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Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner, 1st edition

  • Fabian Pascal

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (May 23rd 2000) - Copyright © 2000

1st edition

Practical Issues in Database Management: A Reference for the Thinking Practitioner

ISBN-13: 9780201485554

Includes: Paperback
Free delivery

What's included

  • Paperback

    You'll get a bound printed text.


"The aim of this book is to provide a correct and up-to-date understanding of--and appreciation for--the practical aspects of crucial, yet little-understood core database issues. It identifies and clarifies certain fundamental concepts, principles, and techniques that persistently trouble users and vendors. It assesses the treatment of those issues in SQL (both the standard and commercial implementations) and gives specific guidance and practical advice on how to deal with them (and how not to). It covers, carefully and thoroughly, several particularly tricky and misunderstood topics--complex data types, missing information, data hierarchies, quota queries, and so forth--in a succinct and concise form for the busy database practitioner."

--C. J. Date

Three decades ago relational technology put the database field on a sound, scientific foundation for the first time. But the database industry--vendors, users, experts, and the trade press--has essentially flouted its principles, focusing instead on a "cookbook," product-specific approach, devoid of conceptual understanding. The consequences have been costly: DBMS products, databases, development tools, and applications don't always perform up to expectation or potential, and they can encourage the wrong questions and provide the wrong answers.

Practical Issues in Database Management is an attempt to remedy this intractable and costly situation. Written for database designers, programmers, managers, and users, it addresses the core, commonly recurring issues and problems that practitioners--even the most experienced database professionals--seem to systematically misunderstand, namely:

  • Unstructured data and complex data types
  • Business rules and integrity enforcement
  • Keys
  • Duplicates
  • Normalization and denormalization
  • Entity subtypes and supertypes
  • Data hierarchies and recursive queries
  • Redundancy
  • Quota queries
  • Missing information
Fabian Pascal examines these critical topics thoroughly, comparing the severe costs of mishandling them to the practical benefits of implementing the correct solutions. With an emphasis on both principles and practice, Practical Issues in Database Management employs real-world examples to provide an assessment of current technology--SQL and the DBMS products based on it--and, whenever possible, offers concrete recommendations and workarounds. With the insight provided by Practical Issues in Database Management, you will be in a far better position to evaluate specific products, exploit their capabilities, and avoid their deficiencies.


Table of contents



1. Careful What You Wish For: Data Types and Complexity.

The Issue.


“Simple” Types.

System-Defined Types.

User-Defined Types.

Data Type Support.

On Type “Atomicity.”

“Complex” Types.

Practical Implications.

Relational Domains versus Object Classes.

Database Design.

Relational Structure versus Object Manipulation.

DBMS Implementation.


“Universal” DBMSs.

Conclusion and Recommendations.

Appendix 1A: Possible Representations for Image Types.

Appendix 1B: Graphics File Follies.

Appendix 1C: Biometric Tools Ready to Take Off.

Appendix 1D: Search Engine Failures.

Appendix 1E: “Complex” Types and Operators: An Internet Illustration.

Appendix 1F: Java and Database Synergy.

2. The Rule of Rules: Integrity.

The Issue.


Business Rules.

Integrity Constraints.

Domain Constraints.

Column Constraints.

Table Constraints.

Database Constraints.

Database Correctness.

Base versus Derived Constraints.

Integrity Enforcement.

Integrity Rules.

DBMS Support.

Practical Implications.

SQL and Integrity.

Domain Rules.

Column Rules.

Table and Database Rules.

Procedural Support.

Conclusion and Recommendations.

Appendix 2A: A Note on SQL's OVERLAPS Operator.

3. A Matter of Identity: Keys.

The Issue.


Simple versus Composite Keys.

Natural versus Surrogate Keys.

Candidate versus Primary Keys.

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