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A review of Get it Done with MySQL 5&6 by Peter Brawley and Arthur Fuller

Get it Done with MySQL 5&6

Get it Done with MySQL 5&6. By Peter Brawley and Arthur Fuller. Self-published, 2009. Page count: about 615 pages. I asked the authors for a print edition to review, but it is also available as an e-book.

The right word to describe this book falls somewhere between “tome” and “lunker.” You could beat back an unwelcome salesperson with it. You could also beat back any number of stubborn database problems. It’s kind of like a MySQL Manual plus a ton of practical how-to-use-MySQL information.

This is an unusual book in that it is useful for a very broad audience. I’d say you can get a lot out of it if you are a) new to databases b) new to MySQL c) in need of reference material d) looking for practical examples of installing or using MySQL e) trying to …

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A review of Pentaho Solutions by Roland Bouman and Jos van Dongen

Pentaho Solutions

Pentaho Solutions, Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing with Pentaho and MySQL. By Roland Bouman and Jos van Dongen, Wiley 2009. Page count: about 570 pages. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site.)

The book is big in part because it’s about a GUI tool, so there are the requisite number of screenshots (but not too many). It is structured into four parts, each on a different topic.

The first part is 4 chapters on getting started with Pentaho: from a quick-start through …

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A review of Optimizing Oracle Performance by Cary Millsap

Optimizing Oracle Performance

Optimizing Oracle Performance. By Cary Millsap, O’Reilly 2003. Page count: about 375 pages with appendices. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site.)

This is easily one of the best books I’ve ever read on performance optimization. I’ve just finished reading it for the second-and-a-half time in two weeks, and I very rarely read a book more than once. I’ve been telling a lot of people about it.

Despite the title, it is actually not about Oracle performance. It is a book on how to optimize a) any system, …

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A review of The Art of Capacity Planning by John Allspaw

The Art of Capacity Planning

The Art of Capacity Planning. By John Allspaw, O’Reilly 2008. Page count: 130 pages. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site.)

This is an outstanding book. As far as I know Ewen Fortune was the first Perconian to read it, and it’s been spreading amongst us since then. I got my copy last week, and read it last night when I couldn’t sleep for some reason. It took me about 90 minutes to read.

This book doesn’t teach in generalities — it shows you exactly what to do. Rather than outlining the process of capacity planning (and it is a process!) and then letting you …

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A Review of Beginning Database Design by Clare Churcher

Beginning Database Design: From Novice to Professional

Beginning Database Design: From Novice to Professional. By Clare Churcher, Apress, 2007. Page count: 230 pages. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site.)

My wife bought a copy of this book, and recently I took it off her bookshelf to give it a read myself.

I found the book very lucid and readable. The author does not drag us through a bunch of formalisms, nor does she attempt to force the book to be readable through the use of comics, pop-culture references, or other artificial devices. Instead, she draws on her real-life experience helping people design databases, and presents several examples that …

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Review: Erlang books

The fine folks at O'Reilly sent me reviewer copy of two books on Erlang

I am currently in the process of learning Erlang for a personal project. These books both measures up to the high expectations I have come to expect from Pragmatic Programmers Publishing and from O'Reilly Books.

Erlang is a difficult language to "sell", and is a challenge to learn.

Both books assume you have decently good programming skills, and don't need your hand held too much …

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A review of MySQL Administrator’s Bible

MySQL Administrator's Bible

MySQL Administrator’s Bible by Sheeri K. Cabral and Keith Murphy, 2009. Page count: 800+ pages. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site.)

This book is a comprehensive reference guide to MySQL that’s accessible to beginning DBAs or DBAs familiar with another database. It has enough detail to be a useful companion throughout a DBA’s career. It also covers many related technologies, such as memcached, at a moderate-but-useful level of detail. This isn’t exactly a how-to book, and it isn’t exactly a reference manual; it’s more of a blend of the two.

The …

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A review of SQL and Relational Theory by C. J. Date

SQL and Relational Theory

SQL and Relational Theory How to Write Accurate SQL Code by C. J. Date, O’Reilly 2009. Page count: 266 pages of “real” text, plus hefty appendixes. (Here’s a link to the publisher’s site: SQL and Relational Theory How to Write Accurate SQL Code).

This is a very important book for anyone involved with databases. Before I say why, I need to apologize to Mr. Date. I tech-reviewed part of the book and did not care for it. I am afraid I was quite a curmudgeon in my review comments. So, Mr. Date, if you’re reading this — I want to say I …

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WTF worthy man page suggestion...

I encountered the following text in a man page. Please tell me that I am not alone in thinking that the "typical" solution suggested is WTF worthy...

After calling "commit" or "rollback" many drivers will not let you
fetch from a previously active "SELECT" statement handle that's a child
of the same database handle. A typical way round this is to connect the
the database twice and use one connection for "SELECT" statements.

If the programmer really wants to reuse values from a SELECT statement which occurred within a transaction after the transaction is closed, they should cache those values themselves by populating some variable within their application. IMO, they definitely should not be using multiple connections to the same database from one unit of work unless they are perfectly happy to accept inconsistent data and potentially corrupted inserts and updates.

No wonder …

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review: MySQL Cookbook

Last year O’Reilly released the 2nd Edition of the  MySQL Cookbook by Paul DuBois.  You can read my review here.

Whenever a publisher releases a 2nd Edition of a book, you know it was well received the first time around.  So that’s a good sign that the material has gotten people buying.  I would say in the computer reference and howto market, that’s a very good indication that the material is well written and relevant.  I certainly found it to be the case with this title.

If you’re looking for a quick & no nonsense howto book on MySQL development, look no further.  The book focuses on Ruby, Perl, PHP, Python and Java as examples.  So if you’re doing development, specifically web development, you’ll get …

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