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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:
Oracle SQL*Plus
Author:
Jonathan Gennick
ISBN:
1 56592 578 5
Publisher:
O'Reilly
Pages:
502pp
Price:
£23-50
Reviewer:
Dave Rutlidge
Subject:
database
Appeared in:
11-6
SQL*Plus is the ubiquitous command line user interface for all implementations of the Oracle database. It is a client-server application that enables users to enter and execute SQL statements and PL/SQL blocks and to run predefined SQL*Plus script files. These files can contain DDL, SQL, PL/SQL or even SQL*Plus commands.

This book sets out to thoroughly teach every aspect of SQL*Plus and to do so in a way that can be used as a tutorial or as a problem- solving 'how-to' type book. This is a very ambitious goal, but one that is largely achieved. One of the strengths of the book is that it organised such that each chapter aims to present a solution to a real-world problem. For example, one chapter is devoted to extracting and loading data, while another covers report generation.

Work-a-rounds for some of the limitations of SQL*Plus are presented in the chapter on advanced scripting, including, for example, six different ways of achieving branching within a script (even if one of them is to use shell script).

The reader is assumed to have a working knowledge of both SQL and PL/SQL and in some examples knowledge of packages such as DBMS_SQL - although the book does point the reader to the oracle documentation (and another O'Reilly book) in this instance.

The book is flagged as 'includes Oracle8i', but the use of Oracle 8 is not assumed and the reader is warned where there are significant differences between versions.

While there is no code disc accompanying the book, sample code and test data is available on the O'Reilly web site. While most Oracle users might have access to the web, it is unfortunate that there seems no other way of receiving the code and test data.

The book contains a comprehensive SQL*Plus reference in the appendices. It would have been really nice, in my opinion, if SQL and PL/SQL reference sections had also been included to provide more of a one-stop reference shop.

At the price the book provides good value for money and is a useful addition to the bookshelf of even the more experienced Oracle user.