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RE: Database in depth, by C.J. Date

From: Lex de Haan <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 09:38:41 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <20050613181015.3BB5942E9@node42.naturaljoin.lan>

If you really like mathematics, like Mladen and me, Chris' book is indeed rather "thin". I agree.
I think it is incredible to write a good book about this stuff in only 240 pages
-- then you have to make some tough decisions here and there. Also, don't forget
Chris wrote this book with a one day seminar in mind... For more formal stuff, you might want to read his thicker books, like his wellknown "Introduction to Database Systems" or (even better) the "Third Manifesto", as a foundation for future database systems.

Then, for the real fanatics, I would recommend "Foundations of Semantic Databases" by Bert de Brock, published by Prentice Hall (ISBN 0-13-327099-8). That's the real stuff, without any compromises. I love it. I only know a few people who share that opinion with me, by the way.

kind regards,


Steve Adams Seminar

-----Original Message-----

From: [] On Behalf Of Mladen Gogala
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 20:00
To: Oracle-L (E-mail)
Subject: Database in depth, by C.J. Date

I owe this post to Mr. Lex de Haan with whom I was bantering when he recommended the book.
The book should be entitled "An Introduction to Relational Theory for an obnoxious know-it-all Oracle DBA".
Book is written in a very clear and easy to understand fashion. It gives a general overview of the theory and states the principles, rules and goals. That is all very nice. My only objection to the book is that it failed to establish connection to the strictly mathematical foundations of the theory. Relation is, strictly speaking, a subset of Cartesian product - any subset is a relation. Mathematics knows many relation types:
symmetric,transitive,antisymmetric, relation of ordering and alike. None of them are mentioned. Union and intersect are set theory operations. None of the set theory was mentioned in its strict, formal form which I find unacceptable when explaining a theory that is essentially a part of mathematical set theory. Axiom of choice, Zorn's lemma and well-ordering theorem are not necessary to mention and explain in a book for a "database professional" but, in my opinion, the author did shy away too much from using mathematics. Cary Millsap did not make such mistake.
I don't want to keep this esteemed audience under suspense any longer: yes, I am a mathematician, with college
in mathematics. The book is good, but it needs more math.


Mladen Gogala
Oracle DBA
Ext. 121


-- Received on Tue Jun 14 2005 - 10:42:01 CDT

Original text of this message