No one will remember tech books as great literature. They're a vast linguistic junk yard, yes, but at least one with a purpose. Although most teachers would flinch until their undies imploded at the thought, one can learn something from even a poorly written book. And look no further for bad writing than tech books. Their rush to market eagerness and probable demographic presumptions likely explain their often appalling syntax and spelling. Of course no one wants to read sloppy prose in any genre, but who really reads tech books for their literary qualities? If such a person exists, a slobbering impresario with a reality show contract likely awaits. The ultimate test for tech books remains utility. Can one read a given book and then produce something decent? If yes, then something of value exists.
Wrox books possess enough bulk to function as doorstops or bridge struts, definitely. And often the author/programmers' grinning or deadpan faces glaring in not extremely appealing black, white and red contrast don't inspire aesthetic spasms. Nonetheless, what they lack in artistic merits they often make up for in technical knowledge. "Beginning Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Programming" stands as one Wrox book that, for the most part, delivers. Anyone who has found themselves thrown head first into database programming can easily osmose the basics from this tome. It takes a while to read, but the investment pays off in depth of knowledge. Working with databases on any professional level would prove difficult without mastering this book's first twelve chapters. Go ahead and try, but have your resume ready. And though some software developers, particularly of the .NET variety, may now rest content with LINQ, knowledge of SQL and database technology would only enhance their skill sets. This book provides just the right background for such people.
Though the book contains some rough spots, coverage of the main points of T-SQL remains more than adequate. From SELECT, JOIN, CREATE, ALTER, CONSTRAINT, to normalization, views, stored procedures, user defined functions and triggers, this book will help anyone whose boss suddenly orders them in front of SQL Management Studio. Though more coverage of cursors would help beginners who find themselves faced with these monstrosities. And the trigger chapter leaves those murky and dangerous objects, which lurk like methane bubbles beneath cracking ice, still mysterious. The book's final sections provide previews of the "SQL Stack," which includes Integration Services (SSIS), Reporting Services (SSRS) and a dabbling of Database Administration. These provide only a meager tease. Larger books than this one exist on SSIS alone. Once again, this book requires a time investment. An installation of the SQL Server 2008 client also helps (other books cover the server side). But, like any investment, it can pay off when study integrates with practice.