Book Review: Guru's Guide to T-SQL

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The Guru’s Guide to Transact-SQL, by Ken Henderson is over 500 pages of pure T-SQL. The book begins with a basic introduction to SQL and then hold on, because it jumps quickly into advanced subjects. The book covers the following SQL Server 7.0 topics:

  • Introduction to SQL
  • DDL
  • Statistical Functions
  • Arrays
  • Transactions
  • Cursors
  • Stored Procedures
  • SQL Performance Tuning
  • OLE Automation
  • Undocumented and Obscure T-SQL

As you can see, the book tries to be all things to all people. If you are very new to SQL, the book may be slightly too advanced. The first chapter, which is dedicated to teaching you the basics, jumps into some advanced topics too quickly and doesn’t ease readers into the language. For example, the CASE function was placed before the WHERE clause in the first chapter. Also, some examples use the WHERE clause before it is actually discussed in its own section. The order of the introduction chapter may be a little dizzying for those who are just entering the T-SQL world.

Chances are, if you're reading this review, you don't fit into the mold that I just mentioned. On the other side of the spectrum, those who already have some of the core knowledge of SQL, will find that this book starts off perfectly. Novice and advanced SQL users will quickly declare this book as their T-SQL Bible. The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL has powerful information and tips that will empower a developer or DBA to fully utilize the potential of T-SQL.

For novice users, this book answers many of the questions that I see on the newsgroups on a regular basis. This powerhouse of T-SQL knowledge includes some of the most common topics like cursors and transactions. Advanced users will be delighted with the undocumented T-SQL coverage. I found myself able to read this book straight through and use it later as a T-SQL quick reference. Never have I seen so much information on T-SQL in one location. The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL needs to be on any serious T-SQL programmer’s bookshelf.

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