQL Exam Guide
by Jason S. Couchman


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
October 2001
512 pages

Reviewed by Ersin Eser, April 2002
  (8 of 10)


This book is very well organized and easy to understand. There are few errors and you can find corrections on the related web site: http://www.exampilot.com/bugrep.htm (you should always check a book's web site if there is one).

I haven't taken the test yet, so I can not tell you how good the coverage is, but it feels kind of light. Maybe the exam got easier or the book is not going deeply enough into details.

After reading this book, I did not feel 100% ready for the exam. By the way, do not expect to learn exam-related topics from this book; it is only for review. The book will certainly show you the path and lead you to your certification if you are experienced with Oracle.

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Expert One-on-One: Oracle
by Thomas Kyte


Peer Information
1 edition
June 2001
1265 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, August 2001
  (9 of 10)


This book is everything you would expect from Oracle Magazine's 'AskTom'! It does require a good understanding of SQL and a basic understanding of PLSQL as stated in the beginning. Tom gets right into the meat of things with tips on developing successful applications using an Oracle backend. This book is loaded with tips and examples that will improve the chances for success. I personally wished for more examples using JavaStored Procedures but on review, I knew that I could successfully implement this technology anytime it may be necessary.

Who needs this book? Definitely any Architect, Designer or Developer with a project involving Oracle. You may be assign the Java middleware but understanding how to best utilize your backend will help ensure success. Tom's tips actually extend to any Enterprise database system and while all the examples may not work in Informix or MS SQL7, most of the techniques for improving performance will be beneficial! I feel it is an absolute must for any PLSQL programmer!

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JSP, Servlets, and MySQL
by David Harms


Wiley
1 edition
April 2001
500 pages

Reviewed by Valentin Crettaz, January 2002
  (9 of 10)


This book will help you get your Java Servlets, JSPs and MySQL databases to work together and provide a full-fledged dynamic database-driven web site. The author, David Harms, masters at presenting the concepts clearly. Server-side Java components --JSP, Servlets and JavaBeans-- are briefly introduced. Then, the author explains what relational databases are and why the latter are so important when designing dynamic web sites. He also goes into the details of installing, configuring and running the MySQL server and client as well as how to properly design a database.

The Model-View-Controller (Model 2) design pattern is introduced in a way that definitely shows how each of its component areas perfectly map to server-side Java components and databases, that is Java servlets take the role of the Controller, JSP and custom tags the role of the View and JavaBeans and the database the role of the Model. Such decomposition makes any application very flexible and easily maintainable.

The final part is dedicated to some strategies one can use to make benefit of its database, like how to authenticate users, survey them, collect server statistics and so on. The Struts application framework which already implements perfectly the MVC design pattern is also briefly introduced.

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Oracle PL/SQL 101
by Christopher Allen


McGraw-Hill
1 edition
December 2000
420 pages

Reviewed by Carl Trusiak, October 2001
  (8 of 10)


This book lives up to the promise on the cover. It gives the reader a rapid understanding of Basic SQL. And enough PL/SQL for the user to write flexible Programs in short order. There are 9 chapters, each a lesson kept to the perfect level to ensure understanding. All the chapters build on each other at an appropriate rate. Any developer working with an Oracle Database and needs to learn the basics needs to get this book. The understanding that Christopher gives of basic SQL and complicated joins and unions will be beneficial. You'll be able to apply everything you learn in your JDBC application even if you don't use any of the PL/SQL. However, once you learn the topics provided, you'll see areas where you could gain significant performance enhancements using PL/SQL Stored Procedures.
Excellent first book to learn SQL and PL/SQL!

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Professional Oracle 8i Application programming with Java
by John Carnell, et al


Wrox
1 edition
December 2000
1275 pages

Reviewed by Thomas Paul, June 2001
  (9 of 10)


To produce this book, Wrox took twenty expert Oracle developers and had each of them write about their area of expertise. The result is that whether you are a manager, a developer, or a DBA, if you are working with Oracle 8i this book should be on your desk. This book covers virtually every topic that you need to understand about the Oracle 8i development platform. It does not cover each topic completely but it provides a thorough and in most cases sufficient introduction on each topic. For a particular topic of interest you may need an additional book but to get all the information found in this book you would need ten volumes at least. The book opens with an introduction to Oracle 8i and some of its components including Net8 (Oracle's network solution) and Designer 6i (Oracle's development environment). The next section covers PL/SQL and PSP (this is similar to JSP). This is followed by an extensive section covering Java. This section covers JDBC, SQLJ, EJB, and interMedia (Oracle's powerful search tool). The last section covers XML and includes information on DOM and SAX parsers, SOAP, XSL, XSQL, and more. Extensive case studies are scattered throughout the book. Examples show how to use Oracle tools such as BC4J to develop enterprise applications. The book even includes primers on Java and XML. As a tour of all the features of Oracle 8i, this book is without competition.

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Practical Issues in Database Management
by Fabian Pascal


Addison-Wesley Professional
1 edition
June 2000
288 pages

Reviewed by Margarita Isayeva, December 2002
  (8 of 10)


"Practical Issues..." aren't practical in a popular sense of this word. The book is about fundamentals, and this is the author's belief that knowledge of fundamentals is the most practical asset. If you do not subscribe to this view, practical usefulness of this book wont be obvious.

The book was written to educate audience on most misunderstood points of data management theory, which for the author means the Relational Model, and to debunk most popular myths about it. The author formulates the problems with the current state of RM support in SQL and commercially accessible databases with stress on shortcomings, gives recommendations on workarounds where possible. Maybe the most important is a meta-lesson: a text written with such an intellectual rigor, where all the terms are given strict and precise definition, sets standards so high, so you will be looking for the same level of clarity ever since.

A prospective reader should be familiar with the basics of the relational model, normalization theory and SQL. My rusty knowledge was enough. The book is written in an easy-to-comprehend manner (I read it in few days), and I would recommend it for beginners as a must-read complementary book on database design, and for more experienced readers who want to accustom themselves with an account of the Relational Model as given by one of its most prominent champions.

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Database Programming with JDBC and Java, 2nd Edition
by George Reese


O'Reilly
second edition
January 2000
328 pages

Reviewed by Marilyn de Queiroz, August 2001
  (9 of 10)


George Reese did an excellent job of providing a quick overview of the technologies and concepts require for developing an Enterprise System, beginning with the requirements for a true Enterprise System. The database is the heart of any enterprise system and Java provides strong, reliable database connectivity. He also covers basic SQL, intro to JDBC including its structure, alternatives, creating a connection, and basic database access. He then turns to more advanced JDBC including prepared statements,batch processing, rowsets, distributed transactions, and more.

In the second section, Applied JDBC, he covers topics such as JNDI, RMI, serialization, EJBs, system architecture (two-tier and three-tier), design patterns, distributed components, security, transaction handling, and other topics more peripherally related to JDBC, but necessary for developing an enterprise system. He also walks through an example distributed database application.

The final section of the book presents the JDBC Core API and the JDBC Optional Package as reference material.

The author's style of writing seemed very readable, clear and concise.

In summary, this 300-page book is a great introduction for those who want to approach Java distributed applications by way of database work as it discusses JDBC in the context of enterprise systems.

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MySQL
by Paul DuBois


New Riders
1 edition
December 1999
756 pages

Reviewed by David Vick, April 2002
  (9 of 10)


The book MySQL is an excellent book. My employer uses MySQL for many of our database needs and, being relatively inexperienced with databases, I had to be brought up to speed quickly and with good, accurate knowledge. This book is that resource. The coverage includes everything from setting up databases and tables to new users and permissions. When I have a question I almost always go directly to the book as opposed to the help pages that came with the database itself. The clear wording and solid explanations along with the excellent examples make it an extremely handy reference to have around at all times. I find myself referring to the book quite often for the finer points in creating SQL statements to do what I need them to do. The examples in the book cover almost every situation I've needed them to. Very rarely do I have the need to go elsewhere or seek additional resources for an answer. If you are going to be developing applications that interact with a MySQL database (whether your language is Java, C, PHP, or PERL) you need this book. It covers all of the functions and common tasks as well as database administration, security, and maintenance and repair. This is a great book and I would highly recommend it to everyone working with MySQL databases.

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Mastering Data Mining
by Michael J. A. Berry, Gordon S. Linoff


Wiley
1 edition
December 1999
512 pages

Reviewed by Margarita Isayeva, May 2003
  (9 of 10)


I was looking for an introductive overview on "what is data mining", and I am more than satisfied.

This book is about data mining in practice rather than in theory. It describes the whole process, from deciding which data columns aren't very useful, to testing and tuning the model -- the very details they forgot to tell us in my statistics class. There are rules of thumb ("set a minimum node size for a decision tree around 50 or 100"), and estimations ("in general, you need at least several thousand records in the model set", "the ratio of the rarer outcome should comprise 15-30%"). Three main techniques: cluster-detection, decision trees, and neural networks are described, and the principles of their working explained in plain language. Details are provided concerning when to use each technique (neural networks cannot explain result while decision trees can), and what types of data each technique works best with (decision trees works with categorical variables (e.g. list of states), neural networks require numerical input and cannot deal with missing values).

Almost half of the book is devoted to case studies. It can be boring reading, unless you are a data obsessed person, and if you are not, you probably shouldn't go into data mining. I was surprised myself that I did not skip this part, instead reading it with increasing interest.

My only complaint about the content: there is no chapter about what software is available to perform data mining.

Almost no formulas are presented, except for a few simple diversity metrics given in a couple of sidebars. There are however plenty of graphics, diagrams, and screen-shots. The text is very dense, so I was a little overwhelmed after my first reading. A second pass was needed to improve my understanding.

The book is so practically oriented, that it's almost "learning by example". To get the most of it, read it after you read a more traditional, systematic tutorial -- it will be an indispensable supplement.

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Java Database Programming
by Jepson, Brian


Wiley
1 edition
November 1996
485 pages

Reviewed by Frank Carver, November 2000
  (2 of 10)


This book is subtitled "Master Next Generation Web Database Techniques", so you might be forgiven for thinking that it has something to do with the web, or HTML, or distributed computing. No such luck. What you really get is mostly a collection of annotated source code listings for a simple SQL interpreter and database using plain text files,padded out with one or two chapters of introduction to SQL and JDBC. If you are interested in how an SQL database might be written, or you want to provide an SQL/JDBC interface to some plain text files then it could still be a ueful book, but I can't give a good review to any book which so wildly misrepresents itself.

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The Bunkhouse administrator is Ankit Garg.