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Oracle JDBC Demystified--O'Reilly Author Shows How to Leverage the Strengths of Oracle and Java

January 4, 2002

Sebastopol, CA--Oracle JDBC is where Oracle, the write-once-run-anywhere database meets Java, the write-once-run-anywhere programming language. But what is JDBC and how does it work? Donald Bales, author of Java Programming with Oracle JDBC (O'Reilly, US $39.95) tells us that JDBC, or Java DataBase Connectivity, is a Java API for executing dynamic SQL statements; Oracle JDBC is for executing dynamic SQL statements in a standard way and for leveraging Oracle's extended functionality. As Bales explains, Oracle JDBC acts as the bridge between Java and Oracle. This answers the question of what it is, but how it works is the deeper question that Bales addresses throughout his book, drawing from his sixteen-plus years of experience with Oracle, and six years' experience with Java.

"With Java and Oracle," Bales says, "we can leverage the strength of relational technology and object orientation in our enterprise applications on both client and server. But to leverage this technology to build enterprise applications, we need to have a solid foundation. That's what this book is all about. Oracle JDBC is the foundation for all your Java/Oracle applications."

According to the author, most books on JDBC lack coverage in three important areas. "First, they explain how to use JDBC without regard for the context in which it is being applied. This puts the beginning JDBC user at a distinct disadvantage," says Bales. "For example, most JDBC books spend far too little time on how to establish a connection to a database. They'll take a couple of pages to regurgitate the JDBC API specification on how to call the getConnection() method for DriverManager or DataSource, but don't give the reader a context on what is appropriate for the situation. I give my readers a jump-start by showing everything within a real-world context.

"Second, no other book I know of spends any time discussing the object-relational extensions to JDBC. I've included three chapters explaining the use of Oracle as an object database. And finally, there are vendor-specific extensions to JDBC, which are necessary because the JDBC API does not completely define a standard way to implement functionality. A generic book on JDBC doesn't cover these."

Java Programming with Oracle JDBC begins with an in-depth discussion of establishing database connections from applications, applets, Servlets, and from Java stored procedures. Bales then explains how to issue SQL statements and get results back, and moves on to more advanced topics such as streaming large objects, calling PL/SQL procedures, and working with Oracle9i's object-oriented features. The book also covers transactions, concurrency management, and performance.

In addition to practical advice on how to implement Oracle JDBC, Java and Oracle professionals will benefit from the insights Bales' experience has given him, which he shares throughout the book. "There's what I consider a bit of madness going around," Bales explains, "The Java purists, that is, those who would like to do everything in Java, are progressively moving more and more 'database' functionality from the database to the application server. They treat the database as a file system rather than a persistence for a massive amount of objects. My three chapters on object-relational technology show you how to use the database as an extension to the memory of your Java application, using SQL to access 'objects' in the database as objects in Java. I treat the database as part of the memory of my application, a potentially unlimited amount of memory.

"With Oracle9i," Bales adds, "anything you can model in Java, you can model in Oracle. If just a few good programmers see the value of using this existing reliable infrastructure rather than recreating it, we can get on with the next paradigm shift, which is to model our business problems as objects instead of relationally mapped to Java objects. We're still stuck in the relational rut just as the hierarchical and network databasers of the past were stuck in a rut when relational technology first came out."

Java Programming with Oracle JDBC is a book written by a programmer for programmers. This book is an essential tool for all Java and Oracle developers who need to work with both technologies.

Online Resources:

Java Programming with Oracle JDBC
By Donald Bales
January 2002
ISBN 0-596-00088-X, 477 pages, $39.95 (US) $59.95 (CA)

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