Friday, August 04, 2006

The third time is a charm...

The third time is a charm. After the “forward” and “insults” typos – I finally got some printed material that looks “typo free” on the cover:

They spelled foreword correctly this time!

Two books just arrived at home via UPS – two books I was a technical editor on (as well as Chris Beck):

XE Books

They are all about Oracle Database 10g Express Edition (one for Windows and one for Linux) and are geared towards someone wanting to get started with this “Oracle thing”. For convenience they ship with the software on CD-ROM (you don’t need to even download the stuff from if you don’t want to). If you were thinking about getting started with Oracle – these books would be a good place to begin. While there are separate books for Windows and Linux –they are pretty much interchangeable – for once you have the product installed, there isn’t that much different between the two platforms. You’ll want to get the one for your platform however – for the correct software.

Here is the foreword I wrote for these books:

In 1987 I was just graduating from college and starting my career as a software developer. I started as a PL/I programmer on IBM mainframes using two databases – SQL/DS on VM/CMS and DB2 on MVS. I became familiar with SQL, but was limited as to what I could do on these production environments.

One day while reading a magazine, Dr. Dobbs Journal, I noticed an advertisement for a relational database that ran on DOS – simple PC’s. It was a product named “Oracle”. I clipped out the coupon – filled it in and ordered this relational database for $99. About 2 weeks later – a dozen or so 5-1/4” floppy disks showed up in my mailbox and I had Oracle version 5.1.5c and all of the development tools I needed to start playing, learning and exploring with. I was hooked.

That was then, this is now – and now, you have the ability to do in 10 minutes, for free what took me weeks and $99 ($166 in 2006 dollars!) in 1987 accomplish. With the introduction of Oracle Database Express Edition – you can download, develop, deploy and distribute your applications for free.

The book you are looking at now is the roadmap to exploiting this free software offering, the guide you need to successfully learn the ins and outs of this thing called Oracle. When I first started in 1987 – all I had was the software and documentation to go on (and much slower computers). Today you have access to not only the software and documentation (as well as discussion forums) – but the roadmap and guide you need to be successful and productive with Oracle Database XE in hours or days. Not the weeks and months it took in the past.

Steve Bobrowski has written the definitive guide on getting started with Oracle Database XE and you have it in your hands right now. I like things that are simple, easy to understand, easy to read – all of that is present in this book.

Steve starts with a quick introduction to databases and Oracle in general. After this very quick overview – we get into the meat of the book with the installation and getting started with Oracle Database XE. Installation is quick and easy – and within minutes, you’ll be on your way to the rest of the book.

The remainder of the book is logically broken into two main components. The first part is geared towards application development (my favorite topic). Steve builds up from using simple SQL, to implementing with PL/SQL and finally building true applications with Oracle Database XE’s Application Express (APEX) tool – the web based development/administration tool that comes with Oracle Database XE. Steve uses both the character mode, command line tool SQL*Plus (an invaluable tool everyone should be familiar with) as well as the graphical environment built with APEX – interchanging between the two environments to provide a comprehensive overview of both. After you are done with this section, you will be able to not only get into Oracle Database XE and play around – but build “real” applications that can be deployed to a large group simply by advertising a URL.

The next section contains the technical background you need to administer, secure and tune your database and applications. Steve covers everything from access control to how to run and interpret statspack reports in a step by step tutorial fashion. Everything is covered here – from not only how to read and understand the statspack reports (a report showing how the “system” is performing, the work it is doing), but how to install it and get your first reports generated. Nothing is left out.

Every chapter is full of examples – concrete examples. The examples are well thought out and demonstrate the key concepts Steve is trying to get across. A friend of mine ends his emails with the latin quote “nullius in verba” – or “nothing in words” – another way of saying “don’t trust just words”. This book exemplifies that trait and take pains to prove out time and time again that what is written here, is true.

If you are just beginning Oracle – whether you are an experienced SQL developer coming from another database as I was in 1987, or whether you are a complete “newbie” to this database thing – you will find this book truly useful in getting started – quickly and easily.


Blogger Niall said....

And lo and behold the amazon offer

"Buy this book with Wrox's SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Starter Kit (Programmer to Programmer) by Rajesh George today!"

taken direct from your link.

Fri Aug 04, 03:20:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I saw that pairing :)

Fri Aug 04, 03:25:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

hmm this seems, to me, rather "out of the norm"
- one for Linux, one for Windows
Is this because the book is intended for near complete newbies ?

Fri Aug 04, 06:37:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Rich Janson said....

Steve uses both the character mode, command line tool SQL*Plus (an invaluable everyone should be familiar with) as well as the graphical environment built with APEX

an invaluable *what* ?

Fri Aug 04, 06:51:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Robert said....

Rich Janson said....
an invaluable *what* ?

umm "tool" ?
I think Tom's referring to Sql*Plus

Fri Aug 04, 07:55:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Hae-Kwang said....

This sounds as though something that I've been waiting for. A few questions though:
1) Does one need to have obtained a certain level with SQL? Or will this also teach the user the language as long as the basics are understood?
2) How much does the XE reflect the full version, in terms of features and functions, as well as the install process, etc.?


Fri Aug 04, 11:12:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Is this because the book is intended for near complete newbies ?

yes, newbies to databases OR Oracle in general.

an invaluable *what* ?

"tool" :)

This sounds as though something that I've been waiting for.

this is a good intro to SQL - XE has virtually the feature set of standard edition - but has limits on the number of CPU's it'll use (one) and the amount of RAM it'll use (one gigabyte) and the amount of data it'll store (four gigabytes) and the amount of instances you can run on a server at the same time (one).

but - it is a lot like you are using "full fledged Oracle"

Fri Aug 04, 11:50:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Hae-Kwang said....

Just curious ... Does the author mention / use Oracle SQL Developer in this book as well? We use TOAD at our company and I've been using the free version of it for personal use ... was wondering if you could provide feedback on the application, etc.?

Sat Aug 05, 12:00:00 AM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

Steve does not write about SQLDeveloper - it is all about sqlplus and APEX in the book - but Sue Harper, the SQLDeveloper product manager, frequently writes about it on her blog.

Sat Aug 05, 07:43:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Oracle XE is great. Can you suggest a data modeling tool? I was trying to create a simple application but it got so involved that I could not get any further without being able to see the data model. I tried Designer but it is too complicated. I like the functionality of Erwin but it is too expensive for personal use. I tried couple of other free tools but they were totally useless.

Sat Aug 05, 08:06:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

A friend of mine ends his emails with the latin quote “nullius in verba” – or “nothing in words” – another way of saying “don’t trust just words”.

I know who ends me emails that say that too :)

Sun Aug 06, 01:27:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

to the guy above asking about a data modeller - i can recommend JDeveloper!!!

I use it for data modelling but not Java (I use Eclipse for that). Its quite good but only supports basic tables (no IOTs or Cluster table definitions).

Mon Aug 07, 01:08:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Ken Banyas said....

Data Modeling

I use a product called CaseStudio. I prefer it over JDeveloper for ER diagramming.
I evaluated both for a few weeks. CaseStudio's eval version is full-featured except:
1) You can only save a diagram with 6 or less tables.
2) Their model "versioning" feature is disabled.
I just checked their URL ( to discover that Charonware, the Czech S/W producer, is now part of Quest Software and that the product is now called Toad Data Modeller.
I paid $369 US for my CaseStudio v2.
Quest charges $479 which includes a year of maintenance....which Charon was providing free.
Quest makes your create an account to download the trial.
It's a nifty program, though. Also includes a Data Flow diagramming feature that is useful.
Worth checking out..

Mon Aug 14, 12:12:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

ModelRight for Oracle ( is an excellent modeling tool. It supports IOT and clustered tables (plus nearly every other Oracle physical feature), OR (type, tables, views) and unlike CaseStudio it supports Compare with database (therefore generates Alter Script) and between models, undo/redo, etc. Give it a try.

Thu Feb 01, 01:18:00 PM EST  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Sorry, one more typo to report:
"weeks and $99 ($166 in 2006 dollars!) in 1987 accomplish."

" 1987 to accomplish."

Thu Dec 20, 10:04:00 AM EST  

Blogger Pong said....

Mr. Thom,

I bought this book but unfortunately the CD was broken while I was transferring all my stuff into my new accommodation (cause: heavy things placed on top of the book and the CD.)

Can you help me please, if you can provide me the Code Examples of the book? I am already in chapter 3 but I cannot practice the codes mentioned there. I got the software from Oracle, but I badly need the code examples in order to continue.

Thanks for your help.


Thu Sep 17, 02:10:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....


I'll send an email to Steve and see if he can help

Thu Sep 17, 02:29:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....


they have posted the code on

Wed Sep 23, 07:37:00 AM EDT  


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