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Book Review: 100 SQL Server Mistakes


I was approached by Manning Publications and asked to review 100 SQL Server Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. They gave me a free copy of the book (and offered a second one as well), but didn’t put any conditions on my work.

This is a preliminary review of the EAP version of the book, which is still in progress as of now. If you buy the book, you can get digital chapters as they are written and edited, as well as the final book.

This is part of a series of book reviews I’ve done on my blog. You can see them all under the book reviews tag.

100 SQL Server Mistakes

The book is designed to give you 100 things that people commonly do wrong with a SQL Server instance and/or database, and starts with mistake 0 being that people think

From there, the book goes into an explanation of the 4Cs diagrams, which are ways of representing systems. This was mildly interesting to me, though less useful when I was reading on my mobile as seeing the details of the diagrams is hard.

The first few mistakes are on standards. Naming, prefixes, using sp_, and more. I liked this as I think that having some good basics communicate information between team members, or even users of your database for reporting. There are reasons given for why each of these is a mistake, as well as example code to showcase potential issues.

Data Types are the next set of mistakes, showing common things people do when designing their data model or objects. There is also a few mistakes on database design with common mistakes that people make.

There are sections for T-SQL mistakes, including error handling as well SSIS mistakes and installation problems. Each of these is grouped together with a variety of common issues that people may run into.

The version I have of the EAP is 8 chapters, with a few more to come. Overall, this is less a what you should do, and more of a what you shouldn’t do. I like this approach. Aaron Bertrand did something similar with his Worst Practices series. Often we are stuck with certain designs, and we may not be able to implement best practices. However, we should try to avoid worst practices.

I’d even say that if you have some worst practices, don’t continue them for the sake of continuity or consistency. Start refactoring or at least improving new development.

This book is a good reference for beginner to intermediate SQL Server developers and administrators, and might even be a good gift for welcoming employees early in their SQL Server journey. Many of these would be guidelines I’d want to implement for  a team.

If you’re looking for some knowledge to help you avoid producing bad code, check out this book. It doesn’t have all the answers, but it has some good thoughts on code smells and ways to correct them. It might give you inspiration to fix some code in your shop.

If you want another view, Kevin Feasel has his own thoughts.

You can pick up the book here:

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