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.

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