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on 24 February 2014
Another quality book from Oracle Press; if you’re new into Oracle databases then this book has everything you need to get started. All the topics are well organised and structured. Really good introduction into database design which I was surprised to see. As well as the basic database fundamentals it covers more advanced topics such as virtual private databases, materialized views, plsql to mention a few. There were some 12c features notably the pluggable database but did feel it was an expansion of the 11g book with little bits of 12c nuggets.

If you’re an experienced dba then you will know most of the content in this book and if you’re looking for 12c content I would try the Oracle 12c New features book; if you are new to Oracle or have SQL Server background moving into Oracle, then this is a perfect title to keep as a reference.
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on 10 January 2017
The first book I bought as a wannabe Oracle DBA was Oracle The Complete Reference by Koch and Loney. (The second book was Oracle 7 DBA by Kevin Loney). It had 1100 pages and I read it from cover to cover. It was a great introduction to Oracle with quite a large emphasis on design and SQL and I felt I had a complete introduction.

Oracle 12c has expanded to 1500 pages and I obtained a copy hoping to learn more about 12c New Features and Recovery Manager and Dataguard in particular. However – silly me - they are big enough subjects in themselves and there are only short summaries in the book, referring to books devoted to just that subject. As others have noted, Oracle documentation is now so huge that NO book can be The Complete Reference. So this book by Bryla and Loney can really be no more (and no less) than a complete introduction with pointers elsewhere. As such it succeeds, though as a summary has too much detail about dynamic tables rather than just highlighting the key ones, whereas I’d have like more DBA commands. It consistently felt like a book written for an Oracle developer.

I particularly liked the roadmaps, highlighting useful new 12c features and what I skimmed was as cogent as ever. I had hoped to read it cover to cover, but it is just too big. So I’m left wondering if a shorter book is needed for wannabe DBAs or developers, but then you couldn’t call it The Complete Reference – but then it isn’t anyway. Though I suppose you could argue it’s the complete reference as it refers to other books 

The main gotcha for new DBAs or Developers who are thinking about trying new features (or any features) is LICENSING. So beware of any licence features that are enabled by default or have a mild reference to licensing, even if you use just once.

On a final note the ebook version was very useful in being searchable, though I thought the publishers had missed a trick in not having hyperlinks to other books; links to Oracle documentation and Oracle expert sites (AskTom, OakTable, Jonathan Lewis etc) would have been useful as well.
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on 13 September 2016
Like everything to do with Oracle, this book is far from complete and is of very little value. It does not even contain a list of the error codes. If you are using Oracle, you will end up with plenty of them. The language used in this book is just daft - SQL is not 'speech'. A chapter entitled ' The basic parts of speech in SQL' is in reality nothing of the sort. It has nothing whatsoever to do with speech but appears to be a crash course in SQL. Something as fundamental as connecting to an Oracle database is given half a page and if it doesn't work, (which it almost certainly will not as printed in the book) the best advice on offer is to 'contact your company's database administrator' which illustrates very well the abundant arrogance that Oracle has towards it's customers. This book falls over at the first hurdle - it does not even provide sufficient information to connect to a database. If the book had assumed technical competence in Oracle, I would not expect to see such basic details such as how to connect but since it seems to feel it necessary to explain what SQL is (and dumb it down by calling it speech) it is clear that this book does not assume technical proficiency in Oracle products.
There is no doubt that Oracle as a database system had it's day many, many, many years ago. There is no reason these days to use this awful product (and it's expensive and awful documentation) as regardless of the platform being used there are better alternatives.
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on 20 March 2014
First off this is a big book nearly 1500 pages covering all aspects of the Oracle database. The book is split into 8 parts, starting sensibly with an introduction to database concepts and then we are into part 2 - SQL and SQL*Plus an indepth look at SQL in the 12c database. Part 3 was titled beyond the basics, although I wouldn't have put all the the subjects (SQL Loader, accessing remote data for example) in this section as I consider them to be amongst the basics too but the other areas such as VPD, TDE adn Oracle Text are an advanced topic which we explained well in this section.
Part 4, 5 and 6 covered using PL/SQL, Object-Relational Databases and Java in the Oracle Database respectively. Part 7 was described as a series of hitchhikers guides in to a number of areas, one example was the 12c specific Pluggable databases guide which took you through installing and managing PDBs on a 12c installation. Part is a very useful alphabetical reference of virtually all the commands you are likely to want to use in SQL, SQL*PLUS and PL/SQL. Each command is decribed and cross-referenced back into the main text of the book and within the alphabetical reference itself.
All in all it is a very useful reference and the inclusion of the CD an ebook version means you can leave the heavy book at home but still take the content with you where ever you need it.
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