The Manga Guide to Databases

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Manga Guide to DatabasesNo Starch Press is back with a second book in the “Manga Guide” series, this time The Manga Guide to Databases. Since I have worked in the IT/IS field for years and even have some database training, this book gives me a chance to look at the subject matter from a more enlightened perspective.

This time, the manga story centers around the Kingdom of Kod and characters Princess Ruruna and her aide and long-time companion Cain. Princess Ruruna is in charge of the kingdom’s fruit-selling business now that her parents are traveling and Cain helps her. Princess Ruruna wishes for an easier way to keep track of exports, costs, inventory, etc. and a package from her parents may have the key — the Book of Database. Unlocking the book releases the fairy Tico, who knows everything about databases. Only Cain and Princess Ruruna can see her and through the chapters she teaches them about databases. There’s a small romantic element with Princess Ruruna and Cain which comes to a head when Prince Raminess from a neighboring kingdom arrives on the scene.

As with other titles in this series, the book is laid out in traditional western form — left to right. That is how it was published in the original Japanese, so those concerned about flipped art need not worry.

As to the actual subject matter, databases as a general matter are defined, relational databases are defined, SQL commands are learned, database operations are covered (including database security, locks, disaster recovery, and more complex queries), and finally database usage is covered. This last chapter will give novices some eye-opening experiences, especially when the book talks of web-based databases, such as an online store where one searches for a product and then orders it. While the end-user never sees it, database queries learned are performed behind the scenes. Other items such as distributed databases, XML, Object-Oriented Databases, and more are also covered.

Chapters are broken down into three parts. Part one contains the manga portion, which has the story but also gives a high-level look at the subject materials covered. The second part of each chapter is dedicated to a somewhat more low-level review of the materials to obtain some greater depth of the subject. Finally, the last part of each chapter contains a quiz to see if you have learned what you’ve read.

After reading this manga, I would expect the user to have a basic understanding of databases and their fundamentals as well as an understanding of the core SQL commands. The end of the book contains a nifty, frequently used SQL statement list, which I think is quite handy. However, to obtain maximum benefit from this book, I think that having access to some sort of database software would be helpful as then you could practice building a database and then perform queries on it (or other task). That’s how I remember things is to actually do them. I’m guessing this part won’t be a problem since those buying the book will be interested both in manga and in learning about databases and thus will likely have access at school, work, or even home (MS Access for example).

For me, the book helped make a few things a clearer. Since I’m not a DBA and haven’t worked too heavily on databases in a few years, I thought of how my updated knowledge would have made things a bit easier back when I did work more with databases since I would have an understanding as to the “why” of things when it comes to how databases are set up. Should a future job require me to do some database stuff, you can be asured that I’ll be re-reading this manga first before going to some tech guide. ^_^

Bottom line: The Manga Guide to Databases is a cute and clever way to introduce a novice to databases of all kinds and their workings. You won’t be a Database Administrator after reading this manga, but it will lay out a foundation so that if/when you study the topic of databases in greater depth, things won’t seem nearly as scary or deep as they might have before. That alone makes the book worth owning. The manga stuff is just icing on the cake. ^_^

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2 Responses to “The Manga Guide to Databases”

  1. Gyt Kaliba says:

    Wow, I didn’t even know they HAD books like this. To be honest…it sounds a mite corny, but I DO love to mess around in databases…

    I might give this a look. It’s worth a further look into anyway. ^_^

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    They are apparently very popular in Japan, which is why No Starch Press brought them over here. There’s a whole series of them so I should be reviewing whatever comes next (I hope).

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