SQL In Easy Steps For Web Developers, Programmers & Students, by Mike McGrath
One of the occupational hazards of moving from excel based reporting to database administration is the urgent need to acquire technical skills in how to write queries. So, my coworker and resident expert on databases has been preparing a crash course of reading and reference materials on SQL so that I can get a basic hang of the architecture. This book is one of a series I will be looking at, so for those readers who appreciate my more technical book reviews, this is a change of pace from the sort of book I normally read. That said, this book, even given its technical content, certainly was written for a broad audience, and may even be a bit too basic for its intended aims, unless those aims are to get someone’s feet wet with very basic queries and understanding before moving to more challenging material.
This book lives up to its name. At about 170 pages of main material, and some appendices that include restricted words and some basic queries that probably need to be read and referenced, this book is not a demanding read. It divides up a basic understanding of SQL, including an explanation of basic syntax and the structure of relational databases, into about fourteen short chapters that follow more or less the material of my basic introduction to SQL courses that I have taken. Included are introductions to adding and dropping tables, inserting information, performing basic inner and outer joins, summary calculations, sorts, and the like. This is practical information, and the book does a good job of explaining these tasks, at least at their simplest level.
With a broad intended audience, this book would appear to be pretty basic for most web developers and programmers, except as a very easy introductory book that pushes the reader towards more challenging material. That said, the book is skillfully written, with amusing and informative tips and excellent full-color visuals. Even if it is basic, it at least is a book worth keeping around for reminders, so I can see why my coworker still has it even if he is far beyond the level of an introductory user of SQL. The book even manages to provide some parallel translation of the same query into three different dialects of SQL, which provides some helpful comparison and adds depth to the book. This was certainly a worthwhile read, even if it was a basic one for the most part.