Sams Teach Yourself SQL Server T-SQL in 10 Minutes
by Ben Forta, Sams Publishing 2007. $19.99.
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I picked up this book last year as a short introduction to some of the 2005 changes to the T-SQL language. While there are lots of article on the Internet, they often cover one area and don't always allow you to easily organize your studying of the changes into some coherent pattern. It's easy to bump around the new features and miss some of you haven't got a plan.
The book appears to be a new edition of a previous version as most of the first 21 chapters are kind of a generic introduction to T-SQL and basic query concepts. Those chapters are simple and well written with a consistent forumla of explaining a concept, showing input (query) and output, and then having a short analysis of what happened. While not quite a book that would teach my Mom SQL query fundamentals, the author does a good job of leading someone through the skills needed and building from basic queries to updates, aggregates and joins.
Chapter 17 covers full-text searching from the 2005 perspective. There is a note that the language changed syntactically from previous versions, so only 2005 is covered. The chapter isn't long and certainly isn't intended to give you extensive ideas on how to use full-text searching in your application, but it covers the basics, including turning FTS on and creating catalogs, and the basics of a variety of types of queries (FREETEXT, CONTAINS, NEAR, etc)
Chapters 22 and 23 cover programming and stored procedures from a basic standpoint. The standard basic introductions of assigning variables, IF statements, loops and other basic programming logic are covered. The examples are simple and I'm not sure they do much other than explain structurally how to build programming logic. Chater 24 covers cursors, with no performance warnings, which is a disappointment. I think people should know how cursors work, but they should be given instructions that this isn't an efficient way to work in SQL Server.
There is a basic chapter on XML (again, SQL Server 205 only) and how to perform basic queries, searches, and inserts. This is very basic, and if you really needed to do more than make a gross query against XML data. There is also a short 8 page chapter on collations and globalization, which doesn't do much more than allow you to perhaps recognize some of the code that appears in scripting.
The security and performance chapters, probably 7 or 8 pages between them, are extremely basic and don't do much more than give the syntax and a few hints.
Overall I was very disappointed in this book from a SQL Server 2005 perspective as it is missing many of the changes in the T-SQL language. TRY..CATCH, CROSS APPLY, CTEs, and more are not covered at all. I would venture to guess this was a very slightly updated version of a 2000 era book.
However the book is written well and well structured to teach someone the basics of T-SQL. It might be a way to get a novice SQL developer to learn a bit more about T-SQL by pointing out a few chapters to read as needed.
As a 10-minute introduction to T-SQL I'd give it a 3 out of 5.
As a book to help someone learn SQL Server 2005 T-SQL, I'd give it a 2 out of 5.