Jul 22: A TOP Book
Well, I have always been and probably always will be poor
at coming up with snappy, punning titles for blog posts, so it's the
best I can do.
I bought Troubleshooting Oracle Performance by Christian Antognini a while ago (when it was first published, I think) but, as seems to be my way these days, it's taken a lot longer to read the damned thing. (OK, maybe it's me that's damned and not the book, but hopefully you get the general idea.)
It's an excellent book and I've recommended it to so many people that it occurred to me the other day that, rather than fretting over a 'proper' review, all I really need to do is post thoughts similar to those I've had in conversation when recommending it.
This book is bang up to date with the latest features so even if you think you know a lot about Oracle, an in-depth treatment of features that you may not have worked with much yet could prove very useful. Oh, and it's not like most of those New Features books, which seem like a regurgitation of the New Features manual. It's obvious that Chris has dug around in these features for many weeks and months to try to understand how they work.
It's not all new features and it reminds me a little of Tom Kyte's first book in having a long first section which covers fundamentals very clearly, followed by chapters covering a massive range of different topics that you can dip in and out of as you need to.
It's both practical and rigorous. Some of my favourite Oracle books are the most rigorous but although their content is important for understanding Oracle, they don't always help you do your job better tomorrow. I can virtually guarantee that there will be something in this book that will help you do your job better tomorrow (if you stay up tonight reading it ) I've read lots of book descriptions that suggested this, but few that have delivered.
It will become a valued reference. I keep hold of very few Oracle books. There are several reasons for that and some would no doubt send book romantics over the edge but the fact is that I find most of them pretty much useless on first reading and so they become waste paper on a bookshelf. I tend to give them away or if they're really bad ... (I'd better shut up there and consider the book romantics...) The few I keep are never going anywhere else, though, because I know I'll probably need to come back to them one day and re-read a section. This is one of those books (and, really, we're talking about a total of less than a dozen books in this domain).
It's written as much from the perspective of the Developer as the DBA. In fact it's written from that dual perspective that most people realise is where we all need to be. Of all the Oracle books I love, this and Tom Kyte's various books seem the most developer-focussed.
Like all of the best books, there are plenty of examples with supplied scripts so you can play around with things yourself.
It doesn't contain a lot of Maths. (Note - this is why some books get reviews before others, Toon, because they're easier for me to read )
Weaknesses (because I always have to find some)
Christian's a smart chap and sometimes I detected a little conflict in where he has drawn the boundaries of how deep he should go. There are times when I thought it was a little too deep for the audience and times when I thought it wasn't deep enough. But that stuff's incredibly difficult to judge and I'm just trying to find stuff to comment on
The self-contained chapters are great to dip into but if you're reading it cover-to-cover then you'll keep reading a phrase something like 'although you could do this in the GUI, if you understand how to do it from the command line, the GUI is easy, so I won't talk much about it'. The good side of this is that you can read chapters in isolation and I expect many will, me included. The bad side is it could have been edited a little more tightly to save me reading the same line what felt like many times. I don't have the book in front of me, so the quote will be wrong, but that particular line is still stuck in my head and I'm trying to get rid of it!
I can't think of any Oracle developers or DBAs I know who this book wouldn't be very suitable for and would learn at least a few things from, expert or not, and I always try to recommend it during any classes I teach as a source for further study.
Tracked: Jul 24, 17:41
I've been considering getting this book since it was released. In fact I was just discussing it at work last week when a colleague was talking about getting Jonathan's book. This review might have just sealed the deal for me (or Christian - depending on your point of view!).
But... Are you brave enough to publish your dozen or so 'keepers'?
Well it's difficult without my book case in front of me, so I'm bound to miss some, but a few off the top of my head :-
Practical Oracle 8i and CBO Fundamentals - Jonathan Lewis
The Oracle Press Wait Interface book - (multiple authors and a long title)
Optimizing Oracle Performance - Cary Millsap and Jeff Holt
Tom Kyte's Expert One-on-One. Still have to read some the most recent one!
The Steve Adams O'Reilly book. Don't read it often, but sometimes there's the odd useful thing in there.
The Oracle Press ASM book. Not because it's the greatest book ever written (although I like it) but because I have to dip in and out of ADM depending on the customer site, so might need a refresher.
Professional Apache. Good for spiders.
I'm sure I'll add some more later.
Of course - Chris Date's Database in Depth ...
Courtesy of something I should update more often
Take your time Doug.
The book is timeless, 99% still applies when we play around with Oracle20X.
Christian Antognini's book is indeed a must have. I would add to your excellent list "Oracle Performance Firefighting" by Craig Shallamer (Orapub) which has just which has just been released and offers a really impressive content regarding Oracle Performance troubleshooting and internals.
Thanks for the suggestion, I'll probably add it to my growing 'to be read' pile!
I tried to get "Oracle Performance Firefighting " from Barnes & Noble / few other retailers . They do not carry this title .
Did you get this book from OraPub / any other retailer ?
( I like to read few pages before buying it )
I really have no idea, did you consider contacting OraPub directly? I'm sure they could answer your question