LJ Archive

The Linux Database

Sid Wentworth

Issue #40, August 1997

This volume covers a database that just happens to use Linux as the underlying platform, which makes it quite different from most Linux books.

  • Author: Fred Butzen & Dorothy Forbes

  • Publisher: MIS:Press

  • ISBN: 1-55828-491-5

  • Price: $39.95

  • Pages: 561 (plus CD)

  • Reviewer: Sid Wentworth

The Linux Database is the third in the Slackware series from MIS:Press.

This volume covers a database that just happens to use Linux as the underlying platform, which makes it quite different from most Linux books.

The first part of the book deals with relational databases and the second with programming a database application. Both sections contain good information from which much can be learned about databases. The word Linux does not appear within the first section.

There are three chapters in the first part. The first chapter introduces the relational modes, the second addresses the principles of database design and the final chapter introduces structured query language (SQL). The first chapter deals with theory and introduces the idea of a baseball team database whose development is followed throughout. Chapters 2 and 3 include examples of database issues which are easy for someone with a programming background to understand.

The first chapter in Part 2 introduces the architecture of database applications and presents the three-tier model: access, business logic and user interface.

The following chapters introduce the Open DataBase Connectivity (ODBC) call line interface, the Java DataBase Connectivity (JDBC) applications program interface and embedded SQL. The author explains how to actually access a database using each of these three methods. The focus is on interconnecting the database with a web page.

Chapter 6 develops the front ends using both HTML/CGI and Java. Examples of code and HTML increase at this point in the book. The final chapter presents what the authors call middleware, the semantic logic that controls the actions of the other two tiers.

Each chapter concludes with a summary and references to other sources of information, which are both current and the right choices. The CD includes a standard Slackware distribution of Linux plus four databases: Just Logic, mSQL, Postres95 and Ingres. The included version of Just Logic is “crippleware”--that is, it will process only 1000 commands. mSQL is free for non-commercial use, and information on registering for commercial use is included. Postgres and Ingres are both under the UCB (University of California Berkeley) copyright, which pretty much grants free use for any purpose.

The Linux Database is well written and fairly easy to read in spite of the fact that much of the material is rather technical in nature. If you are interested in relational databases, this book, the included CD, a PC and a lot of time can get you up to speed. If you aren't a student but have a professional interest in a relational database, the included tools and documentation will get you well on your way. Also, having four databases to work with will help you pick the right tool for your task.

Sid Wentworth lives in Uzbekistan, where he divides his time between UUCP hacking, raising yaks and visiting the tomb of his personal hero, Tamerlane the Great.

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