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Books Online gone prolix
on January 14, 2008
I was disappointed with this book, which I bought together with SQL Tuning by Dan Tow, hoping to get well-digested expert advice. SQL Tuning was all that I hoped for, and I highly recommend it.
This book, though, has that creepy quality so common to MSFT Press books, where very knowledgeable people, usually connected with the MSFT development teams, list feature after feature in long, passive-voice descriptions, failing to discriminate for the reader and advise as to what is useful and what is not. You have the sense that they spent lots of time at trade shows touting the latest horde of "features", and little time coding under the strain of deadlines and client expectations. To them, every SQL Server nuance is always useful and wonderful and should get fair mention :(
This is a simple example, but SQL Tuning tells me that table scans are normally fine when selecting above 20% of rows, and index seeks are good for row counts under a percent, the space between depending on circumstance (which gray space the book goes on to address). This book, meanwhile, provides no real guidance, and tells me that table scans can be good, and indexes are useful too, and that SQL Server handles both nicely, and that the optimizer selects one or the other, and that it uses iterators, and that they are important, and that you can see what the optimizer has selected, and that you can change that if you want, and that you can automate the change, and that you can document the change, and here are the 4 related undocumented stored procs, and that this is new for 2005, and that there are other related matters, and that SQL Server has all this. Thanks!
Seems they are always plugging the product and never can admit to having suffered with its complexity. The recommendations, if you get them, are always muted by a kool-aid soaked affinity for SQL Server, which does all things well and will never fail to offer just the feature you need to succeed.
The book runs very long and strikes me as a big core dump on 3,000 topics, none of which seem prioritized or emphasized in distinct categories. Sure, the book has distinct chapters into which related material is dumped, but this fails to serve as **guidance**, which is what you are buying the book for. Not written by people in the trenches. Not recommended unless you want to buy some additional MSFT documentation.