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978-1-56592-674-5 / 1565926749

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About the book:

Oracle PL/SQL Developer's Workbook is not a text book in the conventional sense; rather it is a collection of questions and answers aimed at anyone using Oracle's database querying language, PL/SQL. It is designed to provide an "active learning experience" that will galvanise users into a frenzy of constructive problem-solving, a somewhat different sensation from that of passive reading to increase knowledge.

The questions are divided into six categories: language fundamentals, data structures, database interaction, program construction, built-in functionality and lastly a miscellany of topics including tuning and using Java. Within each category, questions are given in beginner, intermediate and expert sections. The answers form the later, and larger, part of the book. Broadly speaking, the first questions in a section are more general ("What are the different kinds of loops available in PL/SQL?") with specific problems involving code presented later on. All code examples are available from O'Reilly's Web site, plus further examples too lengthy to include in the book.

The style is as informal, readable and idiosyncratic as in Feuerstein's other Oracle books, like Oracle PL/SQL Programming: Guide to Oracle 8i Features, for instance. His examples range from those that raise an issue (a cursor loop to display "CEOs who in 1998 received millions of dollars in stock and cash in exchange for selling off their company and laying off at least 1,000 employees") to those that raise a smile at the welcome break from the usual mundane examples (a special quest appearance of the seven dwarves in a variable array problem). Or, best of all, a question/answer that encapsulates the Feuerstein approach:

True or false? The SOUNDEX function is used by the FBI to identify potential terrorists during airport passport checks.
Answer: Hmm. I guess we'll never really know, now will we?
As anyone who has ever set an exam question will recognise, there is a huge amount of work in preparing a book like this. The extra effort that Feuerstein has put in to make it readable and engaging is a significant bonus for users and readers. Progress up the PL/SQL learning curve is a certainty if time--and, it has to be said, effort--is spent absorbing this book. --Mark Whitehorn

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