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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
The Object Database Handbook
Author:
Douglas K Barry
ISBN:
0 471 14718 4
Publisher:
Wiley
Pages:
340pp
Price:
£32-50
Reviewer:
Klitos Kyriacou
Subject:
database
Appeared in:
10-3
This book gives you information allowing you to select an appropriate database for an object-oriented application. It is in three parts. The five chapters of Part I explain all the relevant technical details. No particular prior knowledge is assumed, apart from basic IT principles. Here, the author excels in providing descriptions which are both technically accurate and easy to understand. This is a rare achievement! He does not go into any depth - that would be beyond the scope of the book - but gives enough information to enable you to understand any jargon that a database vendor might throw at you. He explains the underlying architectures of the various types of database, but concentrates on the object database, which is often the most appropriate type. It is important to understand the architectural principles, as the marketing men's lists of 'key factors' can be very misleading.

Part II contains step-by-step instructions on how to go about selecting and then deploying databases. This can be very useful to someone who has not done this sort of thing before. It includes both technical and cultural aspects of migrating to an object database.

Part III contains a comprehensive series of checklists against which a prospective product can be checked if you have the task of choosing a DBMS for your organisation. This part is very useful, though I don't like the layout, with narrow tables in the middle of a page containing questions. These tables use up a lot of paper unnecessarily. It would have been really useful to have checklist questions along the left, with blanks along the top for you to fill in the names of DBMS products you are evaluating and tick boxes in the remaining space. But that's a very minor criticism.

Surprisingly, there is no mention of any specific database product. Perhaps this is deliberate, as any product will gain new features with each release.

The book is especially useful for IT department managers considering the purchase of an object database. It is also useful if you are a programmer wanting to find out about the subject of object databases and related topics. For example, the chapter on standards explains such things as ODBC and CORBA (as well as the more directly relevant SQL-3, ODMG, etc).