Learning SQL on SQL Server 2005

Get Up to Speed on SQL in No Time

Review by SQL-Server-Performance.com
2 October 2006

Learning SQL on SQL Server 2005
By Sikha Saha Bagui and Richard Walsh Earp
324 pages. O’Reilly Media. $44.99.

Learning SQL on SQL Server 2005

Find out more about this book, or purchase it, from Amazon.com.

“All beginnings are difficult.”
“Practice makes perfect.”

I guess almost everyone was already in situations where they had to endure such patter. I confess it isn’t funny to be told something like this. Who wants to be an “amateur” or “non-professional?” Well, fact is, in such phrases there is much truth, depending on the situation in which they are spoken. Even SQL gurus don’t fall from the sky. They started very small and, most likely, had the same problems and made the same mistakes as anyone else learning SQL.

Of course, you can try to solve your problems alone silently in your room, just as many others did before. Or you can tackle things in a smarter way. I strongly believe that with the Internet it is really smart to find an online community dedicated to one’s database system of choice, search the archives of this community, and post a question with the problem if an answer can’t be found in the archives, instead of trying to solve a problem with a lone warrior mentality.

Apart from the invaluable help available from online communities, it is also smart to find some good books about SQL. You’ll find that sometimes it works wonder to read about a problem in a book and suddenly get the big picture instead of staring for hours on end at the computer monitor. Of course, “good” is relative and, looking at the great variety of potentially useful books, it’s a tough and difficult task for a beginner to pick the right ones.

“Learning SQL on SQL Server 2005” is a good book for a beginner. It doesn’t assume any previous knowledge about SQL, and manages on “just” 324 pages to deliver a solid introduction into SQL development with the Microsoft SQL Server. The following topics are covered:

  • Starting Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
  • Beginning SQL Commands in SQL Server.
  • Creating, Populating, Altering, and Deleting Tables.
  • Joins.
  • Functions.
  • Query Development and Derived Structures.
  • Set Operations.
  • Joins versus Subqueries.
  • Aggregation and GROUP BY.
  • Correlated Subqueries.
  • Indexes and Constraints on Tables.

This book presents a well-balanced mix of practical examples and theoretical knowledge. You can test your knowledge at the end of each chapter by means of test exercises. Because the book is also used as accompanying literature to introductory courses on databases, its organization follows the needs of beginners. Each chapter is self-contained and builds on each other in their subject matter and complexity. The reader should really take the time to work accurately through each chapter instead of just flipping through the pages.

For the serious and ambitious SQL beginner this book offers plenty of useful information, presented in a compact, precise, and competent way.

The script to generate and populate the sample database that is used exclusively throughout the book can be downloaded from www.oreilly.com/catalog/learnsqlsvr05/. The only thing I wish was that the solutions to the exercises were available online.


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