As regular readers of my blog know, periodically I take the time to review some of the more interesting data and technology books that I’ve been reading. Today’s post is one of those reviews.
First up, let’s take a look at Privacy and Big Data by Terence Craig and Mary E. Ludloff. Big Data is an omnipresent IT meme these days and it makes sense to learn more about the topic. This book, by Craig and Ludloff, is not an introductory text on Big Data, but instead inspects the impact of Big Data on data privacy. The book is an easy read and not very long (less than 100 pages), but it offers a plethora of useful coverage on the impact of Big Data on privacy, covering the laws (mostly in Europe and the USA), issues, and trends. The book offers worthwhile knowledge about Big Data and privacy issues and is well worth the time to read for anyone concerned about either topic, including DBAs, programmers, managers, and anyone who shares their information on the Web.
Next we have two more traditionally database-focused books, specifically on Microsoft SQL Server 2012. The first one, Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases: Training Kit by Orin Thomas, Peter Ward, and Bob Taylor, is designed to help you pass the Microsoft 70-462 Certification Exam. The authors are all highly-regarded Microsoft SQL Server technicians and/or MVPs. If you are looking for a guide to certification or for help on Microsoft SQL Server database administration, then this book will definitely be of help to you.
I have also been reading Microsoft SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals by Itzik Ben-Gan. Ben-Gan is an instructor and author of several advanced T-SQL courses, as well as a well-known T-SQL expert. This book offers a wealth of useful information for the T-SQL programmer, with coverage not only of the syntax but also practical examples and explanations, as well as tying the information back to the foundational level (relational theory and set theory). Itzik’s book is a welcome addition to my bookshelf and I can highly recommend it. If you use T-SQL on the job in any way the information in this book will make you a better user of T-SQL.
Another DBMS that I use is FileMaker Pro, but the product does not come with a manual. Luckily, though, I have been able to procure FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual by Susan Prosser & Stuart Gripman. After reading FileMaker Pro 12: The Missing Manual I will be able to accomplish much more with FileMaker than I have in the past. The book excels at explaining the details of FileMaker in a clear and concise manner. The book works well for me, as a database professional, but it should also work for a database novice. If you use FileMaker on the job, or want to learn how to use it to manage your data, then this book is well worth the cost. Spanning 920 pages, this “Missing Manual” is large and somewhat heavy. But it is also comprehensive and well-organized, with a useful index and table of contents. From the Getting Started chapters at the beginning of the book, through the Building a Database, Development, and Security chapters that follow, this truly is the “book that should have been in the box.”
As an aside, I am a big fan of The Missing Manual series from O’Reilly. These books generally provide comprehensive coverage of software (or a topic) that is not adequately covered elsewhere. Books in this series that I have enjoyed and used include Creating a Website: The Missing Manual and Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual.
As database professionals we need to know about much more than just the DBMS software. The DBMS runs on an operating system, and increasingly that operating system is some form of Linux. With that in mind I’ve been reading Ubuntu Made Easy by Rickford Grant with Phil Bull. This book takes a bit of a novel approach in that it is project-based. That means it takes a step-by-step approach walking the reader through the required actions to accomplish goals, such as installation, administration, etc. So the book works well for novice users, but might not work as well for advanced users familiar with many of the steps. At any rate, Ubuntu Made Easy is a good book that uses a different and refreshing approach to what could otherwise have been very dry material.
The final book I’d like to discuss is V. Anton Spraul’s Think Like a Programmer. With a title like that you might be thinking that this is an odd book to be covered in an article/review of database books, but not really… and I’ll tell you why. Many of the qualities required to think like a programmer are also useful for thinking like a DBA. Spraul explains the advantages of breaking down problems into smaller components to make them easier to resolve… and that is a useful tactic for most IT technicians. The book also promotes and explains organization techniques, how to make code reusable, and other helpful development techniques. The examples in the book are in C++, but the book is universally practical regardless of the programming language you use. And one final call out to the DBAs who have continued reading this far: wouldn’t you like to learn more about how those programmers (who constantly bug you for advice) think? I thought so… buy this book.