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Comment Here's a few books that I would strongly recommend (Score 1) 291

I've read a lot of database books in my time, and been around some of the biggest rdbms instances on the net. Here's probably my top three:

1) If you don't know SQL, O'Reilly's _Learning SQL_ is the best intro I've seen. This doesn't sound like what you're looking for, though.

2) If you know SQL reasonably well, but you want to get much better, I can't recommend O'Reilly's Theory In Practice book _The Art of SQL_ highly enough. I don't have it in front of me to remember precisely why I liked it so much, but it's outstanding. If you're going to get one book, get this one.

3) To really get the theory of databases, one of CJ Date's books is good. Someone else recommended _Databases in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners_, and I recall that looking pretty good when I skimmed it once. I would also recommend _Foundation for Object / Relational Databases: The Third Manifesto_, which I found to be very educational. You need to be careful with Date, though, because he tends to advocate how things "should work", not how databases actually work, and so you may find him advising you to do things that are actually bad ideas on your database of choice, so balance this off against good books for your specific DB


4) If you need to build large data warehouses (doesn't sound like you, yet), then Ralph Kimball's _The Data Warehouse Toolkit_ is all you will need to understand the theory. Unfortunately, effective warehousing is especially tied to your database of choice, so you'll want to hit the product manuals even harder here.

5) If you need to do OLAP (also not likely), there's only one generic book that's particularly good at all for the concepts, _OLAP Solutions_ by Erik Thomsen, and even that is not that generic. Unfortunately most OLAP and BI stuff is highly vendor-specific.

Joe Celko's books are also pretty good, in my experience, but I wouldn't buy them before the above.

Comment another vote for perforce, with some history (Score 3, Informative) 43

I recently had the job of evaluating what SCM system to use for our company. We were using CVS at the time.

I believe that the complaints your bosses have about logging and concurrent editing can all be fairly easily fixed in CVS.

The major gripes we had with CVS were:
. slow (see below)
. merging between branches was miserable, because the system didn't keep track of what had already been merged
. renaming files lost all the history
. windows interface was cumbersome

We actually worked with a system layered on top of CVS that allowed us to submit batches of files at once, in a single transaction. This was the major cause of slowness, and CVS didn't really support transactions, so in some sense we were just fooling ourselves. The other major cause was doing a 'cvs update' on a large tree could be slow.

Most of the problems we had could've been fixed
if we spent the time to fix it. Some (transactions, renaming) we couldn't really fix at all. But, when I looked at everything I wanted to fix in CVS, I found that I had just described Perforce's feature set, and when I looked at how they implemented things, they did it like I would've. Plus, comparing the cost of Perforce (relatively cheap) to the time it would've taken us to implement the same features ...

So, we switched to Perforce, and I've been (more or less) happy since. The branching structure is a little weird (compared to ClearCase's, which is the most intuitive I've seen), but we're learning to live with it.

At a previous company, we used ClearCase. This was also a fine product, and it does a few things that no other product does, but it's very expensive, and a major hassle to administer.
ClearCase (at least in the mode we used) implements its own filesystem, and can provide a level of security that the others just can't. But, is this worth paying 10+ times the amount for it?

I also looked at AccuRev. This was about on a par with Perforce, and had one or two features that looked really cool. But, in the end, Perforce won mostly because we went with the product that had bigger market share and more people had used it before.

VSS wasn't an option because we're a mostly linux based shop, and because I had heard many of the complaints that others are making as well.

PVCS I think is mostly an also-ran in this day and age. I think most new source-system users use one of the other previously mentioned systems.

One new open source project (Subversion) looked promising, but it was too immature for us to use.

Bitkeeper also looked interesting, but not enough so to beat out Perforce or AccuRev.

Another thing you might want to consider is how well the SCM integrates with a change mgmt system (or bug/task database). Perforce has a simplistic change database built in, but it's good enough for what we want it to do, and it can also be used with Bugzilla and a few other systems. Of course, CVS and at least ClearCase can do these as well. I've found Bugzilla somewhat cumbersome to use on limited inspection. Other freeware systems (GNATS, for example) are very weak.

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