The Manga Guide to Databases
Publisher: No Starch Press
Released: January 2009
Pages: 224

Want to learn about databases without the tedium? With its unique combination of Japanese-style comics and serious educational content, The Manga Guide to Databases is just the book for you.

Princess Ruruna is stressed out. With the king and queen away, she has to manage the Kingdom of Kod's humongous fruit-selling empire. Overseas departments, scads of inventory, conflicting prices, and so many customers! It's all such a confusing mess. But a mysterious book and a helpful fairy promise to solve her organizational problems-with the practical magic of databases.

In The Manga Guide to Databases, Tico the fairy teaches the Princess how to simplify her data management. We follow along as they design a relational database, understand the entity-relationship model, perform basic database operations, and delve into more advanced topics. Once the Princess is familiar with transactions and basic SQL statements, she can keep her data timely and accurate for the entire kingdom. Finally, Tico explains ways to make the database more efficient and secure, and they discuss methods for concurrency and replication.

Examples and exercises (with answer keys) help you learn, and an appendix of frequently used SQL statements gives the tools you need to create and maintain full-featured databases.

(Of course, it wouldn't be a royal kingdom without some drama, so read on to find out who gets the girl-the arrogant prince or the humble servant.)

This EduManga book is a translation of a bestselling series in Japan, co-published with Ohmsha, Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan.

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No Starch PressThe Manga Guide to Databases
 
4.7

(based on 3 reviews)

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of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (3)
  • Helpful examples (3)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (3)
    • Student (3)

    Reviewed by 3 customers

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    4.0

    A Flight of Fancy into Database Design

    By Michael Larsen

    from San Bruno, CA

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Could Even Be More Basic

    Best Uses

    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about No Starch Press The Manga Guide to Databases:

    I'm already a fan of "The Manga Guide to" series, so I figured that "The Manga Guide to Databases" and their take databases would be in the same vein as their other titles (an accompanying storyline, an emphasis on practical topic coverage, and an emphasis on "kawaii").

    To meet that end, we are introduced to Princess Raruna, heir apparent to the Kingdom of Cod. We also meet her attendant, Cain, and a fairy named Tico that teaches them about databases… and anyone familiar with Manga has not batted an eye with that kind of a description (and sure, if you looked at the cover, you could probably have figured that out as well ;) ). For those not already familiar with Manga and their tropes, this might seem a bit strange, but go with it. Seriously.

    I can see some of you already thinking "OK, sure, I can see teaching about stars, or maybe even math using Manga, but databases? That's a bit of a stretch, isn't it?" Well, let's take a closer look.

    Chapter One introduces us to the Kindom of Kod's main export… fruit (yeah, you were thinking fish. Everyone thinks fish, but no, it's fruit). Through the bureaucratic and messy system that they have in place, the case is made for why a database is important in the first place, to reduce errors, keep track of important data, and to make sure that data isn't duplicated in appropriately or not updated when and where it needs to be. This chapter also sets the stage with the scenarios and back story to help define how the database will need to be set up and managed.

    Chapter Two takes the idea of a database further and discusses what relational databases are, and how they differ from other system such as hierarchical and networked databases. Fields and records are explained as vertical columns (attributes of a relationship) and records (individual collections of various attributes as relates to one given entity at a time). Tables hold these fields and records, and a variety of operations can be performed to both input and extract/format the data to be viewed.

    Chapter Three goes into the process of designing a database, starting with creating an entity-relationship (E-R) model, and establishing the types of relationship an entity can have (one to one, one to many, many to many). From there, a table is designed, and by examining the relationships, we can see where data is duplicated. We can divide the big table into smaller, interrelated tables in a process called normalization. The concept of both primary and foreign keys are also introduced.

    Chapter Four introduces us to the Structured Query Language, or SQL. SQL allows users to perform functions that allow them to define, operate, and control data. SELECT statement allow users to select specific fields to display and show values of those fields. The WHERE statement allows users to specify conditions as to what records are displayed. INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements let users insert, update and delete data. CREATE TABLE lets a user create a new table, where DROP table lets a user remove (drop) an existing table.

    Chapter Five focuses on how to operate a database, including how to set user privileges for a database, how to use locking and ensures consistency with multiple users, setting up indexes to perform faster searches, examining transactions and how they can be "rolled forward or rolled back", and options for disaster recovery and database repair capabilities.

    Chapter Six shows us how the proliferation of databases affects everyday things that we do, and that we are likely dealing with them in areas we otherwise would not consider (every site that this book review will appear on has a database to store them, and that's at the simplest level. The chapter also shows us examples of distributed databases, database partitioning, two-phase commits, database replication and the use of stored procedures and triggers to perform commonly repeated tasks.

    The book ends with a short Appendix with a summary of the most commonly used SQL commands (which would probably make for a nice little project for a dynamic allocation of commands for a web site example page.

    Bottom Line:

    If you are an old hand at using databases in general and SQL commands in particular, there's probably not a whole lot of new material for you here. For those who are just getting into working with databases, this is a much more fun and straightforward way of teaching the ideas than I've seen, well, just about anywhere. Do note that this is not going to be the be all and end all of learning about databases, SQL queries or how to effectively design databases. It will, however, go a long way in giving those people who want to learn how to make or manage relational, SQL based databases a simple framework to hang future ideas and learning from.

     
    5.0

    Makes a dull topic fun!

    By Denise

    from Edinburgh, Scotland

    About Me Writer

    Pros

    • Easy to understand
    • Fun
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

    • Looks Messy On Ereader

    Best Uses

    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about No Starch Press The Manga Guide to Databases:

    I've recommended this book to dozens of people, all of whom enjoyed it as much as me!

    It taught me all the basics about databases, more than enough to pass that learning unit of my computer science course with flying colours.

    If you don't know anything about databases but need to learn about them, or even if you don't but are just curious, get this book. It's worth every penny.

    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Learning databases is a fun

    By Chetankumar Akarte

    from Navi Mumbai, India

    About Me Designer, Developer

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about No Starch Press The Manga Guide to Databases:

      Since my childhood Manga comics are my favorite, pictorial representation of Manga always help me to remember stories than regular text book stories. It always sticks me on the subject and learning just becomes the fun. It's the same fact for the book "the manga guide to databases" by O'Reilly Media and No Starch Press.

      This book covers from basics of databases with terms like Schema, key, moralization, transaction, basics of SQL to the advance topics like security, indexing, disaster recovery and replication. Good for me to learn database from the basic.

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