The authors present the IDEA methodology, which is described as 'a state-of-the-art methodology for developing, maintaining and applying database systems'. The state of the art in this case revolves around using object orientation and rule based approaches. IDEA stands for Intelligent Database Environment for Advanced applications and is aimed at the information technology professional, those spending their time designing and developing database applications.
The presentation focuses on developing the material around the progression of key ideas associated with modelling, analysis, design, prototyping and implementation. In terms of analysis and modelling Chimera is the language proposed for collecting specifications at the conceptual level and much of the book is devoted to expanding on Chimera as the fusion of object orientation, deductive rules and active rules. Of course, for those not interested in learning another (specification/modelling) language then the value of the book drops quite dramatically.
The style is very academic and indeed the authors name students of advanced database courses as part of the target audience, which also comprises database systems analysts, designers, administrators and managers. For those named there is undoubtedly much of interest if learning a new methodology is appealing. For those who like to cherry pick useful ideas and techniques there are also some nuggets of interest. However, generally I think that the target audience is fairly precise and this is not a book that will satisfy 'outsiders'.