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on August 31, 2000
If/when there is an SQL-99 edition of "SQL--The Standard Handbook" by Cannan & Otten, forget about this book. Cannan & Otten's book about SQL-92 is clearer and better organised. I'd have been lost in this book had I not read Cannan & Otten first.
Content editing is sloppy. For example, we learn on p62 that unary + changes the sign of an operand. On p67, we are given an improved arithmetic expression which computes something completely different from its original. On p61, we are given a recipe for rounding that doesn't work for negative numbers. And so it goes.
One thing Gulutzan & Pelzer provide but Cannan & Otten didn't is a free SQL system. I have accounts/access to seven different machines with five different CPUs and six different operating systems, but the software does not run on any of them, so I cannot review the software.
Neither, for that matter, do the HTML files work. In a typical piece of sloppiness, the file names on the disc are like "appb.htm" but the references inside the files are like "appB.html". I had to copy all the HTML files and rename them before they were browsable.
In a book this size internal cross-references need to be very good. Modern SGML-based publishing technology makes it easy to produce excellent internal links. This book could be better, and as it is a reference book, it really should be better.
A trap for young players: in 1997 I found that a major vendor who claimed SQL 92 conforrmance was being economical with the truth. They conformed to the SQL 89 subset of SQL 92, but on fairly basic things like VARCHAR fields, did not conform. It will be a while before we can rely on some of the new stuff in SQL 99 being available. Just because there is something useful described in the book, don't expect to be able to use it yet. The advice about what is in the Core and what is not is *VERY* useful.
Producing this book must have been an enormous amount of work, and despite my whinging, it will save its readers an enormous amount of work trying to make sense of a rather prolix and complex standard.
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on October 25, 1999
SQL-99 book has been a great help to me. It is the best technical manual i've read over the last years. Without it i could not have done my coding.
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on May 30, 1999
SQL-99 Complete, Really is a suburb reference for all things standard about relational databases. It should be a required reference for any developer serious about relational databases.
Even for those who have just begun to delve into the complexities of database implementation, the clear language of this book explains the vocabulary and structure "under the hood" of database development. It's claim to completeness seems well justified and will not disappoint the technical veteran. It clearly explains the SQL standard, its history, context and usage. There are complete explanations of basic database concepts, the use of SQL and the call-level interface (CLI) that is the basis for ODBC and any number of middleware applications and database engines.
In our current forrest of database technologies, Gulutzan and Pelzer have given us the rosetta stone for unraveling and understanding it all. Every developer in SQL, ODBC, or any database claiming to be relational, will find clarity and understanding here.
It is a welcome addition to my library and has already improved the quality of database work coming from my company.
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on October 15, 1999
the book is huge and has much useful information in it. However, I was somewhat disappointed in regard to the completeness claim the title (and the size) suggests. Especially the more advanced features (the book marks most of them them as "obscure") are not covered well at all. In particular, the new features for handling inheritance with UDTs are hardly ever mentioned, let alone illustrated with examples.
It seems that in places where they lack experience of their own, the authors copy the reference manuals at best, sometimes not even that.
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on October 7, 2012
TLDR (a summary for the impatient): do *not* buy this book. Instead, consider 'SQL: 1999 Relational Language Components' (or the second volume) by Jim Melton. SQL: 1999 - Understanding Relational Language Components (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)

A few months ago I was on an Amazon shopping spree -- just ordering any half-decent looking ANSI SQL book that seemed to have a bargain price.

This book was one of several dozen that were delivered to my home and have since gathered dust until I finally got around to perusing each one.

I began reading this book today and I was horrified. I have actually read much of the ISO standards documents for SQL:1999, and I fail to see how this book is any improvement over just reading the obtuse standards. This book is mostly just a section-by-section, point-by-point "copy and paste" job.

I mostly believe that it is barely worth my time and trouble to write this review, but I felt compelled to do so for the sake of future shoppers. I was compelled by the mysterious fact that this book's Amazon reviews contain seven 5-star reviews!! How on earth?!!

Of course, it is *very* *telling* that all but one of these 5-star reviews were posted by individuals labeled only as 'A Customer'. That is always a red flag in my book. 'A Customer' who? Where is their review history and profile and any other evidence that they are an actual legitimate and objective reviewer?

As I said at the beginning of this rant, there is a better alternative. The alternative is by Jim Melton and has ISBN 1558604561. Melton's book is clearer, more insightful, more interesting, more readable, better edited, better sourced, and on and on. I plan to write a review of Melton's book later, but that book review will actually merit more thought and reflection on my part. This terrible Gulutzan & Pelzer book is not worth the effort on my part to give any deeper critique than this. Done!
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on July 30, 2010
This book helped my efforts writing cross-database applications, open source libraries and educational materials. I've used it as a reference book. Reading it cover to cover should only be left to those with a _lot_ of time on their hands.
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on September 9, 1999
It's really good to read, complete (as the name says) and very practically oriented. It is in fact the only book that I would recommend to people who don't know SQL. Alas alas there is no German-language book on the theme at an acceptable level.
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on May 30, 1999
SQL-99 Complete, Really is a suburb reference for all things standard about relational databases. It should be a required reference for any developer serious about relational databases.
Even for those who have just begun to delve into the complexities of database implementation, the clear language of this book explains the vocabulary and structure "under the hood" of database development. It's claim to completeness seems well justified and will not disappoint the technical veteran. It clearly explains the SQL standard, its history, context and usage. There are complete explanations of basic database concepts, the use of SQL and the call-level interface (CLI) that is the basis for ODBC and any number of middleware applications and database engines.
In our current forrest of database technologies, Gulutzan and Pelzer have given us the rosetta stone for unraveling and understanding it all. Every developer in SQL, ODBC, or any database claiming to be relational, will find clarity and understanding here.
It is a welcome addition to my library and has already improved the quality of database work coming from my company.
0Comment1 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 26, 1999
Over a 1000 pages of nicely-written examples, and one of the most complete descriptions of SQL currently available. If you're looking for an up-to-date comprehensive reference on ANSI SQL-99, this is definitely one to consider.
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on August 18, 2000
While I continue to struggle through the ANSI SQL-99 Standard, this book is a breath of fresh air in understanding. What a fantastic job!
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