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Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming Third Edition (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems) 3rd Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0123693792
ISBN-10: 0123693799
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a classic, and this revision will merely solidify its position." --Rudy Limeback

SQL for Smarties is a well-known and highly regarded text in the industry and a new edition of the book will be sought by database practitioners regardless of the DBMS they use. --Craig Mullins, BMC Software

Book Description

A completely revised edition of the classic advanced SQL book!
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Product Details

  • Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems
  • Paperback: 840 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 3 edition (August 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123693799
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123693792
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,847,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that are perhaps nice to have IN ADDITION to something better. Btw, do NOT overestimate the "for smarties" part in the title: the book is not all that advanced: it's more like an extensive cookbook with a lot of personal opinion thrown in (not always consistent; for example, in one place he inveighs against the evils of using sequential-number sequences as primary keys -- 'cause a table is not a sequence, you see, we're talking about sets here, who, by definition, are unordered -- OK, fine. Ten pages later he blasts the GUID type -- why? Because it's not inherently sequential and it's hard to spot the gaps in the sequences. But hey, why do we care about gaps? All we care about is that the field values be unique, which they are, gaps or no gaps. Seems like GUIDs should be perfect from the set-theoretical point of view, but no, he doesn't like them -- precisely because of the presence of those aspects, the lack of which he bemoaned one chapter back in the IDENTITY type. It's like he wrote these two chapters one ten years after the other, and forgot what he was talking about in one when writing the other.

The content (or rather the intent behind it) is very good. There's a logical progression from the overall-schema things, to tables, and so on, including such esoterica as hierarchies and graphs (which is good not only, or even not so much because of the topics themselves, but because nice recent SQL features like CTEs are used a lot in the sample code thus demonstrating their non-trivial use).
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Format: Paperback
The first part is sort of like a readable presentation of the SQL specification itself: he goes over all of the details, but spends time discussing why certain features exist, how they came to be, and some of the pitfalls associated with them. Apparently, he was involved in the creation of the SQL standard, so he has a somewhat unique perspective on some of its finer points.

You're expected to know SQL before picking up this book, and know it well - at a minimum, this should be your second (or maybe third) book on SQL. In chapter 4, for example, he says "It's obvious this had to be a self-join", although joins (self or otherwise) aren't even introduced until chapter 17. This book won't teach you how and when to use outer joins or aggregate functions; it assumes you already have a (very good) handle on that sort of thing, and instead talks about the corner cases you're liable to run into. Although it's really amazing how far he manages to stretch SQL in this book, he doesn't try to do is try to teach you to _think_ like he does. He just shows you what he's come up with.

His examples range from the insanely clever to the borderline criminally insane, but some of them are also the sort of thing that would dim the lights if you tried to use in a real database... and almost definitely something that would be easier to maintain procedurally. The author admits to this himself, especially in the later chapters of the book where he concedes that the techniques presented aren't really good fits for SQL, but "here's how you could do it anyway".
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Format: Paperback
Don't be tempted to buy this book unless you have at least a year of experience writing complex SQL and a reasonable knowledge of the underlying data structures and database paradigms. In fact the author has a brief gripe about beginners criticising his book as not being suited for them. The book is not designed for beginners. However, if you have a suitable level of experience then this book is a must. Full of technical know-how and the supporting theory or logic in most cases. The kind of knowledge, that takes decades to accumulate, jumps off every page. If you have done a few of those same hard yards you will quickly appreciate the benefit from the distilled experience on offer. The book is written in an easy conversational style that makes even the hardest stretches of logic easy to digest. The short and concise code samples demonstrate the points made in the text very well. Solutions to every day problems are built up step by step, with each step clearly showing the progression of the logic and the potential pitfalls. In short anyone with intermediate SQL skills or higher will get tremendous advantage out of this book, I thoroughly recommend it.

Starting from the theory of database design, the book moves into Normalization, data types operations, statements, views, functions, statistics, series and gaps, arrays, trees, temporal queries, OLAP and optimization (not a complete chapter list). In short many of the same topics you get in an introductory or intermediate level book. However the depth of the coverage and the practicality of the advice and treatments given to the actual problems that dealing with these things entails, sets this book apart.
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