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SQL Fundamentals

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the grabbing-data dept.

Programming 233

Slashdot's own Robo takes a look at SQL Fundamentals, writing "This beginner book takes a traditional look at the ever-popular Structured Query Language. Never bothered to learn SQL? Here's your chance. SQL Fundamentals, by John Patrick, takes a 834-page beginners look at the application of SQL to Access and Oracle. Read more for SQL Fundamentals' strengths, weaknesses and everything in-between."

This beginner book takes a traditional look at the ever-popular Structured Query Language. Never bothered to learn SQL? Here's your chance. SQL Fundamentals, by John Patrick, takes the first layer of SQL in Access and Oracle [robo, I find this a confusing phrase, not sure how best to recast, but somehow] and sums it up in this 834-page manual. Read more for SQL Fundamental's strengths, weaknesses and everything in-between.

The Basics

SQL Fundamentals discusses the practical realities of extracting information from a database. Patrick shows the reader how to use SQL in both Oracle and Access. The book starts with a brief overview of the roots of SQL and relational databases; after this introduction, the book covers select statements and the basics of a query. Each chapter builds on the next, and the book follows a simple progression, adding complexity as it goes along.

This book is a very easy read -- it flows much better than a textbook, yet still conveys the information it promises. However, it's definitely for newcomers to SQL. So, if you have any experience in SQL this would not be the best choice. (Chapter 1 explains the concepts of a cell, row, column, and table, which might be enough to let you decide if this book is at the right level for you.) Throughout the book, the author relies on applying each newly introduced concept to a single relational database example. This hypothetical database (a table of employees trying to calculate their meal credits) makes the book feel consistent, and helps eliminate confusion about where the example information comes from, but it's also limiting for readers who want a broader range of examples.

One of the greatest strengths of this book is its wealth of code examples and accompanying tables. In contrast to many other manuals, this book illustrates queries along with their effects on the tables. Other SQL books (ones I consider going up to "layer 2" SQL) have many example queries, but some of them fail to show any sort of results from their example tables. Also, much of the code in SQL Fundamentals is well documented, with footnotes explaining any changes that occurred.

Caution: Beginner Book

The book is called SQL Fundamentals. However, in this case, the fundamentals are only as they apply to the Oracle and Access databases. It mentions the existence of other distributions at the beginning of the book: "Oracle, Access, DB2, MS SQL, Informix, SQL Windows, Sybase, SAS sql procedure, FoxPro, dBase, Tandem SQL, MySQL, SQLBase, Cold Fusion, SAP, Business Objects, ODBC, Ingres, Ocelot SQL, OsloData, PostgreSQL, Rapid SQL, XDB, SQL/DS, Mini SQL, Empress, Interbase, Progress, Supra, SQL Report Writer, Paradox, Delphi, VAX SQL, Essbase, Beagle SQL, GNU SQL Server, Just Logic/SQL, PrimeBase, Altera SQL Server, DataScope, and PowerBuilder." However, Patrick never speaks of them again; perhaps he should re-title this book SQL Fundamentals: Applied to Oracle and Access? Readers considering this book should keep this in mind. The book explains things well, but the book's overall logic is geared toward those using one of those databases, and the examples are relevant only in that context.

I primarily use MySQL and Progress, so a book explaining SQL fundamentals applied to Access and Oracle isn't going to help me unless I specifically take on projects which use these particular databases. Also, The book often goes into unneeded repetition of subjects: for instance, the first 150 pages are all about select statements. I've never seen so many select statements picking apart one table. I personally think it would benefit from being trimmed down, and leaving further study to the reader.

The Plug

I would recommend this book to a newcomer to SQL. It covers the fundamentals just like it claims. After finishing this book, you will have a grasp on things ranging from the most basic select statements to unions, self joins, & cross-joins.

Something to consider might be what SQL database you will be working with. If you'll be working with either Oracle or Access this book will be helpful. If not, I suggest looking at things like Managing Using MySQL by O'Reilly.

Finally, from the text comes this concise answer to the question "Who Should Read This Book?"

Everyone with an interest in getting information from a database can read this book. It can be a first book about databases for people who are new to the subject. You do not need to be a computer programmer. The discussion begins at the beginning and it does not assume any prior knowledge about databases.

That seems like a fair summary; with the caveats already mentioned, I can recommend it for newcomers to SQL looking for a thorough but not patronizing introduction.


You can purchase SQL Fundamentals from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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233 comments

Colclusion: (-1, Flamebait)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608175)

This book recommends that you do not attempt to run SQL on a Linux machine, as it willl surely break down.

Re:Colclusion: (-1)

613746 (613746) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608214)

Linux or SQL will break down. Answer me you pagan.

Another thing, why did you buy an iBook if you hate Apple so much?

And why do you enjoy wearing your mother's panties.

And what ever happened to l33t j03 fan?

And why are you posting at 0, you karma whore?

Re:Colclusion: (0)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608260)

1) Linux will. SQL would if the OS would stay up long enough, like with BSD.

2) Did I buy an iBook? Maybe I did and I was drunk and don't remember, but I don't hate Apple.

3) I don't. You are thinking of cyborg_monkey.

4) I don't know what happened to him.

5) I'll have to go look through my posting history and see. I hadn't noticed until now.

My favorite query (-1)

ekrout (139379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608182)

SELECT * FROM Slashdot_Editors WHERE clue > 0
0 rows returned

Re:My favorite query (-1, Offtopic)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608233)

I have never regretted getting a First Post in my life until now. Sir, I wish I could turn back time and slow down my Submit button clicking. I wish I were not so lucky as to load Slashdot twice a day and regularly get the opportunity to FP.

In fact, I think I'll go buy a copy of "If I could Turn Back Time" by Bette Midler or who the fuck ever and force myself to listen to it as punishment for bumping your otherwise stellar post into second place.

The masterplan (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608405)

1. Learn SQL fundamentals
2. ?????
3. Get laid!

Re:My favorite query (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608786)

Don't you mean...

SELECT * FROM Slashdot_Editors WHERE clue > 0 >

because you forgot a semicolon? Oh wait maybe badder voodoo would happen...doesnt' the clue >0 part have to be in parens?

SQL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608183)

SQL 2000 = win. MySQL = slow.

Anyone Know? (3, Funny)

laeraun2 (472996) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608184)

When the SQL to this book will be out? Har de har har har.

Re:Anyone Know? (1)

Bi0h4z4rD (618737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608384)

Most likely when they're able to provide information on using SQL against a real database.

I'd take IBM or Sybase over these two any day! (Note: I am a Sybase employee)

Re:Anyone Know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608511)

Sybase is close to the bottom of its death spiral.

America sucks! FP. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608186)

Can it be, another FP?

Thank god I don't have to be near your fat Yanks.

eating at Subway is fundamental, too. (-1)

Trolling Stones (587878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608199)

At subway, you get a sub prepared anyway you like, by the friendly, efficient staff. Choose from mouth-watering veggies, succulent meats and cheeses, and a variety of freshly-baked bread. Why not stop in today and pick up some subs for the whole family to enjoy. I suggest the Italian BMT, piled high with genoa salami, pepperoni, ham, and provolone cheese. Top it with lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickles, add a few spritzes of italian dressing and you've got a meal fit for king. Subway: eat fresh!

g to the oatse
c to the izzex
fo shizzle my nizzle click here [jareddispatch.com] (note: the site is currently down. I expect it to come back online around Thanksgiving) to dispatch Jared and his formerly overweight goons to crack down on Subway if they don't honor the $3.49 Troll Tuesday deal. Make sure you provide the store number and address. Mine is store number 5839. Don't believe me about the concept of the jared dispatch? Yahoo has an article about it here [yahoo.com], although it is pretty light on the details.
Note: I've gotten a few comments that the link to Jared Dispatch doesn't work. I think the site got taken down because of abuse of the service. Although the site got taken down, I still highly reccomend Subway and their high quality subs. To show my appreciation, here is a link to Free Subway Coupons. I had to redirect it through Yahoo's site redirector, because my of the filter at work. Anyways, here is the link! [yahoo.com]
Note 2: I've received word that those links to yahoo actually point to goatse.cx. I am truly sorry about that, and I found the cause. A couple weeks ago, a hacker broke into yahoo and set up some scripts that redirect the user to goatse.cx if a file is in a certain directory. I accidentally tried to access a file in one of those haunted directories. I fixed the links (I have a cousin who works at yahoo), so they should bring you to the actual sites now, not goatse.cx. Update 10/28: The hacker, or should I say hax0r [mailto], actually has posted a page on yahoo on how he did it and how the goatse redirector works. It's a very good read. I suggest reading it soon before yahoo finds out about it and takes it down. Check it out ASAP [yahoo.com]!
Note 3: I am working on locating the articles using google's cache. It is taking some time because I don't remember the exact titles. However, I hope to have the links fixed and working very soon. Keep eating at Subway in the meantime, and request that they bring back the jalepeno cheese roll. It is a fanscrumptiously brilliant roll.
Note 4: To all those who think that sub is an incorrect term, I live in upstate NY, and we call it a sub here. There are no hoagies, grinders, po'boys, footlongs, heroes, or any other made up names. It's not hoagieway after all, its Subway.
Important: It is my duty to report to you, loyal low-threshold readers, of a very disturbing incident that happened to me last week. I went into subway at the normal lunch time, but instead of the standard line out the door, the restaurant was vacant. Normally, the queue doesn't concern me, since the crew knows enough to make me a footlong Italian BMT with my standard fixin's and have it ready at 11:30 sharp, on tuesdays. I approached the counter casually, when two bulky men appeared from each side of the potato chip display rack. They held me down, and Jared appeared from behind the counter. He took my preprepared footlong BMT and cracked an evil grin. The manager grabbed the bottle of italian dressing and lubed up my general ass area. Jared shoved the footlong Italian BMT repeatedly into my ass, mixing it with the chucks of feces that were in my bowels, until the fresh crisp veggies resembled brown spoiled food. I begged him to stop, but little did I know the torture waiting for me. He took the italian dressing, and squirted it into my pee hole. Now, it burns when I pee, and it hurts when I sit. I asked him why he was doing this, and he said that they had tracked me down for my abuse of the Jared Dispatch system. You see, Jared gets airsick, and his constant flying over the country has caused him to lose weight due to his vomiting on planes. Normally, this loss of weight would be a good thing, but Subway can't actually claim that he lost weight by eating Subway subs. They told him to put the weight back on and then lose it again by eating subs, somthing Jared does not want to do. As a result, they are the ones who closed down Jared Dispatch [jareddispatch.com]. I am begging you, loyal readers DON'T GO TO JARED DISPATCH [yahoo.com] ANY MORE. Thank you for your time. I have to go to Subway now, and tell them that I want less italian dressing on my footlong Italian BMT. Remember, if you don't eat at subway, then the terrorists win!

Sounds like a good read. (1)

natron 2.0 (615149) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608207)

This books sounds like a good read for those of us who know nothing about SQL databases. I am always up for learning new code and systems. I still consider myself a newbie on many computer topics so books like these always seem to help out.

834 pages?! (4, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608222)

How big is the typeface? I mean, come on, it's not that big a language after all and you could easily fit the basics into 50 pages at most...

Re:834 pages?! (1)

frunch (513023) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608404)

834 pages would be a TON for ANSI-standard SQL, given that there are a lot of things left out of that language (it doesn't even have a method for if-then-elses). I'd say a good intro to ANSI-standard SQL could probably be done in 30 pages. But I could easily see dedicating 100 pages to the extensions provided by each of the major database vendors (MS SQL Server, Sybase ASE, Oracle, etc.)

Re:834 pages?! (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608546)

Just a note, the whole point of SQL is that it's a *declarative* language. The addition of an if-then-else construct completely breaks that model, producing something which is sort-of-but-not-quite procedural. ie, PL-SQL and similar variants. So, no, of course ANSI SQL doesn't have an if-then-else construct... it was never meant to!

Re:834 pages?! (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608601)

I'd say a good intro to ANSI-standard SQL could probably be done in 30 pages.
SQL is like chess: 1 hour to learn. 8-12 hours to figure out how to play. 5000 hours to determine whether or not you actually understand it.

Don't get me wrong - you can do useful work in SQL with 20-30 hours of practice. But if you think that SQL can be taught in 30 pages you do not understand it.

sPh

Re:834 pages?! (3, Insightful)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608924)

Rubbish, chess is a very poor analogy for SQL.

SQL is a tool to interrogate RDBMS. For most IT people it takes a couple of hours to get to grips with basics of select, update etc Joins, sub queries come next.

You can do useful work in one hour of tuition. We have users using SQL after maybe two hours. 20-30 hours of practice, what the hell are you trying to do?

Re:834 pages?! (5, Insightful)

micromoog (206608) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608462)

Not having seen the book, I'm assuming much of it is dedicated to relational database concepts, explained via SQL. 834 pages is about right for an introduction. "Real" relational database design is a lot more complicated than most people (programmers particularly) realize.

You could list and explain all of the syntax for C++ in just a few pages, but I wouldn't call you a C++ programmer after reading it.

Underestimating the complexity of SQL? (3, Insightful)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608563)

First of all, you do have a point. SQL isn't a big language with a lot of features, but if you had really spent a lot of time working with SQL, you would know that SQL is a language usually implemented with A LOT of nuances, and that many problems that are easy in procedural languages that take a lot of work with SQL.

SQL is a powerful tool, but solving many problems with SQL can be very daunting at times, especially when you're dealing with vendor specific nuances.

Re:Underestimating the complexity of SQL? (1)

redfiche (621966) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608889)

>>>that many problems that are easy in procedural languages that take a lot of work with SQL

Right, that's why I use C++ or Java to solve those problems.

The age old question... (4, Interesting)

Mr Bill (21249) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608228)

Do you pronounce it Sequel or S-Q-L???

To me it is Postgres-Q-L and My-S-Q-L, but I think the Microsofties call it Microsoft Sequel Server...

Maybe good for a /. poll!

Re:The age old question... (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608278)

I personally prefer going with SQuirreL, but from dealing with other Oracle and ms DBAs most conformists go with sequel.

Re:The age old question... (3, Informative)

glwtta (532858) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608284)

It in fact is Postgres-Q-L and My-S-Q-L, but you use "sequel" to query both of those. I haven't seen anyone in a long time pronounce the language name S-Q-L, the names of the two products you mentioned are dictated by their respective developers, so it's a different matter. (incidentally, I'm as far from a Microsofty as it gets)

Re:The age old question... (5, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608459)

It in fact is Postgres-Q-L and My-S-Q-L, but you use "sequel" to query both of those. I haven't seen anyone in a long time pronounce the language name S-Q-L, the names of the two products you mentioned are dictated by their respective developers, so it's a different matter. (incidentally, I'm as far from a Microsofty as it gets)

It is properly S-Q-L because Sequel is something different (Structured English Query Language, an IBM project that never went anywhere). But the term "sequel" for SQL has come into common use, so it's the de facto pronounciation.

Microsoft people just call the product "SQL Server" which IMHO is like calling Windows "Operating System" but it comes from the old days when Sybase and Microsoft cooperated (circa MSSQL 4-6/Sybase 10). Sybase's product was called "Sybase SQL Server", but people just call it "Sybase" (akin to calling Windows "Microsoft"). When they split, MS kept the rest of the name.

You can easily spot a hardcore elite database guru by the fact that these people pronounce it "squirrel".

Re:The age old question... (1)

CarlFairhurst (104193) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608292)

Actually, what I've found with the people I've dealt with is that most US based people tend to say Sequel whilst over in Europe it tends to be S Q L. I've just got into the habit of pronouncing it however the other person wants to refer to it, as I'm more than happy to use it either way.

I know whenever I'm at a Microsoft event it's been pronounced the Sequel way, but I'm not sure if Oracle or IBM do.

Re:The age old question... (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608306)

AFAIK almost everyone says sequel, not just M$ites. What really has me wondering though is, is it Lynnucks or Line-ex and how do you say that Bjarne guys last name?

Re:The age old question... (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608348)

Actually, usage changed sometime around 1994. Prior to that most people said "Ess - Que - Ell"; after that date people started saying "see-quell". Never did understand why the change occured.

sPh

Re:The age old question... (2)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608412)

Actually, usage changed sometime around 1994

I think it started happening before then. I was doing SQL stuff back in the 1990 timeframe (even interviewed at Ingres and Sybase) and everyone I knew was saying sequel even back then. It might have been a Bay Area thing though, or maybe even specific to the "upstart" db's, don't know what the IBM or Oracle camp was calling it.

Re:The age old question... (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608485)

"Linn uks" would be the closest American accent equivalent. In Torvalds' accent, it's "Leen ooks".

Re:The age old question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608359)

SQUEEEL

Or what about... (2, Funny)

Vaulter (15500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608535)


I here you. I always get confused with 'C'. Is it pronounced "See"? Or as I like to refer to it: "C".

My coworkers like to read the "Fack" when they need help. If people ask me, I just tell them to consult the "Fa" "Q".

An "official" answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608567)

Actually there is an official answer. I have an aquaintance that has spend time on and around the ANSI X3H2 committe, and acccording to him the official pronunciation (yep, they actually argued over this) was "ess-que-ell", and not "sequel" or "squeal".

As if it was that important.

Re:The age old question... (2)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608846)

It's always pronounced S-Q-L. However, Microsoft (and Sybase) call their product "Sequel" Server. You see, Microsoft "Sequel" Server is basically the brand name of a satabase server that uses S-Q-L, in the same way that "Orace Enterprise Edition" is the brand name of a database server that uses S-Q-L, or "Apache" is the brand name of an HTTP server.

So, it's correct to refer to Microsoft "Sequel", as long as you understand that you're talking about the product, and not the language.

Re:The age old question... (2)

DunbarTheInept (764) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608936)

Maybe good for a /. poll!
And like most /. polls, my answer isn't listed.
I pronounce it "squirrel". I worked in a place where everyone said "sequel" and I hated that name. The strange thing is, I don't know why. I just did.

Learning Postgres Online (5, Informative)

johnalex (147270) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608237)

If you need to expand your SQL to include PostgreSQL, try:

PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts [postgresql.org] by Bruce Momjian

Practical PostgreSQL, by Command Prompt, Inc. [commandprompt.com] written by John Worsley and Joshua Drake of Command Prompt, Inc.

Very practical definitions, examples, and procedures. I'm still scratching the surface of SQL, so I haven't found anything yet these sources can't handle.

I've also found the Usenet Posgres groups useful.

Outstanding book (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608238)

I recommend this book highly!

Knowing SQL today is like being a literate man in the 15th century.

It's a must have!

open source databases (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608241)

I'm surprised they didn't mention FireBird. It's the actively developed version of interbase, and probably one of the best open source databases in existance, even though its relatively unknown. SAP DB (formerly Adabas) is another very mature open source database that is relatively unknown. MySQL and Postgres aren't the only options.

Slashdot Renames: +1, Informative (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608244)


itself to :

Slashdot- Book Reviews For Everyone: Books That
Don't Count

Thanks for nothing.

SQL (5, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608245)

Something to consider might be what SQL database you will be working with. If you'll be working with either Oracle or Access this book will be helpful. If not, I suggest looking at things like Managing Using MySQL by O'Reilly.

I would suggest not, because you will learn bad habits, and they will be hard to shake once you start working on a real database (Oracle, Sybase, SAP-DB, etc). I have seen MySQL programmers do massively inefficient (and stupid) things like retrieve a list of keys from one table, store them in an in-memory array, then loop through the array executing a select for each key in another table - because they didn't know about subselects. I've seen them put all sorts of redundant validation crap in the middle tier because they didn't know about constraints and triggers. I could go on and on...

If you want to learn SQL, you first need a solid general foundation like this [amazon.co.uk] (I have an earlier edition) then later study the extensions that each vendor provides (Oracle PL/SQL, Sybase T-SQL, etc).

Re:SQL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608410)

Oh yeah right. Like I'm going to take advice about SQL from someone named SQL*kitten. Pff.

SarcasM Mode off

Re:SQL (1)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608430)

The book is "Database Systems Concepts with Oracle CD", and here's the USian [amazon.com] link for us over in the colonies. Seems like an interesting book, but there's only one left, so I'll probably end up getting it on Amazon's re-order.

Re:SQL (0)

wikiwa (599074) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608465)

the only problem with that is that MySQL doesn't support subselects at this point. It's being added to the current dev version but not in production versions. so how would one using mysql go about doing a subselect if it's not there ?

Re:SQL (2)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608915)

It's being added to the current dev version but not in production versions.

I've been reading that same statement for about 2 1/2 years. You can expect a subselects in MySQL at about the same time you'll see Duke Nukem Forever under your christmas tree -- in other words, "real soon now", for sufficiently ludicrous definitions of the word "soon."

Re:SQL (3, Interesting)

joshv (13017) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608916)

I've seen them put all sorts of redundant validation crap in the middle tier because they didn't know about constraints and triggers. I could go on and on...

Validation logic belongs in the middle tier. The storage tier is just that - storage. It shouldn't be smart, and it very definitely should do anything else than storing the data I tell it to store.

Triggers, constraints - bah. All very vendor specific and they lead to application logic being strewn all over the tiers. Application Logic should be in the middle tier, period.

-josh

MySQL gains more users thanks to Apple (3, Interesting)

ekrout (139379) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608246)

With OS X came a bundling of MySQL, and CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) across the country thought to themselves that "Hey, if a big profitable company puts this package of OpenSource software into their flagship OS, it must be OK to use. Let's stop dishing out tens of thousands of dollars a year to Oracle and let's just use this free RDBMS implementation. (Sure, PostreSQL is a bit more weathered, but both are pretty nice considering their price).

Wider acceptance of MySQL and its related products/technologies is a good thing, and books such as this are only a good thing in my mind.

Re:MySQL gains more users thanks to Apple (1)

BShive (573771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608396)

It isn't there by default. However, Fink [sourceforge.net] makes it a snap to install and keep current - along with a ton of other OSS tools and software.

Re:MySQL gains more users thanks to Apple (3, Interesting)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608411)

Let's stop dishing out tens of thousands of dollars a year to Oracle and let's just use this free RDBMS implementation

For the last few years, my career has largely been based on Oracle products, so I have as vested an interest as anyone (save maybe Uncle Larry) in seeing Oracle continue to be the #1 choice for corporate databases, but I've got to say, if you even can run your application on MySQL, you really shouldn't have bought Oracle in the first place, because you've completely wasted your money. Only buy a product like Oracle (or Sybase, DB2, etc) if you know that you need its capabilities. If your application doesn't need subselects, triggers, real transactions, etc, then you might as well use MySQL, or even CSV on the filesystem!

Oh, and the R in RDBMS means "relational". Correct me if I'm wrong, but MySQL needs a plugin to even do foreign keys - you should really say just DBMS.

Re:MySQL gains more users thanks to Apple (3, Interesting)

MattRog (527508) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608726)

Having FK support does not make one a Relational DBMS. To those who are 'in the know' [dbdebunk.com] Oracle, MS SQL Server, even my beloved :) Sybase ASE etc are SQL-Based DBMS. SQL, to put it mildly, butchers most relational tenets and is not how Codd wanted it to work in the first place (enter IBM and SQL language).

But in the least case MySQL supports relations (tables) so it has, to some degree, a relational background. FK support is required according to Codd, but virtually all DBMS also break some of his other rules as well, so it depends on how deviant a product must be before it is declared non-relational.

Perfect opportunity for OSS in gov't (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608444)

With the Free Software Movement gaining steam. MySQL is the perfect vehicle for getting more Free Software used in government.

The IRS and Social Security should run all of their databases with MySQL!

Uh yeah right! (2)

Codex The Sloth (93427) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608661)

With OS X came a bundling of MySQL, and CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) across the country thought to themselves that "Hey, if a big profitable company puts this package of OpenSource software into their flagship OS, it must be OK to use.

Yes, the mindset of the fortune 500 lives or dies by what Apple does. "Hey I wouldn't buy any of their overpriced computers but if they think MySQL is great, it must be".

MySQL is pretty good though. Ah hee ah hee hee

Oracle 9i is free for download (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608249)

For those who don't know, you can download Oracle 9i for free:
http://otn.oracle.com/software/content.html

And if you want a video introduction to SQL, you can get a video course at:
nerdmaker.com

I don't get it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608251)

SELECT * FROM girls WHERE body LIKE 'hot' AND status LIKE 'available'

Mysql returned an empty result. *frustrating*

Re:I don't get it! (3, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608335)

Actually for most /.ers you would get a nice fat result set back, however, you'd be forced to do an inner join with the "LikelyToBeInterestedInASlashdotReadingNerd" table and then you'd get no results.

Re:I don't get it! (4, Funny)

r_j_prahad (309298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608395)

Typical view error...

CREATE VIEW girls AS SELECT * FROM slashdot WHERE sex = "F"

... returns an empty set iteself, so your subselect isn't going to do you any good, naturally.

some thoughs (2, Funny)

lfourrier (209630) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608252)

about the book:
It mentions the existence of other distributions at the beginning of the book: "... and PowerBuilder."
I know I stopped using PowwerBuilder with the version 7, and the version 9 is out, but at that time, it was not a SQL database, only a client for SQL databases.

about SQL:
SQL is a langage with which it is really easy to obtain a result that is not what you intended.

Re:some thoughs (2)

DevNull Ogre (256715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608963)

I know I stopped using PowwerBuilder with the version 7, and the version 9 is out, but at that time, it was not a SQL database, only a client for SQL databases.
I'd place that in the same company as Access, which the book apparently talks about extensively. Sure Access has its own DB back end, but it sucks. People who need to do real work with it use it as a front end to a real database.

Does anybody know if this book talks about using Access by itself, or if it treats Access more in the context of accessing Oracle?

What a waste of trees :-( (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608276)

A "7"! Nowhere near the standard "9".

I weep for the murdered trees who gave their lives for this. :-(

Username and password for oracle download (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608299)

Here is my username and password for a free download of Oracle 9i. You can get your own if you register.

username: support@nerdmaker.com
password: anon314

First time web "programmer" (2)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608307)

When I first started making dynamic web pages, I used access. I used acces for various reasons. 1. It was on a computer at school. 2. I was running win 98 at the time. Not many good databases will run with 98. Even though I wanted a database to keep track of things, I only had one option.

Even though I layed out the database in access, I didn't touch access after the file was created. I then moved to personal web server (an all the security holes that creates) to manipulate the database through ASP.

I know there are many others that because of various reasons are unable to get their hands on other databases, if you get the fundementals of sql through access, you are able to understand the majority of sql statements having to deal with other databases. Even though,things do differ, you have somewhat of a foundation to understand sql.

A Good Way To Scare A Beginner? (1)

occamboy (583175) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608313)

SQL is an interesting critter: you can learn the basics in 10 minutes, but mastery is very tough.

Seems to me that learning SQL requires a 10 page "which end is up" book (the PostgreSQL tutorial is good for this, if I recall correctly) -- enough so that one gets the basics, along with an 814 page reference for doing those big nasty queries that are needed in serious environments.

834 pages seems might intimidate a newbie!

Standard SQL? (4, Interesting)

K-Man (4117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608323)

I primarily use MySQL and Progress, so a book explaining SQL fundamentals applied to Access and Oracle isn't going to help me unless I specifically take on projects which use these particular databases.
A statement like this needs a bit of support. Does the book use proprietary features of Oracle and Access? Most of the basic parts of SQL are the same on all platforms.

Re:Standard SQL? (2)

bellings (137948) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608892)

Well, to start with, MySQL doesn't use anything even approaching standard SQL. As near as I can tell, some crack-addled monkeys briefly read a "Teach yourself SQL in 21 days" book before they wrote MySQL.

I don't know what Access does now, but in the past it too basically just ignored the SQL standard. At least we can trust that the Microsoft programmers were aware of the existence of the standard while they ignored it.

If you want a decent, reasonably compliant SQL engine, you'll probably use Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, or PostgreSQL. Of course, once you actually use any of those, you'll quickly discover the huuuuuge differences in implementation... It turns out that following the standard hardly matters as much as anyone thought...

O'Reilly? (2)

BShive (573771) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608328)

I think the SQL in a Nutshell is a great resource, but if you're just starting with SQL this sounds like a decent book, would be nice to have a comparision though. I've lost track of how many times I've had to explain what the first chapter covers (cell, row, column, table, etc). Maybe I should keep a copy around just to loan out in such cases. "Go read chapter one and come back later, then try tell me what you want done."

PS: Amazon has it for $34.99 [amazon.com] [associate]

moderation test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608333)

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FYI
Anyone who would mod down a love post would also eat their own children.

Don't click on slashdot book link (2, Funny)

RedWolves2 (84305) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608352)

Re:Don't click on slashdot book link (1)

draed (444221) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608470)

$29.95 at Bookpool [bookpool.com]

bookpool [bookpool.com] is the cheapest place to buy new technical books like 99% of the time...

Re:Don't click on slashdot book link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608510)

"like 99% of the time..."

Is that an SQL statement, or an annoying piece of Buffyspeak?

Re:Don't click on slashdot book link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608492)

What happens when someone reports your improper use of your affiliate ID to amazon?

Let's find out....

Re:Don't click on slashdot book link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608568)

Soooo cool. You've got to follow up your post to tell us how Amazon responds. Seeya later, Ralphieboy!

Redwolves 2 Strikes Again (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608495)

You get the feeling this guy sits at his office all day, hitting refresh on Slashdot's main page every two minutes, waiting for a book review to come up. Not that he's interested at all in the book, but so he can be the first one to post a link to Amazon.com, with his affiliate's ID embedded. Mod this guy down!

Even better... Bookpool (1)

sweepkick (531861) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608552)

http://www.bookpool.com/.x/rzzwsost6n/ss/1?qs=sql+ fundamentals

Bookpool is a great resource for technical manuals.

Re:Don't click on RedWolves2 book link (2)

VP (32928) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608712)

Go to bookpool.com to save money, click on the Slashdot link, if you want to help Slashdot...

Internet Vs books (2)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608380)

Quick way (internet) Step 1: go to mysql.com and download mysql
Step 2: go to google.com and enter:
+mysql +sample

Step 3: Spend some time reading, figure it out.

Standardized way (book) The advantages of a good book are mainly in the way of standardization and security. While I've seen books that were crap in reference to this, most do a much better job of providing code samples than the underinformed indivuals writing "samples." That being said, major sites like Zend.com and php.net still provide good examples etc, but in that case you need some fore-knowledge to know what to look for.

All IMHO of course. Many of us are "example learners" as opposed to "book learners".

Re:Internet Vs books (1)

Soggy_Cornflake (303767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608691)

Many of us are "example learners" as opposed to "book learners".

Considering the number of tetris clones I can find at Freshmeat [freshmeat.net] I'd have to agree with you.

For More Advanced... (5, Informative)

glenstar (569572) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608385)

For the more advanced, I *personally* would recommend Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties [amazon.com]. Celko is a rather bizarre character, but there is no problem that he cannot solve using ANSI92 SQL. None.

If you want to make the developers/DBAs/bosses in your company think you are an absolute god, get a copy of Celko's SQL Puzzles and Answers [amazon.com].

Re:For More Advanced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608917)

yeah, i'll second that. SQL for Smarties is a frikkin good book. It doesn't cover a lot of vendor specific quirk code, but like dude said, it covers ansi92 wonderfully. Definitely worth the money.

Learning SQL doesn't give you all the skills (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608419)

There is an element to database design that is a subfield of calculus. Just learning the syntax for CREATE TABLE and SELECT doesn't really get you very far. Understanding why relational sets are powerful, and being able to leverage that power to problem solving ends, is a far bigger learning process than simply understanding the syntax of SQL.

In order to fully comprehend, say, the works of E. F. Codd, one really needs a background in automata and in abstract algebra.

Re:Learning SQL doesn't give you all the skills (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608687)

In order to fully comprehend, say, the works of E. F. Codd, one really needs a background in automata and in abstract algebra.

In order to fully stuff, say, my cock into your mouth, you will need to dislocate your jaw.

I Found This Book Perfect (0, Troll)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608421)

Of course I took all the databases courses at DeVry but they never covered this obscure topic. I was recently laid off as an HTML Programmer for a Fortune 5000 Company. During my job search I found many other programming positions required knowledge of SQL in addition to HTML.
I read this book in a long weekend and am ready to design mission critical HTML and SQL application for your business.

10 foot pole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4608642)

Go design your own porn site to make money, but don't come anywhere near my company. Do you think I'm going to let you design "mission critical" applications after you read a book about SQL on the weekend?

Let me guess, you went to DeVry, didn't you.

Oh... wait.. ;)

Off-topically on-topic. (2)

eXtro (258933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608439)

I've just started teaching myself SQL a bit. Languages are easy, the problem is I don't have any formal training in databases, so while I can make a database do what I want I'm also probably doing it terribly inefficiently.


If I wanted to learn the theory behind designing databases what would be a good book to read? I'm thinking more along the lines of learning from a text book v.s. learning from The Blithering Idiot's Guide to Database Design.

Re:Off-topically on-topic. (1)

Lil'wombat (233322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608571)

Database Design for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Relational Database Design
by Michael J. Hernandez

Best book I've found for someone wanting to learn the basics of design. Covers normalization, referential integrity - the works.

Re:Off-topically on-topic. (1)

ddriver (613483) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608655)

Try Database Design by Ryan K. Stephens and Ronald R. Plew. 500 pages long, from Sams Books.

They cover the most important part of db design first (understanding the business and developing a good logical data model) then they get into normalization permission control maintenance etc.... The way it should be done. Usually people just sort of get in there and start to code something that looks kind of like the last project. That is the number one mistake to make in any type of programming. Analyze first and save your self a bunch of reworking later.

Access & Oracle? (2)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608479)

Does anyone else find their choice of databases funny? I could see MS SQL & Oracle, but aren't Access & Oracle two totally different beasts?

Access is for small db's, usually personal ones or very small business databases. Oracle is a big enterprise database capable of storing huge amounts of data.

Isn't that kind of like writing a book teaching you an introduction to writing batch files and mastering C++ all at once?

Re:Access & Oracle? (2)

rocjoe71 (545053) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608676)

...It's just the number of people that actually use MS Access is like 10000 times greater than the number of MS SQL implementers. Besides, if you know the SQL part of MS Access well enough, you'll already hit the ground running with MS SQL's T-SQL.

Oracle too is used alot more than MS SQL, but Oracle's PL-SQL is a different beast from T-SQL. Hence, you get 'reasonable' coverage of the SQL spectrum...

In an age where there's entire sections of bookstores dedicated to "Dummies" it's great to see authors giving due credit to their reader's intellect by showing them not just 'where to begin' but 'how far up you can go'.

A Beginners Book? Not at 834 Pages! (2, Interesting)

SailorBob (146385) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608573)

I use technical books to learn new subjects quite often, and a book that has 834 pages can't be considered a descent beginners book, prima facia. Something that big is more on the level of a reference book.

A beginners book should be concise. Take Kernighan's, The C Programming Language [amazon.com]. 272 Pages for learning one of the most important languages in computer science. Just you, the language, a few demonstrative exersices and that's it.

Newbies and SQL (3, Interesting)

boy_afraid (234774) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608620)

Great, another book for dummies. I'm in a group where everyone thinks they know SQL and are gurus. Hell, the don't even know what an index is used for? In fact, there is not one index in their entire 60 GB database, that's why I'm here, tuning the system. But, with this new "Fundamental", you need to get the user off on a good start. I think the first half of the book should be dedicated to the methodology or go through each methodology and have an example for each one. Okay, I can understand showing a newbie how to creat a SELECT statement, but also show how creating an index will greatly speed up said SELECT statemement.

Oracle is NOT a good system to start of with SQL, I think MS Access nice start, but Access SQL is syntax slightly differenct than the standard SQL-92. Also, Access has the PIVOT keword which does not exists in T-SQL and doesn't do the same think in PL/SQL. PIVOT is great, but is not a standard. This book needs to also show common problems and how they are solved using standard SQL, not propietary.

One thing I think Access has that is better than any other enterprise database system is it's query creation tool. I know MS SQL has finally added such a tool, but it comes nowhere near as easy to use as MS Access. And for strength of SQL I think Oracle wins, hands down, but for administration, you can't beat MS SQL Server. For turning, you can make a career out of Oracle. Granted, I have used Informix, Sybase, and Approach as well as Access and SQL Server, so my comparisons are going to be with Oracle, SQL Server, and Access.

Newbies need to learn how to design databases, drill them into they are spouting normalization on the streets. Also, get the newbies to learn to use lookup tables, DO NOT USE CHARACTER FIELDS to index or do searches on, USE NUMERIC, INTEGER, FIELDS! All the training in SQL is not going to do a bit of good if it takes an hour to retrieve a dataset that could have taken a few minutes with the correct indexes.

Re:Newbies and SQL (1)

tijnbraun (226978) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608833)

Always made me wonder... why does commerce server use varchars as primary keys? They do call it "uniqueidentifier" (things like "{1B3DB304-808B-4A07-882E-070E41D27816}") nowadays... but it just looks like a varchar to me.... If integers are much faster (which I would expect) why dont they use does... Why do they use the weird "uniqueindentifier" types...

long. Very long. (1)

Captain_Stupendous (473242) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608731)

834 pages for a beginner's book? Sounds like there's either more information in there than any beginner could find useful, or else there's way too much information to wade through to find what you're looking for. Of course, not having read the book, it could be a masterpiece for all I know...

Well this is a first... (2)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608789)


so a book explaining SQL fundamentals applied to Access and Oracle

Wow! Oracle and Access mentioned in the same sentence without sarcasm or outright laughter. Someone please note the date and time.

Life query (2, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 11 years ago | (#4608796)

select * from Programmers where MysqlKnowledge = 1 AND SexLife = 1;

> Error, column SexLife does not exist in this table.

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