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What I’ve Read and Recommend to Others – General Database and Theory by C.J. Date

Date on Database: Writings 2000-2006
This is a collection of writings by C.J. Date, one of the fathers of the relational model. It has a nice tribute to E.F. Codd, inventor of the relational model.
If you are looking for tips and insights into relational databases on a higher level this is a solid read. 
SQL and Relational Theory: How to Write Accurate SQL Code
Another solid text from Date. This one helps you understand the theory so you can write effective real world code. It has lots of solid examples.
It covers topics like granting access directly to the data or through views. How NULLS effect the answers returned by your queries. Advanced coverage
of constraints. I’m currently reading this book again. I don’t think you could absorb all of the goodness this book has to offer in one pass.
Temporal Data & the Relational Model (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Data Management Systems)
If you are working with dates and time this book will teach you a new modeling technique. Unlike Domain Key Normal Form this builds on the previous
Normalization rules and is a logical extension of them. It does use Tutorial D to explain its examples which is kind of a pain.
Database in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners
Another fundamentals book that transcends any particular product line and gets to the heart of the relational model. It is a short but concise read and one
I generally recommend to people wanting to expand their theoretical base.
Refactoring Databases: Evolutionary Database Design
If you have ever had to refractor a database this book is for you. I’ve read and re-read this book over the last few years. It isn’t the easiest read in the world
but it can help you apply what you have learned from the books above to your current database without having to start from scratch.


As always if you have any questions or want to suggest a book let me know!

SQL Man of Mystery

Wes Brown is a PASS chapter leader and SQL Server MVP. He writes for SQL Server Central and maintains his blog at http://www.sqlserverio.com. Wes is Currently serving as a Senior Lead Consultant at Catapult Systems. Previous experiences include Product Manager for SQL Litespeed by Quest software and consultant to fortune 500 companies. He specializes in high availability, disaster recovery and very large database performance tuning. He is a frequent speaker at local user groups and SQLSaturdays.


Posted by Steve Jones on 26 February 2010

Good list, though I'm surprised I haven't read any of them. I've read a few other modeling ones, and one of Date's other books.

Now the question is, have any of these helped you in your job?

Posted by Wesley Brown on 26 February 2010

Database In depth, Refactoring databases and SQL & Relational Theory are the three that have helped me the most. I am a fan of Date, he is a purist as much or more than Joe in some cases. But, I like Joe Celko too :)

Posted by Robert Young on 1 March 2010

Ummmm.  Including Ambler with Date is quite odd.  You have some 'splainin to do.

And the list is incomplete with "Introduction to Database Systems".

By the way, Celko and Date have a long running feud; although I too find both useful practitioners.

Posted by Wesley Brown on 1 March 2010

I forgot to put introduction to database systems on the list. I put Ambler in the list mainly because I didn't know where to put his book. Plus, if you are trying to fix an existing system by applying what you gleaned you will need a good dose of refactoring knowledge.

Joe is a friend of mine, and he is a purest in the same sense that Date is. They may not agree on exactly what pure is though. Date also didn't agree with Codd on the whole NULL thing ether but that didn't stop them from having a wonderful and fruitful friendship.


Posted by cs_troyk on 10 March 2010

I highly recommend "Data and Reality" by William Kent (www.amazon.com/.../1585009709), "Practical Issues in Database Management" by Fabian Pascal (http://amzn.com/0201485559) and "Data Modeling Essentials" by Simsion and Witt (http://amzn.com/0126445516)

The first is good for getting your head in the game at a high level, and the other two I refer to regularly.


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