on 29 October 1999
Having been introduced to this book back at edition 5, the only regret I have is that I bought the paperback version of the book. Earlier reviews highlight the academic style of the book; whilst I would agree that Date tends toward a more formal use of the English language, his verbose style does reduce the use of a dictionary and jotting pad! Date writes in a way that allows the first time reader to simple read, concentrating on the issues at hand rather than trying to decipher the word as is so often the case with Grady Booch!! Be aware though this this book does cover everything from the beginings of databases systems, the reasons why they look the way they do today and some interesting ideas for the future - assuming we all have a Cray to run the systems on!! Each chapter is well thought out, ideas being built upon, with a consolidation at the end. If you are using this book as your class text book, the teacher will have to understand their subject properly. Date writes for the technically minded computer scientist not the layman. If you are new to computers and the world of databases especially, take a deep breath first and work slowly. This is no 'Dummies Guide to Databases', but then if you want an in depth knowledge you have to read about the subject in depth. Quite simply the only reference book you will ever need for Vendor-Independant database theory!
on 22 April 2002
If you are looking for a quick 'how to' approach to developing a database look elsewhere.
If however you are looking for a sound introduction to the fundamentals written clearly in a reasoned and logical style then this should be the No 1 choice.
Its like an old friend that you can rely on to steer you in the right direction, making sure you get things right from the start and are not wasting time making modifications or enhancements that should have been implemented by a better understanding from the outset!
'When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves.'
on 21 June 2007
I first came across this book on my MSc course. Here I was using the third and fourth editions. They even use this book in China. I taught from the fourth edition in 1996. The seventh edition contains much of the material in earlier editions but has been refined and updated.
It is remarkable how such an authorative and comprehensive book can be so clear and accessible. Nevertheless it cannot be described as an easy read because of the size. It will take many months to read this book, but the effort should be worthwhile.
on 28 June 2000
If you're a database academic, you just have to have this book. It has become the database bible and is the ultimate reference on questions of definition. Unlike in natural science, where you can go and get the right answer by experiment, with database work, a question like whether or not your database is a relational database amounts to whether or not C.J.Date and his Guru E.F. Codd (pbuh) think it is.
on 26 September 1999
Along with Codd, C J Date is quite simply the man who created and developed relational theory. Because of this fact, the book is written from a theoretical perspective and is all the better for it. Without understanding mathematical principles how could you expect to make good use of a calculator? This is the definitive work.
on 4 January 2001
If you are interested in database theory, then this is a great book. If I were rating this book purely on the information it contained, I should award it five stars. What struck me, as much as anything else, were two things in particular
a) The writing style is poor.
b) The book appears, in large part, to be a forum for sniping at the rest of the database industry.
With regards to my first criticism, I should begin by saying that the layout is very good, each chapter follows a format of introduction, body, summary, exercises, references & bibliography, and answers to selected exercises. It lets itself down, however, by presenting the reader with an overly verbose, repetitive, and convoluted writing style. I could have put up with style for the sake of the content (which is excellent), were it not for the incessant attacks on the rest of the DB industry. It surely was possible to point out the shortcomings of real world practices in a more neutral way. It is quite right and proper that the author should point out those common (and not so common) mistakes that are often made in the field (no pun intended), though not in the way this book does.
In summary, this book is well worth the money, and I'm sure that it will prove an invaluable reference for a long time to come. As for Mr. Date, he would serve his cause far better by moderating his critical style.