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SQL Antipatterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming (Pragmatic Programmers) Paperback – July 5, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1934356555 ISBN-10: 1934356557 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (July 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356555
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is obviously the product of many years of practical experience with SQL databases. Each topic is covered in great depth, and the attention to detail in the book was beyond my expectations. Although it’s not a beginner’s book, any developer with a reasonable amount of SQL experience should find it to be a valuable reference and would be hard-pressed not to learn something new."

—Mike Naberezny, Partner at Maintainable Software; Coauthor of "Rails for PHP Developers"

"Bill has written an engaging, useful, important, and unique book. Software developers will certainly benefit from reading the antipatterns and solutions described here. I immediately applied techniques from this book and improved my applications. Fantastic work!"

—Frederic Daoud, Author of "Stripes: ...And Java Web Development Is Fun Again" and "Getting Started with Apache Click"

About the Author

Bill Karwin has been a software engineer for over twenty years, developing and supporting applications, libraries, and servers such as Zend Framework for PHP 5, the InterBase relational database, and the Enhydra Java application server. Throughout his career, Bill has shared his knowledge to help other programmers achieve success and productivity. Bill has answered thousands of questions, giving him a unique perspective on SQL mistakes that most commonly cause problems.


More About the Author

Bill Karwin was born in Santa Cruz, California, and has never found a reason to leave. He received a degree in Computer & Information Science from the University of California, and has worked for over twenty years as a software engineer, consultant, and manager. Bill has specialized in relational databases, including MySQL, InterBase, and many others. He has answered thousands of questions from software developers online, and in his first book, "SQL Antipatterns: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Database Programming," Bill has collected some of the most repeated blunders.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Your book is very good at making this clear.
Alan C. Lawhon
If you take the time to read through this thoughtful book I'm sure you'll recognize some of the antipatterns.
Data Guy
This is a great book for beginning or seasoned developers!
Alan F. Larimer Jr.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Data Guy on July 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have a vast collection of SQL books. If it was published in the last 10 or so years, I probably have a copy. Some of them are very good, but there are quite a few similar-looking SQL books, with a similar purpose and a similar look-and-feel. So it takes some doing for a new SQL book to rise above the chaff... but SQL Antipatterns by Bill Karwin manages to do so.

This is not yet another book on SQL syntax or style. SQL Antipatterns is something altogether unique. The book is designed to point out the common things that SQL developers do, that they shouldn't be doing. Each chapter assists the reader in identifying, explaining, and correcting dangerous practices - or antipatterns.

If you take the time to read through this thoughtful book I'm sure you'll recognize some of the antipatterns. Some of you will have done them yourself, whereas others of you probably will have worked to undo some of them.

OK, many of you are still likely to be wondering what exactly is an antipattern is, right? Well, I'll give you one of the examples from Karwin's book -- Jaywalking. This is the first antipattern covered in the book and it is one of my favorites (err, I mean least favorites, I think). Jaywalking is when developers store comma-separated lists in a database column instead of redesigning the database structure in a normalized fashion. Karwin calls this jaywalking because both this practice and actual jaywalking on a street are acts of "avoiding an intersection." Funny...

Each antipatterns is described along with a clear explanation as to why it is a bad practice and advice on building a better solution.
Read more ›
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By HC Mitchell on July 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
I recently got a new job and inherited a vast collection of SQL queries to maintain. Reading Karwin's book has been a tremendous help! Each chapter considers a particular design issue ("How can I store more than one value in a field?") and shows the most common, flawed method (the "antipattern"). He carefully explains the disadvantages, then usually shows several other ways to accomplish the same goal.

One of the things I like best about the book is that the analysis isn't black and white. Every methods has advantages and disadvantages, which Karwin carefully unpacks. He also reviews and clarifies relational theory as he goes: his discussion of "Null" is a masterpiece. In general, he favors solutions that don't subvert the basic principles of relational database theory.

This would not be a good book to try to learn SQL or Database theory from, but if you are just starting to get some real-world experience it is a Godsend. Highly Recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Foti Massimo on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I must admit that there was barely anything new to me in the book, but I have been in the field for quite a few years, dealing with many projects, so I had the "privilege" of seeing many horror stories. Still, I feel the book is valuable even for seasoned veterans. The main benefit is that the author organized and grouped the anti-patterns, each one is analyzed very well and contains some wise, unbiased suggestions. Each chapter stands on its own and can be read stand-alone.
The book is worth an extra star because it deals with problems related to both database's design and application developing; most book out there either cover one or the other.
This should be a mandatory reading for beginner DBAs and application developers, veterans may like it too, since it can help refreshing some concepts and can be used as a reference too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank Stepanski on August 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is very unique as far as database design and writing SQL statements. I could be called a 'cookbook' or a 'how-to' book, but its much more than that. The word 'antipatterns' means a way of doing something that is counter-productive in some form or another. So its basically of way to NOT do something. That may seem weird, but if you are aware of ways (patterns) that are ineffective, you will try to avoid those ways and be a more effectve programmer, developer, manager, etc.

There are lots of SQL and Database design books on how to do proper SQL statements but there are very few if any on showing students on what NOT to do with SQL. Its a great way to continue to learn SQL and Database design and advance your skills.

The author does an excellent job in going through all the phases of SQL antipatterns.

1. Rounding errors
2. Phamtom files
3. Index shotgun
4. fear of the unknown
5. random selection
6. spaghetti query
7. sql injection
8. magic beans
9. see no evil
10. ambiguous groups

The names may sound funny, but they are very informative and definitley worth understanding to realy be and efficient database programmer.

A great book and a must buy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth B. Sizer II on March 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
"SQL Antipatterns" by Bill Karwin is a collection of 4~7 page chapters, each neatly organized into:
1) Here's something people often need to do
2) Here's the stupid solution they often come up with
3) Here's why that's a bad idea
4) Here's what you should do instead

The nice, bite-sized chapters along with the "standalone" nature of each are reminiscent of "Effective Java," another favorite.

Among other cuteness, the author refers to foreign keys that relate to multiple tables as "promiscuous"... I give extra points to anyone who can weave a little innuendo into an SQL text.
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