INDEX BY: Edition / Title
Relational Database Principles
by Colin Ritchie
published in 1998 by Letts
283pp ISBN 1-85805-363-3 12.99

Relational Database Principles

Relational Database Principles is an undergraduate level textbook taking the reader through the relational theory and the design of databases.

The content of this book divides into three sections. The first part of the book works through the stages of developing a relational database, taking in relational theory, data modelling and normalisation. The second part goes into some of the more practical parts of the subject, such as programming, distributed systems, security and integrity. The third part is somewhat unusual; this is presented as a sort of subvolume covering a series of SQL tutorials, presented in a totally different way to the rest of the book.

Each chapter deals with a distinct topic, with 'in-text' questions test understanding throughout, and finishing with a summary and set of review questions and exercises. These are quite detailed and definitely add to the understanding of the proceeding chapter. These questions help to make this volume a decent textbook and a solid introduction to the complexities of relational database theory and design.

The SQL tutorial consists of 7 sessions, developing SQL from simple queries through functions to transaction control. The layout of this section makes it particularly useful as reference. It is easy to find how to construct a query, or what SQL commands actually mean.

Particularly well handled are the sections dealing Object Orientated databases, discussions of different systems are well considered and objective, and references to different database management systems such as Access and Oracle.

The book is well presented with enough diagrams and subsections to break up what could otherwise be an intimidating text, though the labelling of the diagrams could be a little more detailed.

As an introduction to, or a course in, relational theory this book can hold its own against many much larger (and more expensive) books. Saying that, it is not for the faint hearted, and packs a lot of information into its 280 pages. It is well worth getting for anybody wanting to extend their database use into development of relational databases, but not one for the casual user.

Paul Cummins
Student Teacher, Oxford Brookes University