Top critical review
Lots of good, more not-so-good
on May 1, 2004
On the positive side, there are numerous interesting Transact SQL techniques demonstrated in this book. A couple of them have proved to be very useful to me. I like the exploration of different challenges people face with Transact SQL and the solutions the authors provide.
I also like the catalog nature of the book. APress is getting better at this with their books, and this one is pretty good as a reference.
On the negative side, the language is misued often in this book. As the old saying goes, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." There are several problems attacked in this book that would be better solved with a language other than Transact SQL. It is simply the wrong tool. I could offer several examples, but the most obvious one would be the complex numbers discussion. I see others have mentioned this, too. Not only are complex numbers not best handled by Transact SQL, they cannot even be accurately handled by the language. You will quickly become the victim of rounding errors, performance problems, and other devils if you try something like this in production code.
Another negative is that authors don't write that well. I have come not to expect a lot from technical books, so I don't think this is that big of a deal. But I would have to say that the writing quality in this one is low even for technical books. For one thing, the two write completely differently and you can see the different styles contrasting in different sections of the book. Add to this the fact that neither style is particularly lucid or engaging, and you have a book that is an editor or two short of being cogent and readable.