Good books on databases are rare. So permit me to step out of my normal MySQL-centric role and review a new book that is very good and covers a lot of generic relational database territory while also teaching the basics of Oracle 11g. I would estimate that 10% of the book is 11g and the rest would be valuable to new DBAs of other database systems. Besides, seeing how other databases perform some tasks differently may spur you to improve your own.
OCA Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I: A real-world Certification Guide
Author: Steve Reis
Database books are hard to write. Databases are not warm, easy to understand and the many concepts can require a student on the subject to concentrate on many obtuse factors all at one time. Presenting the material in a clear and concise fashion can be hard. Providing examples that show the various concepts without being silly or obtuse is harder. And keeping the book readable is harder still. Steve Reis’ OCA Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I: A real-world Certification Guide is an amazing piece of writing that does everything well.
I need to confess that my background in database administration has mainly been in the MySQL arena. I haunt the local books stores for books on other database systems and have a collection of books on many databases. Reading these books is for self education as well as looking for examples of how others do similar tasks. Some of these books are pretty bad and few of them are good. OCA Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I: A real-world Certification Guide is the best book on databases in general and should be mandatory reading for novice Oracle 11g DBAs.
The book is made up of eleven chapters that start simply with an introduction of relational database concepts and builds on that foundation with chapters on SQL select statements, using conditional statements, DML, and joining tables. The following chapters go into data transformations, sub-queries, DDL, database object, and application development. Each chapter is clear, concise, and to the point.
This books is a great general reference for non-Oracle 11g DBAs as it details how databases function in a simple, complete fashion. It does go into 11g specific areas only when the need arises. Any novice Oracle 11g needs to have this book in their hands at all times.
Certification guides are often written as fact books for experienced DBAs to pass the exams. But this title is very different. It teaches the concepts and information needed for the Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I exam but it not a guide for memorizing command switches or to aid in remembering obscure trivia. By covering the material is a concise fashion, this book covers all the material for either the certification exam or becoming an Oracle 11g DBA.