Transact-SQL is the SQL Server dialect of the SQL language so if you are an Oracle or MySQL body (or any other DBMS except SQL Server), this book is not for you. If you are looking for a book on SQL Server administration, please look elsewhere. This is not the book for you, as it covers the Transact-SQL language and nothing else. Phew...now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can discuss the actual book. If you're new to SQL and use SQL Server exclusively, then this book is pretty darn good. I don't agree with the author that programming experience is helpful, though if all you need to do is write simple queries, this book is more than you need; check out Sam's Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes. If you need to go beyond simple SELECT and INSERT and tap into aggregates, stored procedures, cursors, triggers, and views, then this book is certainly a serviceable tutorial, though I feel that the author focused too much on the HOW of Transact-SQL and not enough on the WHY. It's all well and good to teach us how to program a stored procedure, but in my opinion the book lacked practical advice on how to implement these new skills. Maybe that's where the 'programming experience helpful' part comes in, but I've found that I use the book far less than I thought I would. If you're already fairly comfortable with SQL and need to do serious programming using SQL Server, Robert Vieira's Professional Programming in SQL Server 2000 is a better bet, and it includes a brief Transact-SQL tutorial. If you are looking for a Transact-SQL reference, this book will not fit the bill; I found it to be a poor reference (because it's an instruction manual), though it is well-indexed. I also found that it did not cover certain functions (namely CAST() and CONVERT()) clearly enough. However, if you're a programmer who is new to the Transact-SQL language and don't know anything about writing queries and don't need to know much about SQL Server's administrative features, then this may very well be the book for you.
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