In the Moscone West building at the OpenWorld, there is a bookstore full of Oracle books (they also have Oracle teddy bears, Oracle T-shirts, Oracle bags, Oracle water bottles and other advertising stuff). I spent some of my rare spare time between the sessions to grub in many interesting books.
Once I had a look at the new book Expert PL/SQL Practices for Oracle Developers and DBAs, which was pubished by Apress a few months ago. A guy behind me pointed to the book and said: “I would not buy this, there is nothing new in it”. I asked him why, and we discussed for a while, until he showed me another PL/SQL book of Oracle Press that he finds “much better”. A second guy standing near to us said: “That’s a really good choice!”. I looked at his badge, then to the front page of the book and realized that he is one of the authors, called Michael McLaughlin. The first guy was John Harper, the second author. Now it was clear why they like the Oracle Press book Oracle Database 11g PL/SQL Programming Workbook. Because I had to leave for the next session soon, I bought both books, so that I can compare them in a quiet moment. This quiet moment is now.
Expert PL/SQL Practices for Oracle Developers and DBAs was written by 15 PL/SQL experts from all over the world. All of the 15 chapters contain practical information about subjects that cannot be found in most of the PL/SQL books on the market. For example, the chapter of Martin Büchi (Lead Software Architect for Avaloq) gives practical tips about the development of large data-centric PL/SQL applications in aspects of design, performance and security. The target audience of this book are developers and DBAs that are familiar with PL/SQL and want to have some advanced information about how to use the programming language in practice. I started to read the book on the flight back from San Francisco. My first impression: Definitely not a book for PL/SQL beginners, but an excellent book which I can recommend to everybody that is interested in additional topics about PL/SQL.
Oracle Database 11g PL/SQL Programming Workbook is a probably a good introduction for people who wants to learn PL/SQL from scratch. It contains some best practice tips, downloadable example scripts and a multiple choice check at the end of each chapter. Because I’m working with PL/SQL since about 17 years, the book is not what I was actually looking for, but I think it is a good choice for PL/SQL beginners.