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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    1

    Thumbs up Wish list for database book

    After 10+ years of teaching databases at the graduate, undergraduate, and professional level, I am contemplating the idea of writing my own textbook.

    I am quite disappointed by the existing textbooks: they are massive, sprawling, and go beyond their topic. I am interested in producing a 180-220 pages textbook that will focus on the essential aspects of database design and deployment.

    I am a strong supporter of conceptual design. I believe that a good ERD is the best foundation for any database application and I want to start from there.

    I would be interested in and grateful for receiving suggestions as to what you would like to see in a decent textbook for databases. What are the important things that college students should learn about?

    For example, many textbooks talk about multi-valued dependencies (MVDs) and how to correct them. But they do not discuss their evolutionary context, i.e., how does a schema develop MVDs in the first place! Can an ERD-generated schema exhibit MVDs? (I say, no). Thus in order to avoid MVDs in the first place, it's important to learn how to conceptually design a database.

    I would like to keep the textbook vendor-agnostic. I am not planning on discussing any particular implementation of SQL -- product manuals do a far better job at that anyway. The principles, however remain the same, and that's what I want to focus on.

    Therefore I am contemplating a book that will balance between design and deployment principles, but with a pragmatic approach: e.g., when it comes to query optimization, how much trust to put in an SQL engine's built-in optimizer and how much legwork you need to do? Should we bother talking about 1NF, 2NF, 3NF, even BCNF if a database is robustly normalized at the ERD level? Or, in other words, how does normalization reflect on conceptual modeling?

    I will welcome any suggestions, criticism, pointers to decent material, and anecdotal evidence and stories that you may wish to share. Anything that I decide to use in any published textbook will be acknowledged properly.

    Thanks,
    leo.cs.uchicago.edu

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    12
    I have found all the books that I have found most useful are ones that show practical example. Multiple different questions and answers. Its the best way to learn.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    12,592
    Base upon our direct and extensive experience with students on this forum, your textbook should:
    Quote Originally Posted by Noob student
    Send me teh codez plz!
    ...should answer important technical questions such as:
    Quote Originally Posted by Noob student
    I has a database project. It must have normalizatrion. How to start?
    ...and should be short and concise, so as to:
    Quote Originally Posted by Noob student
    Plz anser rite away. Very urgent!
    ...and should be written by
    Quote Originally Posted by Noob student
    Expurts only, plez!
    I assume you are already an expurt?
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    20,002
    Quote Originally Posted by lgreco
    For example, many textbooks talk about multi-valued dependencies (MVDs) and how to correct them. But they do not discuss their evolutionary context, i.e., how does a schema develop MVDs in the first place!
    i've love to see an explanation of MVDs in english, not professor-speak
    Quote Originally Posted by lgreco
    Should we bother talking about 1NF, 2NF, 3NF, even BCNF if a database is robustly normalized at the ERD level? Or, in other words, how does normalization reflect on conceptual modeling?
    do this one in english too please

    i do realize the above requests sound almost as silly as blindman's (you need to have seen the recent spate of student postings here in order to appreciate his post)

    but i am sincere -- i can show you a dozen examples of sites on the web which purport to explain normalization but fail to warn you that you need to know the secret language first
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
    Buy my SitePoint book: Simply SQL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    12,592
    Normalization begins with conceptual modeling.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

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