As Martin I had a pleasure to “unofficially” review Jonathan’s latest book, Oracle Core. It was my first experience in the area of printed content. If you want to know little bit more how the process went, my opinion on the book and what to expect from it – I’ll try to cover these points here.
Well, it wasn’t planned. After reading book announcement, I just thought “why not?”, wrote an e-mail to Jonathan and offered my feedback. He didn’t mind to add me as a second “author’s reviewer”. What does it mean – I had to read the text and ask questions that are crossing my mind as I read the book: what’s not described well enough, what could be improved and possibly how. Sounds not too difficult. And honestly I think anyone can do this pretty easily if he/she has spare time, fundamental understanding of Oracle database Concepts, medium-level knowledge of English, likes to learn, can put different things together and spot “anomalies” in a technical text. By “anomaly” I mean something that either doesn’t sound right or something that is missing in a sequence of logically connected statements. If you read and comment a blog on a subject – that is, I think, more or less the same thing, except that average “blog post” (a chapter) approximately ten times bigger. In fact I’d say the book follows the same style Jonathan uses in his blog. And this is very good /me thinks. It made reading easy and approach is familiar to me and very often I had a feeling that I know what will be discussed in the next sentence or paragraph and how it will be presented. Maybe it’s because most topics that are in the book are also covered in the blog, or maybe something else – I don’t know.
Although I had to read a book as a reader, I inevitably found technical concerns during reading. Right now looking at the comments I’ve made I realize that I can’t fully understand all of them :) which means I’ll have to re-read final version. Briefly scrolling through the book it looks like vast majority of comments have been taken into account – and I’m glad to see it, even though not all corrections made it to final version.
So I read book draft with speed of around one chapter per one or two weeks, and it took three months or so to go through the whole book. I read each chapter one time only. Most of the book went pretty well this way and I simply didn’t need to read material again, although some paragraphs took me several attempts before I understood what Jonathan wanted to express. Usually it was one big sentence which beginning was hard to remember at its end. In this case, of course, I left a comment that statement is too long or not clear. Total number of such statements was not high, I think it was less than one per chapter. Most my comments were about missing or, on the contrary, too many words and slight corrections here and there. Biggest number of comments was 33 and it was for the hardest chapter in my opinion, Chapter 2 Redo and Undo; on average it was 16 comments (for 8 chapters plus Glossary). By the way, Apress site for some reason shows the book has 9 chapters, although there’re just 8 and Glossary.
Short comments on the book:
What’s in total? The book is simply one of a kind. Within 250 (!) pages you’ll find incredible view how Oracle works on the low-level. You’ll not find something similar anywhere, so if you are still in doubt to buy or not to buy the book I strongly suggest you to buy a copy. If you missed Happy Cyber Monday, you can buy either Amazon Kindle Edition for $19.59 or use promo code SNOW11 on the Apress site until December 25th and get 40% discount on any e-book, which means “Oracle Core” will cost you $16.79. Still great deal for great book, don’t miss it!