When I wrote Practical Oracle 8i, there was a three-week lag between publication and the first e-mail asking me when I was going to produce a 9i version of the book—thanks to Larry Ellison’s timing of the launch of 9i. That question has been repeated many times (with changes in version number) over the last 12 years. This book is about as close as I’m going to come to writing a second edition of the book— but it only covers the first chapter (and a tiny bit of the second and third) of the original.
There were two things that encouraged me to start writing again. First, was the number of times I saw questions of the form: How does Oracle do XXX? Second, was the realization that it’s hard to find answers to such questions that are both adequate and readable. Generally, you need only hunt through the manuals and you will find answers to many of the commonly-asked questions; and if you search the internet, you will find many articles about little features of how Oracle works. What you won’t find is a cohesive narrative that put all the right bits together in the right order to give you a picture of how the whole thing works and why it has to work the way it does. This book is an attempt to do just that. I want to tell you the story of how Oracle works. I want to give you a narrative, not just a collection of bits and pieces.