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Oracle Essentials
by Rick Greenwald, Robert Stackowiak, Jonathan Stern

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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