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Oracle SQL: the Essential Reference Paperback – 6 Oct 2000

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (6 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565926978
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565926974
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,220,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Amazon Review

For those who like to know the background and context of a subject, the 17-page foreword in Oracle SQL: The Essential Reference by Ken Jacobs, an Oracle Corporation Vice Principal, is a treat. It traces the development of SQL from its first highly mathematical beginnings as defined by Codd nearly 30 years ago to the current SQL-1999 standard.

The book proper is a self-confessed reference book, presenting the topic as concisely as possible. Users are expected to be developers and database administrators who are "somewhat familiar" with the relational model and SQL. Strangely the author appears to be less familiar than he should be with some aspects of the model, stating as he does that the relational model is so called because tables can be "related". Codd would despair: a relation is simply a mathematical term for a table. Furthermore, Kreines describes an outer join without covering the two flavours--left outer and right outer. The distinction may be trivial but it is likely that both terms will be encountered by anyone working with SQL for any length of time.

Happily things improve dramatically when we reach the nitty gritty of SQL and PL/SQL statements. Contents include chapters on two subsets of SQL, Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Manipulation Language (DML): the first is for manipulating the data structure--removing tables, adding columns and so on--and the latter manipulates data--inserting, changing and retrieving it. The highly useful aggregate functions for summarising data get a chapter too, as do the Oracle tools for optimising queries, EXPLAIN PLAN and SQL Trace.

Ultimately this is a highly useful reference to Oracle's implementation of SQL and, since this is an O'Reilly book with a trademark "animal" cover, I now also know that scorpions fluoresce in ultra violet light. --Mark Whitehorn

Review

'Oracle SQL The Essential Reference' is a great reference book for those individuals using an Oracle Database. -- Wayne Graham, Williamsburg Macromedia User's Group, March 2003

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3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wanted a book that covered Oracle SQL syntax. I've been programming SQL in a number of databases and wanted something that allowed me to dive into a specific Oracle SQL command syntax and show me what I could do or how to achieve the result I was looking for (including some examples). This book states that it is a reference and that is exactly what it does. It provides you with a comprehensive reference for Oracle SQL command syntax. I believe this book is really aimed at the more advanced end of the market (i.e. Those that know what they are doing, but need a nudge in the right direction to get it done.)
So from my point of view, this gets 5 stars. I was not after a 800 page book, but a concise easy to use reference for Oracle SQL.
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By A Customer on 9 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is a barely acceptable reference to SQL in an Oracle environment. By the authors' own admission it is concise, I would say lightweight and flimsy (and I'm not referring to the binding). Not appropriate for beginners or veterans. Unfortunately it attempts to cover PL/SQL and SQL Plus and this just saps space from an already thin volume and does not do either of these areas justice. One is left with the question, 'Why?'
For once the O'Reilly offering for this topic is far inferior to that offered by Oracle Press.
So if you're considering this book, my advice would be, 'do not bother'.
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By A Customer on 30 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
After 10 years of other databases, I'm now doing Oracle work and this seemed the best quick guide to the nuances of Oracle. A quick-reference rather than a deep work, but what do you expect in a single general reference...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ceeb3f0) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cd4ed2c) out of 5 stars Oracle SQL: The Essential Refernce 8 Nov. 2000
By Stephen A Gillotte - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is exactly what it says it is. It is a solid (in comparison to other reference books that I have used) reference guide to ORACLE's implementation of the SQL language.
If you are looking for a tutorial on SQL, then this is probably not the book that you want to buy. This is a good book if you are a developer whom needs a quick reference guide.
The beginning section of the reference chapter is, in my opinion, a little bit of a kluge. The authors attempt to list everything that a DBA/developer might need to do. This LONG list simply states the command needed. You then need to look up the syntax in the index (why not just put the page number right there?) The list covers multiple pages, so it can be troublesome to read (if you don't know the exact terminology).
I must admit that I am a beginner SQL developer, so I have only used a limited amount of the commands, but it has been very useful for the commands that I have used, and in helping me expand what I am using SQL for. I must stress that it is NOT a tutorial.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cd3a918) out of 5 stars Excellent reference 26 Jan. 2001
By Anthony Fodor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous reviewer that this book is not a tutorial. But it is an outstanding reference that will save you many long, frustrating and tedious hours of pouring through the Oracle documentation looking for the syntax of various Oracle commands. I've been spending the last few months developing a JDBC based application and this is the only book that I carry with me between work and home.
If you've ever been kept up late trying to get the syntax right on some complex SELECT or CREATE TABLE command, this is the book for you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d6a9e88) out of 5 stars You can't live without this book 18 Jun. 2001
By Monica Israels - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Well maybe you could live without this book if you had food and water, but you wouldn't be happy about it. SQL isn't especially difficult, but it's hard to remember all of the syntax. Then couple this with the differences between Oracle's SQL and other database's versions and you have a serious headache that will not go away.
As in almost all O'Reilly books, this one is very well-organized and easy to follow. There are just enough examples to get you by, though if you are coupling Oracle, SQL and a scripting language like ColdFusion you might get confused with the "command line only" examples.
Oracle's Technet reference online is also good for this information, but they have a tendency to move URLs when you least expect it. This book is relatively inexpensive, and when kept within arm's reach you can whip out SQL queries in nothing flat. Earmark the reserved words section and remember where the Aggregate Functions section starts and you should be good.
The first half of the text is really enough to recommend the purchase, but this book also goes over SQL*Plus and PL/SQL, as well as some brief tips on SQL statement tuning. It isn't enough to be complete, but it's more than enough to get you started.
This is an indispensible book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cbee204) out of 5 stars It's a SQL REFERENCE, dummy! 11 April 2002
By Pierre Lu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have found this book to be an invaluable reference to SQL, PL/SQL, and SQL*Plus syntax and usage. The previous review by Kevin McCormick seems to entirely miss the point of an Essential Reference - it is not intended to teach SQL concepts, and the introduction clearly states this. The book is well organized with exactly the information needed to write a particular statement. The examples are simple and to the point - I don't need a complex example; just something to show me what the statement should look like (for example, to show me that an argument should be a string and not a number). I bought two copies: one for the office and one for home. The book is as close to indispensible as you can get. I only hope the author is planning an update to Oracle 9!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cc141bc) out of 5 stars It's not a "reference" -- it's an "overview" or a "tour" 20 Jun. 2004
By Thomas Hundt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book gives a great overview of Oracle's flavor of SQL, and if you already know some other brand's SQL, you'll breeze right through, and have a very good idea of what's new and different in Oracle. You'll be able to sit right down and get to work.
(If, on the other hand, you're a SQL beginner, stop right here. This is not a book for SQL newbies. There is not a chapter with 100 examples of different types of SELECT statements, for example. It is not a tutorial!)
Each chapter covers a different area. For example, chapter 5 is about "SQL Functions". It goes through all the functions, giving you the syntax, a paragraph saying what it does, and then an actual example. Many of the examples are pretty trivial, just a couple of lines, but the ones in the PL/SQL chapter have some meaningful code to illustrate things like the LOOP statement, which is nice.
But. When you come back after the weekend and want to look something up, you'll be banging your head against the wall, because the index on this thing is sorely lacking. Just now I spent ten minutes trying to look up %TYPE, and had to leaf through the book before finding it on page 266. Very annoying. O'Reilly should know better: an "essential" part of any "reference" book is a kick-ass index.
I give it five stars for content and one star for lack of meaningful index, for an overall rating of three stars. Maybe in the next release they'll get it right. (Speaking of which: this book is (c)2000 and covers up to Oracle 8i.)
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