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 Book Review: The Oracle PL/SQL CD bookshelf v1.0
See Also: Dr.Bob's Programming Books for Delphi & C++Builder books co-authored by Bob Swart
The Oracle PL/SQL CD bookshelf v1.0
Steven Feuerstein, Bill Pribyl, Charles Dye, John Beresniewicz, Andrew Odewahn, Chip Dawes
seven electronic, one paper book

I will not review the separate books themselves, since these are already on the market for a couple of years, and there are a number of reviews on them already. Instead I will review this product (the CD). The CD contains the following books:

Furthermore you get a bonus book: Oracle PL/SQL Programming: Guide to Oracle 8i Features by Steven Feuerstein. This book is also included on the CD.

On the CD you will find the complete text (and images) of these books in HTML, which can be read with any browser. Six of these books were written by the same author (Steven Feuerstein), with the exception of the Oracle Web Applications: PL/SQL Developer's Introduction. The seven books combined result in an extensive reference "guide" for PL/SQL Programming (in case that wasn't clear from the title of the bookshelf). Apart from being reference guides, the books also contain helpful examples showing PL/SQL. For more detailed reviews of the individual books, you can check the feedback section of

When the CD application starts you get a main menu from which you can select the separate books. Selecting one of the books brings you to an index page from which you can either select an individual chapter of the book or from where you can go directly to the index of the book. The chapters in the book are divided into paragraphs which are organized in separate HTML pages (each between 2 and 4 printable pages). This makes the online reading of the book a bit tedious, since you have to click a lot in order to read through a chapter. Furthermore, there is no printable version of the books on the CD, so if you want a print-out you will need to print the pages one by one. Therefore I would not recommend this CD to someone who wants to read it like a normal book.

The search engine which is provided by JObjects however makes the CD very usable as a reference guide. You can either do a text search in one of the books, or a text search on all of the books. You can combine searches with AND and OR operators, and can search for documents containing the requested text, or for documents which do not contain the requested text. The results are given in a window and can be selected to go to the appriopriate document.

This search engine has one minor drawback though. It requires a Java 1.1.2 or higher compliant browser like Netscape 4.1 or Internet Explorer 4.5. This makes it a bit difficult for everyone who has disabled their Java support by default. In fact, you need to have a working browser on your machine to browse the CD itself, otherwise you will get an error when you insert the CD.
My suggestion to the makers of this CD would be to include a simple browser on the CD which does not interfere with any other browser on your machine, and use this as the default viewer for the books on this CD.

My conclusion is that this CD bookshelf is very useful, if you want to use it as a reference manual on PL/SQL. If on the other hand you want to learn how to use PL/SQL, or perhaps want to know about some specifics pertaining PL/SQL, I would suggest to buy one or two of these books since this would be cheaper anyway.

(Arjan Jansen)

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