I should start by admitting a bias. I like Carlton, and from before Iknew him I've liked his writing; he writes not only with energy and passion for the subject, but with a great deal of technicalknowledge and experience. What this means is that you get all the information you would expect, but also something more than just adry technical book. So, needless to say, I was looking foward to a chance to read this book.
Is there a need for an Informix book when there is a comprehensive set of high quality Informix documentation available online?
The documentation is great but there is a huge amount of it, and zeroing in on exactly what you need can take time. Carlton addresses this question in the introduction:
- In this book, I try to take the dry technical details of the documentationand put them into the context of daily life. I cover topics in what I thinkis their logical order of occurrence when working with a database environment. First, you design the environment; then you build andpopulate it. You create backups on a regular basis and monitor and tune asnecessary. There are other responsibilities and functions, but these are the most important. I use this approach to build the subjectsdiscussed in each chapter.
One thing this book does very well is provide current information. A greatdeal of new functionality has been added to IDS in the last year, andknowing how much of a lead time publishing deadlines impose I am impressed by the amount of up to date 11.50 feature descriptions thebook has. It can be stressful trying to write about a feature beforerelease while the developers change it as you watch (OpenAdmin Tool which keeps getting new features is a good example).Somehow Carlton has managed to stay current, and write with an inside knowledge ofwhich features are likely to change.
I'm glad to see a few in-jokes to keep us paying attention. In a section entitledProblem solving with Extensibility a fictitious org chart is introduced,where Mukta, Fred, Kevin and Kassa report to someone called Jerry. That soundsstrangely familiar, though I can't quite place it.
At 424 pages Administering Informix Dynamic Server is small enough tocarry around, yet comprehensive enough to serve as a single referencesource. It also manages to provide a balance between introductory material for new Informix users and advanced technical information forInformix power users. After flicking through the backup and restore chapter I find myself drawn into a few diagrams and now know enough about XBSA architecture to be dangerous.
Overall, an excellent reference that both new and experienced Informix DBA's will find useful to have around.
Books links: Barnes & Noble, Amazon