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Learning SQL 2nd Edition

71 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596520830
ISBN-10: 0596520832
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Master SQL Fundamentals

About the Author

Alan Beaulieu has been designing, building, and implementing custom database applications for over 13 years. He currently runs his own consulting company that specializes in designing Oracle databases and supporting services in the fields of Financial Services and Telecommunications. In building large databases for both OLTP and OLAP environments, Alan utilizes such Oracle features as Parallel Query, Partitioning, and Parallel Server. Alan has a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Research from the Cornell University School of Engineering. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters and can be reached at


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2nd edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596520832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596520830
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Larry on March 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Like everyone else, I'm pressed for time. It's all I can do to keep up with Java, let alone related incidental technologies such as SQL, JavaScript, HTML, Ant, etc. But as one reviewer pointed out: make no mistake, you need to know SQL. And if you don't (hell, even if you do), this is just a flat-out good book to have and read. I had previously purchased and read "SQL for Dummies", but threw that book out when I got this one. (To be honest, it wasn't just this book that made me toss the "Dummies" book; I never really liked it to begin with.)

I like the way "Learning SQL" is written. Sure, facts are presented, but the author does a masterful job of telling you how and why those facts exist. In addition, the conversational tone of the book proceeds along the path you'd expect from a real conversation: from the simpler to the more complex, in a logical and sensical path. (Okay, so most conversations don't fall into that category. But this book sure does, so do yourself a favor and buy it!)

Oh, and one more thing related to being pressed for time: it's not the technical-typical 700+ pages, it's just a few hundred.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you're writing any type of database driven code and you think that you don't need to understand SQL, read this book. You do need to understand it, and this book teaches it very well.

Man, I'm so tired of cleaning up bad SQL code. Code that makes hundreds of queries when one would suffice. Or tables that have no primary keys. Or code that never makes use of joins. SQL is not horrible. It's worth understanding and knowing how to write well.

This book is well written, well illustrated, and makes learning SQL as pain-free as it can be. Please, please, please, read this book.
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148 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Garland on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
It seems like most of the people writing reviews for this book already know databases to some degree. I didn't, so I'd like to share my experience.

This book takes an old-school, grammatical approach to the SQL language, grouping related commands into chapters, then explaining each, one by one.

This makes the first part of the book exhilarating. You go to the O'Reilly website and download a database to work on, and immediately you are querying, updating, etc, using the examples from the book. SQL at first seems refreshingly direct and powerful compared to the (OO) programming languages I know.

However, the 'a command followed by long verbal explanation" approach completely falls apart when the content goes even a little deeper. For me, the book took a nosedive at the first "Joins" chapter, and never recovered.

It was then I realized that I had not yet firmly grasped what a 'foreign key" was, so it was hard to get my head around the the idea of a join.

A simple graph would have helped at many points, but there are no graphs.

Nor are the code examples embedded in meaningful contexts or test cases. Indeed, the reasons for writing the code are almost in every case revealed AFTER the code is shown ("in that last query, the intent was..."), and the code is never commented, which makes it harder to understand and retain. And without any context, it is difficult to understand WHY to use one command over another. It seems like you can skin a cat a million ways in SQL--so why prefer one kind of filtering to another? Performance, readability, what?

I guess it sounds like I just wanted this book to be a 'Head First'-type book, and that's true. But even on its own terms, this book is frustrating.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
To all my Notes/Domino developer colleagues, here's a tip you already know... it's time to learn SQL. If it's been on your list of "things to learn or brush up on", I'd recommend the book Learning SQL by Alan Beaulieu. It's an excellent way to get up to speed (or *back* up to speed).

Contents: A Little Background; Creating and Populating a Database; Query Primer; Filtering; Querying Multiple Tables; Working with Sets; Data Generation, Conversion, and Manipulation; Subqueries; Joins Revisited; Conditional Logic; Transactions; Indexes and Constraints; ER Diagram for Example Database; MySQL Extensions to the SQL Language; Solutions to Exercises; Further Resources; Index

Notes/Domino 7 incorporates the ability to store your Domino data in a DB2 repository. Then using Data Access Views, you can create application views that use SQL statements to generate the selection formula. While you don't absolutely *have* to know SQL, it'd be a good time to start adding that skill to your repertoire. Beaulieu's book is a clearly written tutorial on SQL that uses the open source MySQL database package to teach you the necessary skills. I like the decision to use MySQL, as it's something that's free and available to everyone. Trying to get DB2 up and running can be difficult, and it's definitely overkill if you're just trying to learn SQL. When you finish this book, you'll know all the key concepts that will allow you get data out of (and put data into) any relational database table out there. Obviously that's a valuable skill to have in your toolbox...

So... commit to picking up a new skill or two in the upcoming year. I'd recommend that one of those skills be a fundamental knowledge of SQL, and Learning SQL can help you get there.
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