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The Practical SQL Handbook: Using SQL Variants Paperback – 26 Jun 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 4 edition (26 Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201703092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201703092
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

This latest edition of the best-selling implementation guide to the Structured Query Language teaches SQL fundamentals while providing practical solutions for critical business applications. The Practical SQL Handbook, Fourth Edition now includes expanded platform SQL coverage and extensive real-world examples based on feedback from actual SQL users.

The Practical SQL Handbook begins with a step-by-step introduction to SQL basics and examines the issues involved in designing SQL-based database applications. It fully explores SQL’s most popular implementations from industry leaders, Oracle, Microsoft, Sybase, and Informix.

Highlights include:

  • Detailed coverage of SQL commands for creating databases, tables, and indexes, and for
  • adding, changing, and deleting data
  • Using the SELECT command to retrieve specific data
  • Handling NULL values (missing information) in a relational database
  • Joining tables, including self joins and outer joins (ANSI and WHERE-clause syntax)
  • Working with nested queries (subqueries) to get data from multiple tables
  • Creating views (virtual tables) to provide customized access to data
  • Using SQL functions

A bonus CD-ROM contains a time-limited, full-feature version of the Sybase® Adaptive Server Anywhere™ software as well as the sample database, scripts, and examples included in the book.

The Practical SQL Handbook is the most complete reference available for day-to-day SQL implementations.


About the Author

Judith S. Bowman has been a database professional since the early 1980s. She is currently an independent consultant specializing in SQL and relational database issues and is the author of Practical SQL: The Sequel (Addison-Wesley, 2001). Sandra L. Emerson is an independent consultant and former Vice President of Publishing Programs for Sybase. Marcy Darnovsky, teaches at colleges throughout the San Francisco Bay area. She was formerly at Sybase.


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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. JACKSON on 28 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
I needed an introduction to SQL and I found it 'par excellence' in this book. SQL is covered in great detail from its origins to its practical use in databases.
The example given were always clear, and accurate. The authors cover variants of SQL as implemented by several large database manufacturers. I didn't find that aspect to be useful to me because I am using MySQL which is not one of their specific cases.
However, I was able to use the examples in so far as MySQL itself complies with the standards.
Particularly appreciated although not strictly an SQL matter, was the chapter on designing databases which, in the spirit of the book, was entirely practical.
Since starting with databases, I have often struggled with syntax problems while constructing SQL queries. That's over now. I go directly to the relevant chapter and 'voila' there's the answer.
Last night, I forgot this lesson and spent some time fighting with a complex construct, unsuccesfully. Then I remembered this book. My problem was simplified by reading the sections on joins and subqueries and the recommendations for chosing between the two.
I never bothered with the CD (it's still in its envelope) because it didn't seem useful to set up a trial version of a Sybase Server which would fall over after 60 days. I'm afraid I'm more firmly anchored in the open source field and MySQL does what I need.
The final chapter on solving business problems covers some interesting cases and again is entirely practical.
This is a book which will be kept as a reference. You can dive into time and again for answers to database queries.
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By Tony Seaton on 20 Sep 2005
Format: Paperback
This has to be THE most useful SQL reference I have found to date. From developing database solutions to writing teaching materials or helping students, this book has proven invaluable, time after time.
For the experimenter, it also comes with a CD, providing a full sybase SQL server environment, and saving a lot of typing, if you want to use (or modify) any of the authors' code.
Splendidly presented and indexed, with some great examples, if you only ever buy one SQL text, make it this one!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Essential SQL Text Improves 18 Feb 2002
By Steve Knoblock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What makes this Fourth Edition to the Practical SQL series special is the approach to teaching SQL shared by all the editions in this series. The same statements and queries are covered by many SQL texts, but not with the same clarity or teaching philosophy.
Beginning programmers are often unaware that much of programming goes according to what I like to call "programmer lore." The accumulated tradition of practices that are not written down in any book of algorithms but handed down from programmer to programmer in back rooms and online discussion groups. This largely "oral tradition" that exists within the culture of programming is essential to developing real world applications. This handed down knowledge is essential because most authors follow their own academic interests in the more theoretical while most programmers are too busy to write down daily practice. As the foreword says, the idea for this edition is to reclaim this knowledge and present it as if folk wisdom handed down from a master chef.
I will not delve into the specifics of each chapter or repeat here the SQL concepts taught within, because all SQL books purport to teach the same elements. What makes this book different is the way it follows a set of principles designed to make learning easier.
The explanations are clearly presented in plain language without any unexplained buzzwords or digressions into mathematical theory. With each topic, the author starts with basics then follows through with more advanced concepts in a seamless manner without condescension.
The chapters concentrate on teaching how to do the things everyone needs to do, answering the frequently asked questions beginners have without cutting corners on relational principles. Practicality is the watchword where another author might be tempted to explain only idealized forms.
This books fits perfectly with my philosophy of learning. The explanations take the reader from beginning to advanced level seamlessly. They do not forego advanced concepts, "dumbing down" to the perceived level of the beginner. They do not try to "protect" the beginner from advanced concepts, but explain them with the same clarity as the novice ones, using language that anyone reading a newspaper could understand. In Practical SQL, both beginning and advanced concepts get the same plain language treatment. Even advanced programmers benefit from simple, clear explanations shorn of arcane jargon and obtuse concepts.
Another thing I believe in is providing copious example code for the learner. They first run to the code to see what it does, then later they can modify the code in order to expand upon it, using it as a prototype (an important concept in learning, making things your own; another is modeling, using the prototype to create your own useful tools). Practical SQL is filled with examples presented in a clear style with improved presentation. Examples are flagged by side heads and use larger type. In addition, tips appear occasionally. A lot of thought went into making the text readable and accessible.
I am a heavy user of MySQL and found the previous Third Edition of Practical SQL extremely helpful in understanding complex queries as well as understanding the limits and advantages of MySQL in comparison to the features of other enterprise servers. Like the consultant who wrote the forward, I find myself picking up Practical SQL when I have trouble with a complicated query, despite having worked with SQL for several years. I expect the Fourth Edition to be no less helpful.
You will not learn the details of web programming from this edition, but you will be left with a better understanding of the relational model and the language that drives your web applications. All without being required to wade through a lot of mathematical jargon. However, the author never compromises relational principles for simplification.
There is no doubt that you should have this book if you work with SQL in any way.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
significant limitations 20 July 2001
By Michael DeCorte - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book came to me with excellent references and I was eager to dive in. I found the book easy to read, and provides a good introduction. It is probably appropriate if you are doing some basic work with an existing database. However I had significant issues:
- many of the examples assume you are using Sybase and won't work on other systems. This bias may come from the tied with Sybase; the book comes with a Sybase CD and two of the authors are from Sybase.
- Attempts are made to point out differences between the various systems, however they seem to have been quickly added to allow for a fourth edition. The added text breaks the flow and adds confusion.
- It lacks the depth for building a database or complex work.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Much better than the impractical SQL Handbook 16 Sep 2005
By J. LoBasso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very helpful and clearly written. The chapters, while somewhat lengthy, cover the information slowly and in-depth. Computer geeks like myself can pick up this book and get a solid background in SQL without a class or instruction (though this is a textbook for some local classes).

The computer software is a 60 day trial of various SQL tools including SYBase. So many programs were loaded during the typical install it became difficult to decipher which ones were to be used with the text.

There were some editing errors in the book, unusual for a 4th edition and a textbook. So far, none have be of any consequence.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great reference book for a novice! 28 Aug 2007
By Lovecraft - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our lead DBA told me about this book (an earlier edition) and I bought it over a year ago. Up until Feb. 2006, I had no idea what SQL was. As a tech lover and "sponge of knowledge", I saw a need at my job to take over the ad-hoc report requests that burdened our DBAs. With teachings from them and a 2 day training class I embarked on my query writing adventure. 1.5 years later, I have learned a great deal and use this book about 1x/week! I do not do any programming (I'm a tech analyst) so this book is great for explaining 1) what the command means and 2) how to write it. I work in both Oracle and MySQL and have found that this book pretty much applies to both worlds. My only complaint (and this is SO small) is that sometimes I have very specific questions, like how to limit the row output, and the glossary in the back of the book is not that specific. Other than that, for someone without a programming or DBA background, I LOVE this book! I have even let other analysts in different depts. use it and they have found it helpful as well.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great depth of content, easy reading, not overboard but everything you need! 26 Feb 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best SQL book I've found so far. This is really just an update of "The Practical SQL Handbook" and that's a good thing. These authors do a marvelous job of explaining how to accomplish things with SQL without getting too deep. The writing is at a conversational level ... like you are speaking with a co-worker.

I think the organization of the book makes sense and have had no problems finding answers while jumping around the chapters.

This book has been around for many years (This is the fourth edition) and I can understand why. It is probably all you will ever need.

I also bought "SQL Queries for Mere Mortals". I haven't spent much time with it yet but it seems to be more a textbook to "rev up your SQL with hot licks" in its approach and not as much of a general purpose book like the "Practical SQL Handbook". I think the two of them cover my needs completely.
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