Book Review: Beginning Databases with PostgreSQL: From Novice to Professional

Reading about SQL having fever maybe is not the best combo but I think I was able to get all the important concepts, so if you want to learn about PostgreSQL (v.8.0, sadly the book is one version behind), go ahead and check it.

More reviews soon as I'm switching my development software stack.

Review

Beginning Databases with PostgreSQL: From Novice to Professional

Title: Beginning Databases with PostgreSQL: From Novice to Professional
Author: Richard Stones, Neil Matthew

As part of my new job software stack I've had to learn some PostgreSQL, and the company gave me the second edition of this book (covering PostgreSQL 8.0).

Although now we're on v.9 and I've noticed some changes that affect the book (like different Linux instalation folders), in general the book still serves its purpose.

I've read all the chapters except the "Accessing PostgreSQL from xxx" ones, as the languages I'm going to use to connect are not covered in the book. Still, they look solid and there are examples in major languages like Java, PHP, or even C#.

The rest of the book is well organized, starting from the typical how to install and configure, most SQL language basics (at least those supported by Postgres), special features of the DB engine, and of course advanced topics like stored procedures, triggers and special syntax (like JOINs, CHECK conditions) or supported isolation levels.

The examples are quite good if you don't already know SQL, and if you do at a quick glance you see the relevant syntax and go on. In general everything is well explained but clearly the book tends to go a bit towards newcomers: There are pages and pages explaining trivial basics, when instead how tablespaces are stored,& how EXPLAIN works or how are& indexes built& and stored are given few pages.

Sometimes the book also doesn't explains some details and just mention a concept or feature and tell you to check the online documentation, is not frequent but this is not a full reference guide book.

Overall good to grasp how Postgres differs from for example MySQL or SQL Server, probably not the best option for a DBA but definetly good to start with this database system. An update to metion v.9.0 new features and changes would be nice too.

Posted by Kartones on 2014-01-12

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