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Review of Pro .Net Oracle Programming

By: Adrian Allan
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Review OfPro .NET Oracle Programming

The reason I got this book is simple. I have spent a very large part of my development career firmly in the Microsoft stable. I know how to use Microsoft technolgies such as .net and I am very familiar with Sql Server. Unfortunately I had never been 'allowed' the opportunity to utilize Oracle as a backend data store. The company that I now find myself working for has only recently taken on .Net as a development 'tool' and use Oracle as the standard database.

Having scouted round the company and asked various internal personnel for some good literature (books/faq/articles) that would aid me in my jump start to .Net's integration with Oracle I found myself with various Oracle manuals and PS/SQL books .. which I found more use for as a paperweight than a guide! Luckily I then found a reference to Mark's book on the apress site from whom I have received a couple of other good books and a ordered a copy.

Needless to say that having now ran through the entire book (and examples) I now have the jump start that I was looking for. Thanks Mark.

In my opinion this is NOT a book intended for experts however. Most of the .Net related items such as DataSets, Adapters, et-al is covered at a base level of understanding. What it does do however is to show the reader some of the nuances of oracle and the ways in which these areas should be thought about (and ultimately implemented) when dealing with Oracle, as oppossed to say Sql Server. Here's the table of contents:

Chapter 1 Oracle Architecture and Connectivity Chapter 2 Retrieving Data Chapter 3 Manipulating Data Chapter 4 Oracle Exception and Error Classes Chapter 5 Using PL/SQL from .NET Chapter 6 Working with Large Objects Chapter 7 Advanced Connections and Authentication Chapter 8 Performing Common Tasks with Oracle Features Chapter 9 SQL Tracing Appendix Obtaining and Installing the Oracle Software

I got a tremendous amount of knoweldge out of the whole setting up of Oracle - both server and client and how each related to the other. The underlying files, registry entries and such like. I did however make the mistake of loading the 10.2g software rather than the 10.1g software as Mark had done, but I soon changed back to stay in line with the information in the book. Given how much I personally got from this experience I am suprised that it's an "appendix", but that's a minor point.

There were a couple of areas in the book that I felt needed a bit more depth and explanation as it took me some time to fathom out the intricacies of the underlying processes .. especially with the asp anonymous logon "/" but again this was a minor, as I soon switched to a full connection string instead.

My biggest complaint, which I have also found with all the other developers in the company involved with .Net and (specifically) Oracle is with the tools supplied to access the database and run sql type statements. You'll notice that this complaint has NOTHING to do with Marks book! For such a powerful database as Oracle I was shocked to have to go back to a command line editor such as SqlPlus - the standard "interface" tool supplied. Coming from a GUI driven evironment, this comes as a bit of a jar to the system. Of course, a couple of minutes on Google produced a product called "Golden" which is very similar to Sql Servers "Query Analyzer" ... and something that i smuch more useful in the long run.

Ultimately this book served the purpose for which it was bought. Namely, it has given me total confidence in setting up, configuring and using Oracle within a .Net environment. I would have no problem in recommending this book for anyone who is new to Oracle and who already knows how to use .Net: Wonderful stuff.

But ... and this really is a big "but" ... if you are looking for an in-depth analysis and exploration of .Net Oracle Programming then my suggestion would be to look elsewhere.

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