1. Nothing about installing a DBMS (kinda outside the scope of an intro to java book) but if you have access to a DB2, Oracle or Access DBMS you can add the unique info for the DBMS to the code and it will run. I included Access because I figured most newbies wouldn't have access to an enterprise level DBMS like Oracle or DB2. Again, the book goes through step by step how to set up a ODBC data source in Windows (which is part of the non-WebSphere technology that I alluded to in other posts).
2. Plain JDBC in the client app and then SDO in the server based section. Do you think JPA is appropriate for beginners? Defining the relationships between the JPA entities, referential constraints, etc. seemed too much to me. I guess I could have just had a single table. Do you see JPA as a substitute for SDO and JDBC or in addition to?
3. I'm not sure what you mean by "proper style". Do you think it's too complicated? Bad programming? Old technology? I partially did it so they would appreciate the GUI tools for using SDOs.