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Keywords: SQL, T-SQL, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL

Title: SQL Success: Database Programming Proficiency

Author: Stephane Faroult

Publisher: Roughsea Ltd

ISBN: 978-1909765009

Media: Book

Level: Introductory/Intermediate

Verdict: An excellent resource - highly recommended


SQL is one of those core skills that the majority of developers need to have in the armoury. Whether you're coding in Java or JavaScript or any language in between, the chances are that at some point you will to connect to a database, run a query and draw down some data. Now, there are plenty of training materials around that will walk the beginner through some basic data definition language and some querying - we've even got that here at TechBookReport. But the truth is there's a huge gap between writing a simple query that joins a couple of fields and something that can group, filter and process huge volumes of data efficiently and effectively. Which is where this book comes in - this is aimed squarely at the developer who wants to step up a level in SQL skills.

Now, one of the key challenges in putting together a book like this is the fact that pretty much every relational database management system sports its own version of SQL - the core might stay the same across products, but there are quirks and exceptions aplenty. It's not so much the syntax, it's things like data types, how you specify constraints, how keys are handled and more. Somehow Stephane Faroult manages to negotiate all of that in the text without it being too obstructive or a big deal. For the record the book covers SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostgresSQL, DB2 and even SQLite.

No real background in SQL is assumed, so the opening chapters start from the basics of data definition to simple queries. Examples are always important and in this case all the examples are structured around building a database of movies and actors/directors. It's a good choice of example as it's something everyone can relate to (sorry, couldn't help the pun?), but it extends to some very complex and interesting queries. It's certainly a better approach than a lot of independent snippets of code or lots of small example databases.

From the basics the book rapidly extends to more complex queries, covers fuzzy searching (a much ignored topic in many SQL books), functions and triggers, procedural extensions to SQL, tuning queries and more. There's no faulting the range of material. But more than that there is the fact that the writing is clear and engaging. To be honest some SQL texts tend to be overly formalistic or a bit dry, but this is a book rooted in practical experience and that helps keep the material interesting throughout.

The book is entitled 'SQL Success', but it's also a success in its own terms. What makes this such a good read is that there's a constant theme at work. This isn't about teaching recipes or syntax, it's about helping the reader to think about data and how to work with it most effectively. SQL is a tool, and this is a book to help you get the most from that tool. I defy anyone but the absolute guru to get through this book and not pick up new skills and better ways of working with SQL. It is, in other words, very highly recommended.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2014. Published 24 February 2014