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Review of Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2000 with Microsoft Visual

By James Travis,

Forethought

First let me say the book in my opinion is more for some who has almost no experience with SQL Server 2000 or Visual Basic .NET. It seemed like 704 pages of rehashed material from SQL BOL and MSDN library more than anything. The book was very repetitive of a number of the concepts and technical info and thou the back presents the book as "Solution Design/Coding/Implementing". I felt let down and disappointed.

A touch of this and a touch of that

The first chapter present you basic overview of what you are about to learn with a few concepts thrown at you from the get go with a statement of you'll learn more about this later (several chapters later). After that you spend the 6 chapters (Part 2) on SQL basics and a bit of advanced material. Part 3 drops you into hitting SQL Server 2K with VB .NET (and related technologies) for 6 chapters.

Note at this point part 2 and 3 are 6 chapters each. To me devoting an equal number of chapters to sections always seemed like an author had trouble coming up with a good layout. I expected more VB .NET stuff but didn't get it.

Chapter 2 was a large overview of Tables and Data Types which was the basic material you find in SQL BOL. The author goes into a brief description of each data type then moves into creating a table and adding indexes. The chapter lacked design theory and normalizing which are key elements in table development and provided no real reasoning for table designs other than to get familiar with how to script out tables in T-SQL.

Chapter 3 got into the SELECT statement, a bit of aggregate functions and join types.

Chapter 4 delved into Views and Stored Procedures. It was nice to see the author place importance on Stored Procedure but the author never got into reasons for using SPs more than to say they were better. No approach to security around SPs was mentioned here or in the SQL security section of the book. The reader is presented with basic and intermediate syntax and led to build a few example objects.

Chapter 5 moved the user into UDFs (User Defined Functions) and Triggers. Again chapter was vague into uses and issues with each and gave nothing more than cursory examples of their uses.

Chapter 6 takes the reading into XML functionality. The big problem with this chapter thou was it seemed to steer users to Web Releases. I had not looked at these in past and was intrigued by this chapter but it left me hanging and gave no real help. The chapter seemed to be a broad overview of XML and document types but again left me with only vague information.

Chapter 7 finally reached into SQL Security. I expected to find information of focusing on Stored Procedures to protect your data and other bits of good rules to follow when designing your server databases. The chapter was in essence a basic picture of how to setup security but didn't even touch on key things like “set the SA password” or “don't use the SA account when connecting”. It lacked real emphasis on something most view as the key to a good database.

So from here I would suggest anybody with a base understanding of those sections of SQL look for another book or assume you are buying to read the other half.

Does it get any better?

Ok in part 3 we start looking at .NET and get a general overview in Chapter 8.

Chapter 9 starts the user into creating simple "Hello World" type apps to get familiar with the development environment.

Chapter 10 delves into the technical details of ADO.NET and it's utilization. This is the first point in the book you start using .NET to touch SQL and bind to objects on a form.

Chapter 11 takes you further into programming a bit with VB and touches on web services. This was a little more in depth and pulled my interest a bit more. But beyond a starter reference really has little value.

Chapters 12 and 13 focus on XML with VB and Web Services. This seemed to be the strongest point of the whole book, using XML to expose data.

Finally Analysis

The book seemed like 2 books thrown together and other than the projects linking within each chapter toward the end seemed to have a jumpy feel to the flow. If you have absolutely no experience with SQL, XML and VB .NET then it is a simple starting point to get you going. If you are looking for real world answers the book has little to offer. I personally found the book dull and with little usefulness, even as reference material.

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