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Sql Cookbook (Cookbooks (O'Reilly)) Paperback – January 3, 2006
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About the Author
Anthony Molinaro is a SQL developer and database administrator with many years experience in helping developers improve their SQL queries. SQL is particular passion of Anthony's, and he's become known as the go-to guy among his clients when it comes to solving difficult SQL query problems. He's well-read, understands relational theory well, and has nine years of hands-on experience solving tough, SQL problems. Anthony is particularly well-acquainted with new and powerful SQL features such as the windowing function syntax that was added to the most recent SQL standard.
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If you are using T-SQL, I think Ben-Gan's book is a perfect intro to this one. However, this is the book that takes you to another level. This is the book that enables you to find solutions that others won't be able to. This is the book that makes you a player at work if you aren't a developer and you write SQL. There are no functions, triggers, optimization, table and view creation details. This book is about pulling whatever you want with those things already created (although there is a chapter on metadata and another on inserting/updating). So it isn't for everyone (Developers and Beginners especially).
Also, the book's date may scare people. I mean, the book could use an update as it is working with SQL Server 2005 (if you write T-SQL like I do). Based on the date, I'm sure the editions of the other platforms are outdated as well. With SQL Server 2005 capabilities though, you still get Window Functions, Pivots, string extraction, cast, convert, etc., and some of the Oracle functions not in SQL Server 2005 are a part of T-SQL in later editions, so at times, you can use the Oracle solution or pieces of it if you are using the latest edition of SQL Server (if you need to use lead and lag for example). The important functions that still exist are there for the most part (Concat for example, is not).
Most people know how to use partitioning, cases, and subqueries, but can they cast an integer as a string to cast it again into decimal, average that decimal using a case statement that filters out negative values and partition the average as a window function based on multiple criteria all in one line? This book turns you into a magician, and it is all hands on examples, no filler, no lengthy unneeded explanations. Learn by doing.
I love all of the great code examples for very real and common problems. This book will not hold your hand and walk you through the language but it will provide you all the resources to become better acquainted with the language and further upgrade your skill set.
My experience: Former BI analyst and current Sr. Developer.
Sure, I could write a 'SELECT' statement or perform and 'UPDATE'.
But, I did not know how to approach SQL as being a 'complete' solution for record selection.
The Crystal Reports portion was not too much trouble.
I was using the PL/SQL environment for creating the SQL. Oracle 10g.
Mr. Molinaro's book was instrumental in having me develop what turned out to be some rather complex SQL.
It took awhile to get to use SQL's window functions. But, the author's presentation/explanation made them more than approachable---and quite useful.
I liked the explanations that covered the multiple vendors' database engines.
I will make no pretense of having reached SQL knowledge 'nirvana'--However, there was more than one time where I was out of ideas on how to get/count certain data----The SQL Cookbook did its job by showinge 'yet another way' to approach a pressing problem with a solution.
And one can gain a deep understanding of how SQL works. Always a plus for anyone that is new to an environment.
If there was something like a SQL University, this book seems to be text that would work very well for giving students more than enough 'footing' to face the 'real' world. It did for me.
I am more than pleased to have this book as part of my SQL 'library.'
I am not sure how effective this book would be for someone who works on intermediate or advanced queries on a frequent basis. The recipes run the gamut from simple to complicated. However, for someone who needs to dive back in the queries once a month or so, it is a great reference to have on hand. The database-agnostic approach has also benefited me as I moved from an Oracle shop, to an outdated SQL Server shop, to a modern SQL Server shop.
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How much useful can be seen by my extensive use of highlighting and bookmarks.
It certainly boosted my productivity, especially the sections about Cubes, Window Functions and Common Table Expressions (CTE).
However, I would like to have seen a brief discussion of the impact of window functions on performance in addition to (or instead of) the needlessly abstract explanations in the appendix. More generally, some quick tips on optimizing the performance of queries would have been helpful, and could have been done without straying beyond the scope of the book. That said, from the point of view of a developer in need of quick answers this book does exactly what it promises - helps the reader rapidly identify a solution to most problems involving SQL databases.
Being new to SQL, I found this book to be very helpful. The examples are good, easy to follow and have allowed me to carry on with my work.
A useful book to have in your library.