The Manga Guide to Databases

Reviewed by Major Keary

The Manga series is a Japanese publishing innovation in which cartoon characters are used in conjunction with a conventional text-book style. In this title Manga introduces database concepts, how databases work, and how SQL is used to interrogate a database. If you want an introduction to database technology, are looking for a quick refresher, or are seeking a fresh approach for teaching database technology, this book may be just what you need. Don't be fooled by the comic-book (manga) 'interface'; it effectively explains the jargon, lays out the methodology, and teaches the reader how to 'speak SQL'.

Given that it is a small book (some 200 pages) the breadth of coverage is quite remarkable, as is the depth of detail. The Manga Guide does not pretend to be a definitive coverage, but any reader who works through its content, and tries the questions that are posed, should be well positioned to tackle more formal texts or a database course.

An example application, built from scratch, is used to illustrate database design, the use of SQL to extract data and create reports, and the ongoing operation of a database. Topics include, when disaster strikes, indexes, creating tables, joining tables, optimising queries, database security, distributed databases, databases on the web, XML, and object-oriented databases. This is not a superficial overview; it includes material such as how to "apply the entity relationship model to accurately represent your own data", and how to "control user permissions and use locks to prevent conflicting or duplicated data".

Mana Takahashi: The Manga Guide to Databases
ISBN 978-1-59327-190-9
Published by No Starch Press, 213 pp., RRP AU$ 37.95

The Manga series is distributed in Australia by Woodslane (


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