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Oracle PL/SQL 101
by Christopher Allen

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

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: (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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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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