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THE database book? books for Statice users

>From:  attila@bellcore.com


> A few weeks ago I asked the question, "What is 'The Database Book'?"
> For the benefit of SLUG readers, here are the replies (unfortunately, I
> never did find out a reference for Statice):
>     "An Introduction to Database Systems" by C. J. Date.  I think Date is
>     generally considered the Knuth of databases.


>     I'd say that if there is one, it's Ullman's _Principles of Database and
>     Knowledge-Base Systems_.  But then I'd say Hopcroft and Ullman is "the"
>     formal languages and automata book, and that Aho, Sethi, and Ullman (a.k.a.
>     the [Red] Dragon Book) is "the" compiler book, so I may be predjudiced.


*** *** ***
Robert D. Pfeiffer was looking for a database book recently.  Only two
books were suggested, so here is a few more.  

Most of the books about databases fall into two categories: 1) using
databases, viz. design and implementation of applications, and 2)
building database systems.  I think the person wanted a category 1 book. 

Undergraduate curriculum focuses on RELATIONAL databases which was a
data model original proposed in 1969 and 1970 by Ted Codd.  It uses a
calculus for accessing tuples rather like prolog.  It is NOT object

There are 3 other data models about: HIERARCHICAL, NETWORK, and
SEMANTIC.  Semantic, includes Entity-relational, hypergraph, binary,
functional and object oriented models.  Many people in the field now use
the term "object-oriented" and "semantic" as synonyms.  While strictly
speaking this is incorrect, semantic data models do have a strong object
oriented flavor to them.

Relational data model:  

C.J. Date is OK.  See also Mike Stonebraker's "Readings in Database
Systems" ISBN 0-934613-65-6.  The relational stuff won't help you with
Statice and it isn't very helpful for database design, but you need it
to get a CS degree.

Hierarchical, Network data models:
There hasn't been a book published on them in years.  


David Kroenke's "database processing" Second Edition (ISBN
0-574-21320-1) is a very fine general introduction for the novice.  I
lent my copy to a colleague, he read it carefully and designed a little
Statice db afterwards.  While it is not an oo-db book, it talks about
E-R and Semantic concepts.  The "Sally's Lemonade Stand" example is
worked out in several versions; you can really learn a lot from it if
you like examples.

At the other end, Peter Gray's "Logic Algebra, and Databases" (ISBN
0-85312-709-3, or 0-85312-803-0 in paper) is a marvelously brief,
precise, yet very comprehensive book.  Not as theoretical as it seems,
but sophisticated.  If you are theoretically inclined, it is a must
read.  It describes the theory of functional data models upon which
Daplex, thus Statice is based.  (see below) 

For performance tuning, and general db see also: Gio Wiederhold's
"Database Design" (ISBN 0-07-07013206). Very solid academic work. 

None of the above are recent works, but they are some of the better
books published during the '80s.  Ullman's Principles of Database and
Knowledge-Base Systems is more recent, I don't find the book really


My recent find is J. Patrick Thompson's "Data with Semantics; data
models and data management" (ISBN 0-442-31838-3).  It is an OUTSTANDING
work on semantic database concepts design and implementation.  Thompson
is a real funny guy; it is the first db book I ever read that made me
laugh.  Although the examples are oriented towards SIM (Semantic Info
Manager from Unisys) it is the closest thing to Statice. (see below) 

Statice is based on Daplex by David Shipmann.  Don't miss the reprint of
this classic article in Stonbraker, pg 388 ff.  Daplex was extended by
Hammer and McLeod to the system SDM.  It is this model (SDM) which was
implemented as SIM by Thompson and his colleagues at Unisys.

See also Won Kim & Fred Lochovsky "Object-oriented Concepts, Databases
and Applications" ISBN 0-201014410-7.  Part 3 is a pretty good summary
of current oo-dbms trends.  It describes Kim's own Orion and Dave
Maier's GemStone which is persistent SmallTalk.

For research issues see the "1986 International Workshop on
Object-oriented database Systems" IEEE Comp Soc. # 734, ACM Order #
472861, ISBN 0-8186-0734-3.

So what is the best book?  Well, there isn't ONE, but if someone is
starting in the field, I would start with Kroenke, Wiederhold or Gray to
get a solid foundation.  Once you get a feel for the stuff, read

There are hundreds of books in this field.  The foregoing is personal
opinion based on my limited collection.  

Leslie Walko
Database and Systems Research Group
Bell Communications Research