These are great references titles but also sophisticated learning tools
In my software career I have worked with both Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle databases. I do not want to make any overall comparison of the two systems, but in my opinion one rather non-technical difference is the availability of handy code reference help - the aid you need to write both proper SQL statements and more complex commands like stored procedures, cursors or triggers. I think SQL Server has a clear advantage in this area with its accompanying "SQL Books" in old reliable Windows help file format. When I try to get the same help in an Oracle environment, I feel the need for some external (paper based) reference tool to be more urgent, which is why I was happy to find these books.
Their sub-title is "The independent voice on Oracle", a series of Oracle titles published by Prentice Hall. They both combine the best of computing tutorials with reference manuals at their peak. "Oracle SQL" is more fundamental while "Oracle PL-SQL" is addressing a harder to grasp subject.
But they are so similar in concept, disposition and text that I do not hesitate to cover them as a single entity in this review. The books are about 700-800 pages in length, but seldom in the short history of computer books have so many pages been filled with so much relevant
The layout of every chapter is very pedagogic. There are exercises, solutions to exercises and self-review questions at the end. Every single SQL-function/PL-SQL language feature is explained. Generally "unreadable" syntax patterns are avoided - instead small but fully functional code samples are shown. An approach I think most readers appreciate.
Other plus points; includes a well-designed tutorial database, (which the examples are built upon) complete with test data, (downloadable from web site) and a comprehensive index.
The editions I reviewed were Oracle 8 based, but updated for Oracle 9i. That's good, but I think the changes are pretty small on this lower level of Oracle.
These are great references titles but also sophisticated learning tools. That means they are useful both when first learning the subject and a long time after that.
They are not "talk bibles" - they are carefully written by authors expert in their subject, they are learning tools in the words best sense. Rather expensive books, yet highly recommended.