Software development, .Net, SQL Server, TDD, Agile, Community and other Odds and Sods
Mitch Wheat has been working as a professional programmer since 1984, graduating with a honours degree in Mathematics from Warwick University, UK in 1986. He moved to Perth in 1995, having worked in software houses in London and Rotterdam. He has worked in the areas of mining, electronics, research, defence, financial, GIS, telecommunications, engineering, and information management. Mitch has worked mainly with Microsoft technologies (since Windows version 3.0) but has also used UNIX. He holds the following Microsoft certifications: MCPD (Web and Windows) using C# and SQL Server MCITP (Admin and Developer). His preferred development environment is C#, .Net Framework and SQL Server. Mitch has worked as an independent consultant for the last 10 years, and is currently involved with helping teams improve their Software Development Life Cycle. His areas of special interest lie in performance tuning
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Applied Mathematics for Database Professionals. Lex de Haan and Toon Koppelaars. Apress (Book Review)
Writing a book is no easy task. Completing a book when your co-author and friend passes away early in the process, must be a monumental task, this is what Toon Koppelaars achieved with this work.
I ordered this book expecting it to contain examples of using statistics, probability and data mining algorithms as applied to databases. In retrospect, I am not sure why I made that assumption. It is actually about formally specifying database designs using logic and set theory. This book is reviewed and endorsed by C. J. Date and features a foreword by him, which would be high praise for any book on the subject of databases.
It is split into 3 parts and 12 chapters as follows:
If you’ve studied mathematics (or a tertiary subject with a mathematics element to it) you will most probably be familiar with the sections on set theory and logic. If you have not then they provide an as excellent introduction to these topics that you are likely to find anywhere.
This book makes the following claims and I have made comments against each one:
“This book will help you”:
I would be the first to agree that a good, basic mathematics grounding is desirable if you want to confidently design databases that scale well and are modelled correctly.
The mathematics that you learn in this book will certainly put you above the level of understanding of most database professionals. But I am not convinced that alone will enable you to better understand the technology and be able to apply it more effectively. It will help you to avoid data anomalies like redundancy and inconsistency, which are not uncommon problems in the world of databases!
On the whole, I enjoyed reading this book, but I’m not sure if I learnt anything I could immediately put to use when designing and refactoring databases. I did not put a great deal of effort into learning and understanding the formal database specification language described in this book purely because I could not see an immediate benefit when balanced against the effort required to learn a new notation, and I may well have overlooked something crucial that would indeed enable me to create better database designs.
Disclosure: The Perth .NET User Group is a member of the Apress User Group Program. Apress make copies of their books available for user group libraries, and the copy reviewed here was kindly donated by them.
MSN, Email: mitch døt wheat at gmail.com