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Discovering SQL: A Hands-On Guide for Beginners [Paperback]

Alex Kriegel

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Book Description

April 19 2011 Wrox Programmer to Programmer
Teaching the SQL skills that businesses demand when hiring programmers

If you're a SQL beginner, you don't just want to learn SQL basics, you also want to get some practical SQL skills you can use in the job market. This book gives you both. Covering the basics through intermediate topics with clear explanations, hands-on exercises, and helpful solutions, this book is the perfect introduction to SQL. Topics include both the current SQL:2008 standards, the upcoming SQL:2011 standards, and also how to use SQL against current releases of the most popular commercial SQL databases, such as Oracle, SQL Server, and MySQL.

  • Introduces SQL concepts, explains SQL statements, and clearly shows how to write efficient and effective SQL code
  • Uses a hands-on style and a sample database that incorporates all SQL concepts taught in the book; this database will be enhanced through the book as key points and lessons are covered
  • Covers topics such as how SQL interacts with the sample database via various interfaces, including vendor-provided utilities, programming languages, SQL clients, and productivity software
  • Includes appendices with primers on database normalization, set theory and bollean algebra, RDBMS software step-by-step setup guides, and database connectivity

Learn how to write effective, efficient SQL code with Discovering SQL: A Hands-On Guide for Beginners.

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From the Back Cover

Discover best practices for turning data into information you can use

Structured Query Language, more popularly known as SQL, is a standard database language used to create, access and manipulate data, and store and maintain information in relational databases such as Access®, SQL Server®, Oracle®, and MySQL®. If that's all you know about SQL, then you're already ahead of the curve! Assuming no prior knowledge of SQL or relational databases, author Alex Kriegel takes you on a voyage of discovery as you learn SQL basics and learn to work with data stored in a relational database. Written in a beginner-friendly tone, this guide walks you through the creation of a sample database that incorporates all the SQL concepts taught throughout the book and also introduces data modeling, query tuning, and optimization.

Discovering SQL:

  • Covers the most important SQL dialects along with the current release of SQL Standard

  • Highlights the differences between particular implementations as well as the power and limitations of SQL

  • Demonstrates how SQL deals with all types of data: structured, unstructured and everything in between

  • Looks at dynamic SQL, procedural extensions and latest developments in the field

  • Shares best practices for optimizing query performance

  • Walks you through the basics of database design and introduces the tools for working with normalized data Programmer Forums

Join our Programmer to Programmer forums to ask and answer programming questions about this book, join discussions on the hottest topics in the industry, and connect with fellow programmers from around the world.

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About the Author

Alex Kriegel is an enterprise systems architect for the Oregon Health Authority, State of Oregon. He has more than 20 years of professional database and software development experience and holds numerous certifications, including MCTS, PMP from Project Management Institute, TOGAF 8 Certified Practitioner from The Open Architecture Group, and Certified Scrum Master from Scrum Alliance.

Wrox Beginning guides are crafted to make learning programming languages and technologies easier than you think, providing a structured, tutorial format that will guide you through all the techniques involved.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coversational and Concise April 14 2011
By Jacob Moran - Published on
I've been reviewing this book for use in an educational setting, and I like Alex's conversational but accurate style. He is interested in helping take a student from Point A to Point B without taking too many side trips. The hands-on portion is based on a download of SQL Express and Express Mangement Studio, followed by creating a local database and building it from the ground up. The book makes many references to differences that you might see in Oracle, MySQL, and other non-Microsoft database systems.

There is no supporting CD, but the publisher's web site has the scripts to download that speed up data entry portion of setting up the local database that is used in of the examples. The SQL examples are that of a book publishing scenario that is familiar to many of us from the Sybase and early SQL server days. I'm glad that Alex decided not to use the current Microsoft SQL database of AdventureWorks. AdventureWorks is fully normalized and large enough to evaluate performance differences in queries, but it is just too hard for a novice to understand unless they join together 5 tables for every query!

There is a great deal of practical content in the book, building the process needed for reporting and basic data management, and moves into performance techniques, indexing, and transaction management. The sql examples do not attempt to reference every possible iteration of a sql command. Neither does the book attempt to show how to bring about complicated programmatic action within the database. Some examples maybe difficult to translate to your own environment, as there is usually only one example for a particular type of statement.

The end of the book focuses on high level views of database-related concepts, including XML and future technologies.

All in all, I think Alex Kriegel has done a great job putting together a valuable resource for those who are looking to begin their SQL journey or those who want to see the differences in syntax between different database engines.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for learning SQL July 17 2012
By A. Carter - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a required book for a course I was taking on T-SQL and Database Management. Let me say it was very helpful. For someone who was used to creating databases directly through the GUI this helped me to understand the coding that goes into creating a database. If you want a book that will put everything in layman's terms where you can understand, this is the book you want! Its easy to follow along and read. They give an over abundance of examples of everything they discuss in the book. You can follow along and make a database from scratch without using a GUI but coding it directly. If you need a book to get you comfortable with T-SQL and databases try this out along with this Beginning T-SQL with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 2008 (Wrox Programmer to Programmer)
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good presentation, but riddled with errors Aug. 14 2011
By eric - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my girlfriend who wanted to learn SQL. The format of the book is an excellent introductory guide to learning sql in a hands on fashion, and it covers the different bits of many databases.

That is about all I can say that is good. The book is so riddled with errors in column and table name references, you basically have to assume that all the SQL is wrong and will give you errors when you try to execute it.


pg.26 you run an alter table statement to add a "book_id" column to the table.

ADD book_id INTEGER;

The book then immediately references the column later on the page as "bk_id" in multiple sql statements!

UPDATE myLibrary SET bk_id=1 WHERE isbn='978-0470229064';

This continues through out the remainder of the book to a point where the author is referring to the myLibrary table as "books" and has prefixed all columns with bk_ while in previous examples there were no column name prefixes.

For a book that is meant to introduce people to SQL it is unacceptable to have so many errors in the book, and since it is a hands on guide, in your sql queries. It ends up being really discouraging and frustrating trying to track down whether or not you are wrong or the book is wrong... but you can assume its the book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars errors June 10 2013
By beonewt - Published on
let me start off by saying that the book is easy to read and like the title implies it is for complete beginers. that being said, the number of syntax errors and out of order instructions is too damn high to make this book a good learning tool. i constantly have create tables not mentioned until several pages after being asked to edit them. example edit table books page 41, then on page 48 create table books. this book needs some editing.
ps. the book also does not follow its own instructions. it had me change a table name only to go on reffering to the table by its old name
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good attempt, but too simple ... May 31 2011
By Jose - Published on
Without being cocky or pretentious, this book is too simple for my current skills and I know that. But I always check for new titles and authors. You will be surprised of how many new things you can learn from "intro" books. However, this book is too simple, even for a newbie. There are also 2 or 3 chapters that I would categorize as fillers and won't add useful T-SQL skills for a newbie, like the one for Performance and Normal forms (very important topics for being barely mentioned on a few pages)

1st, the positive
Nice style. The books reads like a novel. It honors its title so if you're new on the SQL arena, you will learn from this book without getting confused with lot of complex examples or SQL terminology. I also like the RDMS comparisons. I am learning Oracle and MySQL and it is really useful how the author compares similar commands among different engines; as a matter of fact, this is probably one of the things I like most of this book. It reminds me Itzik in some way who is a wonderful SQL writer and programmer but always try to be not code dependent.

The not so positive
I think that without being too complex, author could be a bit more technical. The examples are good but too simple. The Performance Tuning chapter is a joke! About 10 pages? Please ... and does not mention anything specific. For such a complex and important topic, I would remove the whole chapter altogether. Better not mentioning anything about Performance than just write about lot of generic concepts without really teaching something.

Overall, this is an ok book and a nice attempt, but it is too simple, even for the novice. For someone new into SQL arena, I would recommend "Microsoft® SQL Server® 2008 T-SQL Fundamentals" instead. But I really like Alex's writing style and how he tries to compare same command across several products. Wish I can give 3.5 starts, so I will round it to 3.

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