Practical PostgreSQL
By Joshua D. Drake, John C. Worsley
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: January 2002
Pages: 640

Arguably the most capable of all the open source databases, PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system first developed in 1977 by the University of California at Berkeley. In spite of its long history, this robust database suffers from a lack of easy-to-use documentation. Practical PostgreSQL fills that void with a fast-paced guide to installation, configuration, and usage.

This comprehensive new volume shows you how to compile PostgreSQL from source, create a database, and configure PostgreSQL to accept client-server connections. It also covers the many advanced features, such as transactions, versioning, replication, and referential integrity that enable developers and DBAs to use PostgreSQL for serious business applications. The thorough introduction to PostgreSQL's PL/pgSQL programming language explains how you can use this very useful but under-documented feature to develop stored procedures and triggers. The book includes a complete command reference, and database administrators will appreciate the chapters on user management, database maintenance, and backup & recovery. With Practical PostgreSQL, you will discover quickly why this open source database is such a great open source alternative to proprietary products from Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft.

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oreillyPractical PostgreSQL

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


an Aged Book

By Kiwi-Gee

from Auckland, New Zealand

About Me Maker, Sys Admin


  • Easy to understand


  • Too many errors

Best Uses

  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Practical PostgreSQL:

I came to this book after a decade away from databases in order to review stuff that I used to know.
To this end it worked well, and was a relatively easy read.

All of the reviews below are valid, but hey guys we have to remember that this book is 11 years old therefore cannot cover more recent technologies ( that is now a negative ) and it IS about the databse "back end" of modern use cases.
It should not be expected to cover new technologies.

With that said, I also have to rate it down on structure and production points.
There are many incidents where early in the book advanced features are used as examples of basic syntax use before the reader has been made aware of the feature, and therefore much of the meaning is lost.
Also - the proof reading is shocking - there are numerous cases where example results do not match the example code given. This is just shoddy proof reading, and adds difficulty for readers who are not expert in the subject matter.

My recommendation is to seek out a more up to date reference.


(5 of 6 customers found this review helpful)


Practical PostgreSQL Review

By Harold Wilson

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Practical PostgreSQL:

I have to slam this book as well.

Is was helpful with installation and initial configurations, but there was little or no explanation on how to interface with the database in Perl, C/C++, or any other standard language. It is as if the author never expectred you to use the database for a web-based application.

A poor index doesn't help.

The book suppports 7.1 and we are now on 7.4 and there is no "Second Edition" yet. I hope that a second edition (if there is one) os better organized.


(4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


Practical PostgreSQL Review

By Stephane Larochelle

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Practical PostgreSQL:

I mostly worked on Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL before finally making the jump to PostgreSQL. Clearly PostgreSQL is the most robust

database I have used so far. Of all the PostgreSQL I own (at last count that was 5), the O'reilly book "Pratical prostgreSQL" is the one I refer to

most often. I use this book almost every day and cannot tell you how often this

book has helped. The examples given are usually bang on to the specific needs that I encountered.

My only concern with the book is that it doesn't cover PHP, which seems to be a natural fit for the best and most reliable open source database.

(10 of 10 customers found this review helpful)


Practical PostgreSQL Review

By Heinz Hemken

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Practical PostgreSQL:

I am a dyed-in-the-wool O'Reilly book fan. At home and at work I have several dozen unix/linux, windows, database, and diverse programming language titles. They are readable, well-engineered books, by and large, and they have helped me immeasurably over the years, an ROI that I will probably never match elsewhere.

Except for Practical PostgreSQL.

My god, does this book suck. The most egregious of its defects, are its table of contents and its index. They are so brief and incomplete, that they alone render the book practically useless. We are not talking about an electronic document. which is searchable by hook or by crook. We are talking about a 600+ page physical book. To depend on exhaustive, page-by-page searches or serendipitous surprise to find things is crippling at best.

I will not dwell on any other issues, such as lack of coverage of the PostgreSQL Catalog, the lack of programming tips in C, C++, or perl, etc. I hope the next edition, if one is ever produced, will represent an overhaul of the book's coverage and a robust indexing project. I will wait to see the online user reviews befor buying it, though.

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