Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bought "Expert Oracle" by Tom Kyte

On my way home this evening I popped into Waterstone's and bought Tom Kyte's book "Expert Oracle: Signature Edition". Unusually the off-the-shelf price (47.99ukp) was the same as that listed by Amazon.

Obviously I haven't had a chance to read it yet, just flicked through and read a few passages. What I have read looks really good, the chapter on materialized views looks particularly interesting.

I do have one criticism though, I suspect it's more a criticism of Apress (the publisher) than of Tom. There is very little white space on the pages, the space around the text to the edge of the page is perhaps one centimetre wide all round. Psychologists will tell you that whitespace is important in textbooks to reduce confusion by the reader. I have a more prosaic arguement, I like to make notes. Plenty of white space, especially between the outer edge of the page and the text, is great for making 'notes in the margin' (and the gutter for that matter). That's where the phrase 'notes in the margin' comes from. A note could be a comment, an aide memoir, a URL to a web site that covers the material in more depth, a MetaLink Note number or a reference to another book. Just something that expands on the information or puts a slightly different view that makes it easier to understand.

Is suspect that in the case of this book the lack of margin and gutter space can be explained by the fact that it is nearly 1300 pages long. Increasing the white space to give even just a 20% reduction in text per page would take it up to 1500+ pages, making it more expensive and unwieldy.

United Kingdom Oracle User Group conference 2005 Over

With a final presentation from Connor McDonald (on running Oracle at home), apparently the latest he has ever stayed on the last day of conference, the UKOUG 2005 conference and exhibition drew to a close yesterday.

I found this year's conference very useful, lots of excellent presentations. I learned a lot, from the comments I was hearing, I wasn't the only one.

One thing I've noticed over the 4 years I've been is that the exhibition part has been getting les and less useful to me as it has become more and more dominated by Applications companies. With the recent aquisitions by Oracle I cannot see it getting any better, the technologies (database &c) seem to be taking a back seat.