SQL Book Reviews

The whole problem with doing books on SQL is the general run-amuck that database vendors have been doing to the SQL standards. The result is that EAI-Enterprise Application Integration and Heterogeneous Database Joins remain very thorny problems - no thank yous directed to IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase and other SQL companies.

So as potential SQL author do you write a general SQL text and explain all the many and proprietary offshoots from the ANSI SQL standards - or do you specialize on one vendors database for the practical coverage that allows. Most writers have chose the latter approach - so that made finding some excellent general SQL texts an even more inviting challenge.

The Simple, Easy But Effective Book - Trimble and Chappell's A Visual Introduction to SQL is just what the doctor ordered in getting the key concepts of SQL - tables, diagrams, and the basic SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE commands across to users new to the database and SQL world. This is a very clear, concise and well diagrammed exposure to SQL. This reviewer liked the gentle injection of of ERD-Entity-Relationship Diagramming elements and figures without fuss showing how they can help to illustrate how SQL- and particularly SELECT commands work.

And the authors build up successively to more complicated GROUP BY with HAVING, then the various types of JOINS followed by subqueries with ANY and ALL. Because this was written in 1989, the JOIN mentions but does not feature the new left and right join syntax. And the commands are generic - users will find proprietary variation, as is their cavalier wont, from all the major vendors from IBM through Microsoft to Oracle. But most of the syntax will stand up and the database concepts come through with distinct visual clarity. Kudos to a well written book that has passed the test of time... and available at Amazon for less than $10, what a bargain.!


The live database book on SQL - One of the best ways to learn SQL is with live databases and real practical applications (even better, web applications). MySQL is the free opensource database which runs in Linux and Windows and has a wealth of supporting (often free as well) tools readily downloadable to use. And Michael Kofler's book , MySQL, does and admirable job of explaining the syntax of MySQL. Yes, you can get free downloadable copies of DB2 and Oracle but start here first - its 1/10 the size and aggravation but MySQL packs 80-90% of the wallop of the big boys. And Kofler's book makes sure you know where to go and how to install properly the Windows as well as Linux versions of the software.

Kofler also shows use of MySQL in working contexts with examples of VB, PHP, and Perl programs in both Select/query and Update/Insert/modify contexts. These real world examples including discussions of using transaction oriented features like InnoDB give the book a solid foundation. I have seen texts well above the $28 price deliver a lot less than Kofler does.


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