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Beginning SQL Queries: From Novice to Professional [Paperback]

Clare Churcher

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Book Description

April 16 2008 1590599438 978-1590599433 1

Clare Churcher’s Beginning SQL Queries is your guide to mastering the lingua franca of the database industry: the SQL language. Good knowledge of SQL is crucial to anyone working with databases, because it is with SQL that you retrieve data, manipulate data, and generate business results. Knowing how to write good queries is the foundation for all work done in SQL, and it is a foundation that Clare lays well in her book.

  • Does not bore with syntax!
  • Helps you learn the underlying concepts involved in querying a database, and from there the syntax is easy
  • Provides exceptionally clear examples and explanations
  • Is academically sound while being practical and approachable

What you’ll learn

  • Write simple queries to extract data from a single table.
  • Understand relational algebra and calculus and why they are important.
  • Combine data from many tables into one business result.
  • Avoid pitfalls and traps such as Cartesian products and difficulties with null values.
  • Summarize large amounts of data for reporting purposes.
  • Apply set theory to the problems of manipulating data and generating reports.

Who is this book for?

Beginning SQL Queries is aimed at intelligent laypeople who need to extract information from a database, and at developers and other IT people who are new to SQL. The book is especially useful for business intelligence analysts who must ask more complex questions of their database than their GUI–based reporting software supports. Such people might be business owners wanting to target specific customers, scientists and students needing to extract subsets of their research data, or end users wanting to make the best use of databases for their clubs and societies.

About the Apress Beginning Series

The Beginning series from Apress is the right choice to get the information you need to land that crucial entry–level job. These books will teach you a standard and important technology from the ground up because they are explicitly designed to take you from “novice to professional.” You’ll start your journey by seeing what you need to know—but without needless theory and filler. You’ll build your skill set by learning how to put together real–world projects step by step. So whether your goal is your next career challenge or a new learning opportunity, the Beginning series from Apress will take you there—it is your trusted guide through unfamiliar territory!

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About the Author

Clare Churcher holds a Ph.D. in physics and has designed several databases for a variety of large and small projects. She is currently the head of the applied computing group at Lincoln University where her teaching has included analysis and design, database, and programming. She has supervised over 70 undergraduate projects designing databases for small projects.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid start Dec 17 2008
By Stephane Faroult - Published on
Disclaimer: although I have had nothing to do with this book and I have never met the author (we live at the antipodes of each other), I was the technical reviewer for her previous book - and I am the author of two SQL books, none of them for beginners.

Knowing Clare's style, I have been extremely surprised by some of the reviews of this book, which are rather harsh. I got a copy of "Beginning SQL Queries", and read it to have an opinion of my own.
Several reviewers complain about the references to algebra and calculus; I think they have missed Clare's point, which was to show that there are two writing styles with SQL. She could have called them style A and style B, but unfortunately she is rather precise in what she writes and chose to call them by their received names of algebra and calculus, which I agree are dirty names. Which one is algebra and which one is calculus is usually something I forget very fast, and I've practiced SQL for a quarter of a century; believe me, you can use both styles without knowing their names.
I also take objection to one reviewer's comment that "it is clear the author doesn't actually understand SQL. A table alias is not a 'row variable'". Perhaps Clare didn't make her point clear enough; but when you write a correlated subquery, as in

select ...
from ta outer
where exists
(select 1
from tb inner
where =

"outer" (the table alias) in the subquery actually refers to the current row from the outer query. Perhaps an unusual way to introduce the topic; but I have always believed that the goal of a book should be to intellectually challenge the reader and bring him or her to see the topic in a different light.

All this being said, I'm not convinced by some aspects of the book. For one thing, if the author actually starts from the "novice" stage, she doesn't really bring the reader to the "professional" stage in my humble opinion; the coverage of topics like indexing is light, and none of the examples is even remotely as complex as what I routinely encounter. This makes the introduction (fortunately discrete) of formal notations look like an overkill with no real added value. Better to concentrate on the figures, which are extremely clear.

If you just wish to make some quick and dirty SQL job, "Beginning SQL Queries" is probably not a book for you - I guess that any tutorial on the web and a bit of trial and error will get you started. You won't go very far, but sometimes you don't want to.
I rather see this book as a good bridge between college and the professional world - it combines the rigor of text books (although it doesn't theorize, all the key points from the theory are here) with the conversational tone of books that are aimed at the professional world; strictly correct without being dry. It will not turn you into a full-blown database professional, but if what you have seen - or not seen - at school is hazy and if you are serious about ensuring that you have sound foundations, reading "Beginning SQL Queries" is a good way to start.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect little problem solver July 5 2008
By Ian Lill - Published on
I'm a computer-savy first time SQL'er. I found this book to provide a quick and complete introduction to SQL that allowed me to straight away get going. It's written from a practical stand point which is really useful if you're like me and just want to get the job done.

I also like the way book tackles the subject from two different angles - she calls it the Algebra or Calculus angles. Sounds mathematical but it simply means that when you're got a complicated problem you've got twice the chance of finding a solution.

This book comes totally recommended. I became quite intrigued by the stuff about how you should design your database right that I'm now reading her book on Database Design.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Reccommended for SQL Newcomers July 20 2011
By Bradley_M - Published on
As somebody new to databases, I found this book to be a fantastic read, essential for any new comer. The book systematically educates the reader in a way that is palatable and enjoyable. My confidence level has risen immensely and I would recommend this book to anybody seeking to become proficient in SQL whilst avoiding unnecessary technical jargon. This is a resource that you will enjoy referencing again and again.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Clare Churcher Aug. 19 2008
By Bjorn D. Tyreus - Published on
Last year I read and reviewed Clare Churcher's excellent little introduction to database design. Although I learnt enough SQL at the time to write working queries, I could not resist picking up this book when I recently saw it. And true to form, Clare Churcher has written another gem. What I particularly like about the style is that all examples are kept simple while conveying important concepts.
Two different ways to approach a query are introduced in the book, the "algebra" or "how-approach" and the "calculus" or "what-approach". Why two approaches? According to the book, student classes are equally divided in which approach they prefer. With two approaches to choose from there is a greater chance that anyone reading this book will find it useful. I'm personally greatly helped by the "what-approach" in reviewing old SQL code as well as writing new queries.
This book is a must for anyone learning SQL for the first time. In addition, it provides a refreshing new way of looking at SQL code for those who already know the basics.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beginning SQL Queries Sept. 24 2012
By cyn - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book based upon the publisher recommendations. I think
the book did very well to explain the logic behind Oracle SQL and its
inner workings. For me personally, it was not difficult to write
queries. Rather, it was more difficult to understand the logic
behind queries. Failing to understand the logic behind queries but
writing good queries can present a danger to your progress especially
in taking exams. This book helped to clarify those issues.

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