The third time is a charm...
Two books just arrived at home via UPS – two books I was a technical editor on (as well as Chris Beck):
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 http://otn.oracle.com/ 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.