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Some general DBMS :( related questions....

Expert 100+
P: 884

My new semester has started and I have a subject named DBMS (Database Management System). This is the first time I'm studying databases and so I'm not feeling very enthusiastic about databases (partly because I already had learnt C/C++ and I feel that programming is a lot easier that DBMS). Nevertheless, I must learn at least one DBMS as it is part of my college course. I'm confused and I want some suggestions:

Que-1: There are a lot of DBMSs out there (e.g. MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL). Although I don't exactly know the DBMS that will be part of my present semester, but it will be either SQL or Oracle. Which one is the best DBMS? Why do you prefer a particular DBMS?
Note: I don't love Microsoft and OS specific products. I will prefer using some free DBMS.

Que-2: I am an absolute idiot ;) when it comes to databases and DBMS. Which book will you prefer for the same?

Que-3: @MODS: Where should I post questions related to databases (and not some specific DBMS)?

Que-4: If you are asked to compare difficulty level of programming and learning a DBMS, which one would be lesser difficult (and logical)?

Jan 28 '09 #1
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8 Replies

Expert 10K+
P: 11,448
I like 'Mimer' a lot; it has a very conforming SQL engine and runs on about everything that can say 'beep'. The bloody thing even runs on a phone. It has all sorts of interfaces (C/C++ Java etc). Give it a try.

Read "Relational DBMSes" by one of the inventors of all this relational algebra misery: Mr. Date.

kind regards,


ps. you can download a full developer version at
Jan 28 '09 #2

Expert 100+
P: 884
Do you mean this book?

Thanks for your advice...
Jan 28 '09 #3

Expert 10K+
P: 11,448
It has the word 'relational' in the title if I remember well (I'm not near my pile of books right now). I bet Google can help you here. There were (or are?) two volumes of the book; the second one dealt with the relational model.

kind regards,


edit: I googled a bit and I think this is a fine book to start with.
Jan 28 '09 #4

Expert 5K+
P: 5,058

I think your DBMS vs programming question isn't really valid. They are two very different things, which are usually meant to work in cooperation.

DBMSs are used to store data, and sure, you can do a certain amount of programming on them, but that is limited at best.
Programming languages are meant to process data, which usually comes either directly from the user, or from some sort of a database.

I would consider it a very very huge gap in a programmer's skill set if (s)he did not at least know the basics of using a database, because at some point, we are all likely to be using a database.

As to which DBMS you should choose.
I recommend trying MySQL. It's free and it's very well documented (you could even check out the source code if the documentation failed you ;P).
A perfect place to start, even if you choose to use another server down the road.

For the basic queries you are likely to use at first, it won't really matter. All the major SQL servers confirm to the standard, at least up to the point where the basic queries will work on them all.

When I first learned SQL, my teacher had us use M$ SQL Server 2003, but I was using Linux so I just used MySQL. The difference was so little that even tho I did everything on MySQL, I got a perfect score for all my projects when they were tested on SQL Server 2003.

Although, getting to know the differences between the data types would be a good idea ;)
Jan 29 '09 #5

P: 392
I first learned MYSQL and PHP. After a while, I went into MS SQL and .Net. MYSQL and SQL are almost the same so I have no problem with that.

You don't need to read the whole book. I suggest read the basics. Start creating programs and apply it. Start with the basic processes like add, edit and delete in your programs. Then do complicated processes one step at a time. You'll notice that you are learning and at the same time enjoying since you are creating your own programs.
Jan 29 '09 #6

Expert 100+
P: 542
You should start learning first...It is interesting subject...quite logical if it comes to some concepts like concurrency management..
More precisely ACID properties...
If you feel any confidence over DBMS later, I suggest to start writing some UDF for mysql..

Jan 29 '09 #7

Expert Mod 15k+
P: 31,494
That should be Misc Questions Ambr (not café). I'll move this one for you.

For future questions of this type (general DB), if you find that they don't get noticed, you can use the Help thread to attract some expert attention. Please use this sparingly, but as an expert yourself, there's no reason why you should not have the benefits of being a member of the team.
Jan 29 '09 #8

Expert 100+
P: 884

My internet connection was down from last few days and so I could not reply back. But, now my connection is up and running again :)

Thank you all for your valuable responses. I now get a feel that databases are not a lot boring as I thought previously.

@NeoPa: Thanks for moving this thread to 'Misc. Questions'. And, I will (try to ;) remember that I need to post such questions to Misc forum.

@JosAh: I have ordered the book that you linked in your last reply. It will take a few days for it to be delivered at my doorstep. And so, till then I'm reading to Introduction to Database Systems by the same author (i.e. C. J. Date) that I found out in my university library. After going through first chapter of this book, I feel that databases are not as un-intuitive as I thought. There is no doubt that books written by C. J. Date are best at explaining the basic concepts.

Thanks to everyone once again...

Feb 3 '09 #9

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