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VINE VOICEon November 19, 2002
Choosing one particular SQL book out of the dozens available was not an easy task. Here are the reasons that made me choose this one over the others:
* Book organization - Chapters are very well structured with very descriptive sections, making it easy to find what you want. The first page of every chapter lists the contents by section
* Ease of reading - Everything is explained and described with tables or diagrams. Chapters are summarized at the end with the most important points covered. SQL code is explained in detail using numeric references that are explained separately from the code. Other books clutter the code with explanations making them hard to read and follow
* Oracle and Access code examples - Two of the most widely used DBs are covered, allowing the reader to see the slight, but nevertheless important differences in coding requirements for each platform. Command results are also presented for every example to allow the reader to compare them with their results
* Topics covered - From What is SQL to How to use Oracle and Access, the book is detailed and specific without being overkill
* CD - It contains all the examples in the book, plus all the tables and data. The CD is compatible with 98/ME/XP/2000 and NT. The Oracle code can be used with Unix and their flavors
Some examples could have been more realistic though, instead of using lunches, fruits and colors in many of them. But this is a very personal opinion that will not affect the evaluation.
I have no regrets in choosing this book, it has made me understand the SQL virtues and also its limitations. The book was definitely created with a wide audience in mind, written with no silly jokes and no fancy graphics or fonts to show off. This is a very straight, solid SQL foundation book for people with not much time for distractions.
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on December 7, 2001
This is a *very* useful book. It explains the SQL language in a very clear and concise manner, covering the language in detail and offering excellent explanations. The book is also organized extremely well. The countless diagrams and screen shots are invaluable while working thru the examples.
Having come to a point where I needed to learn SQL (and understand it), and fast, I picked this book out of 4 I was considering. I whole-heartedly believe I made the right decision. Not only did I learn SQL, but I understood it too.
The book covers both MS Access and Oracle so if you're using either of those, and you need to learn the SQL language, this book is a great start! Heck, even if you won't be using Access or Oracle but have access to them for the purpose of the examples (I used Access for the examples but I needed to learn SQL for use with MySQL and MSSQL), this book should benefit you greatly.
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on January 31, 2011
The entire layout is very clean and the phrasing is concise. I was able to understand and grasp the concepts outlined in this book with little effort. I really like the way the author organizes the book because it felt like I was being taught by someone rather than just reading things from a book. Everything is approached logically and carefully, which made for a good learning environment.

You definitely need to follow along and use some sort of SQL application to get the full benefit from this. I was afraid at first that I would be limited to Oracle or Access, but it seems like the information here is probably applicable to most SQL systems. I personally used a free iPad application called Empress SQL Master and had no problems. The examples were simple and not very realistic, but definitely showed proof of concept.

The only problems I had with this book were very minor and mostly had to do with aesthetics. Sometimes the font was too small, or difficult to read (Large blocks of boldface console text). Although, the previous statement may be more of a testament to my poor eyesight. As well, the book is in black and white, which may be a pro for some, con for others.

Overall I would say this is a no-nonsense approach to quickly and efficiently learn SQL commands and their limitations.
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on December 30, 2002
I use many computer texts, and this title is one of the best, most clearly written guides/manuals I have seen. It has excellent organization, clear presentation, easy-to-understand examples. If you need SQL this is definitely the book. In a genre where authors often slap together sloppy books in record time (for low pay) this is a standout.
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on March 25, 2000
This is a very well organized and practical hands-on book. It explains what you have to do and then if you follow the exercises in the book, it works. I have tried the examples on ORACLE and they worked. This is one of the few books I bought recently that the CD actually works. The book assumes the readers have no prior knowledge of SQL. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn SQL.
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on June 13, 2000
I bought this book to cram for a job interview; although I've spent some time as an Access developer (read: power user), I've never really spent that much time looking at SQL as a language. I bought this book because it focused on Access and Oracle.
I really like the format of this book, because it does read like a workbook. The author introduces a topic, provides some examples, and then gives you some exercises. The code is available on a CD-ROM (which is nice if you're trying to cram a lot of information in a very tight time frame).
However, the editing is horrible, and it can detract from the learning. One example is the note from the editor to the author that was mistakenly left in the manuscript (whoops!) on page 347.
Overall, it is a handy workbook/reference, and should probably stay on your shelf.
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on May 11, 2000
This book takes you through each sql command in both the Oracle and Access environment. It is an easy read and starts with the most elementary commands and moves to more advanced commands. The only draw back to this book is that John Patrick does not always give complete and detailed explanations for what is happened. The exercises at the end of the chapters are excellent but you do not have the output for all of them. So you have to hope that you have the correct statements. This book appears to have few errors which is a plus. As I have proceeded through this book, my confidence has increased. Would highly recommend this book.
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on November 11, 2000
In need of some fast SQL-knowledge, I bought this book a year ago and have read it twice since then. It covers both Oracle and Access SQL. Being an Access Developer used to just click queries together (sorry to all you "serious" devs out there), this book opened my eyes and sent me straight back to the bookstore for some more SQL. If you're not into SQL yet and need a mind-snack to get you warmed up to the idea of working in a non-visual environment, this is the book you should read. Unless of course, you're not using Oracle or Access in which case this book is utterly useless to you.
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on January 30, 2001
I found this to be a very good read on SQL. I learned SQL in a whirlwind fashion in college. I then began programming in Oracle and found that I could use some review of SQL. This book is the only one that I found that would fit the bill. It was just the re-calibration I was looking for. It does have a couple of typo issues (few) but, it wasn't in the code examples. Considering the speed that these books are produced to keep up with the technology, I think John Patrick did a good job with this book. I would give it high marks as an SQL reference. I haven't found one yet that compares.
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on August 18, 1999
This is an excellent book on SQL that is practical, because it talks about SQL for Access and (gasp!) Oracle. The organization is neat and the writing crisp clear. I just wish there were more project-like examples.
I'm reading a library copy right now, but I'll buy a copy later today. It's one of the rare books that one must have.
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