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Review: Douglas' PostgreSQL book

P: n/a
You readers in comp.lang.php may use PostgreSQL, so you might find
this review useful...

ISBN 0-7357-1257-3 "PostgreSQL", Copyright 2003 by Sams Publishing.
Authors: Korry Douglas, Susan Douglas. Subtitle: "A comprehensive
guide to building, programming, and administering PostgreSQL

I am not completely happy with the book. It's a thick book, but much
of the bulk is for examples relating to using various languages to
access PostgreSQL. You really don't need that, as a PHP programmer.
For using PHP to access PostgreSQL, all I really needed to do was (a)
look at a couple of the many examples on how PHP accesses MySQL from
various websites; (b) assimilate knowledge from (a) to the PostgreSQL
API posted on, carefully reading the comments in the online
manual on regarding this or that nuance with PostgreSQL; and
(c) try small tests until you just "get it". The one main thing that
got me over the difficulties of PostgreSQL was just figuring out how
to mess around with pg_hba.conf and postgresql.conf. Unlike MySQL,
PostgreSQL is completely locked down after it is installed,
prohibitting your use of it until you unlock it.

The book has its strengths, however, and that strength was in the
extensive discusson on PL/pgSQL. Sort of along that vein, the book was
weak on its coverage of cursors and triggers, but at least it covered

Here are some areas I wished it covered more:

* joins -- started off good, but then didn't give more examples and
* nuances of PostgreSQL versus Oracle and MS SQL Server
* automatic locking -- the book spent only 1 page going over pgSQL's
automatic locking!
* how to manually lock a record or set of records so that no one can
edit it/them, but all can read it/them, while it/they is/are in use
* the same information I can get from the online help from pgAdminIII,
but extrapolated even more with many thoughtful notes from the

So, all and all, I recommend that you get the book, anyway, and then
go add another exhaustive PostgreSQL book to your library too. That
way, you can fill in the holes, hopefully.
Jul 17 '05 #1
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