Alexis's Ark

SQL- A Complete Reference

By Alexis Leon & Mathews Leon, Tata McGraw-Hill, 1999.

Structured Query Language or SQL is a must for any software professional who will be designing, developing or maintaining software applications that involves databases and data manipulation. It is also a must for people who use the popular Relational Database Management Systems like DB2, Oracle, Sybase, MS-SQL Server, MS-Access, etc. Given the growth of the RDBMS industry, it is essential for all IT professionals to have at least a working knowledge of SQL.

The purpose of this book is to explain and to describe the official version of the SQL. SQL has been adopted as an international standard by ISO and many other international bodies like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS), etc. In addition there are hundreds of database management systems and database products, which use SQL in one form or other. Thus SQL represents one of the most important feature of the database world.

This book deals with the newest version of SQL-Database Language SQL: 1992-informally known as SQL/92 or SQL2. This version of SQL represents many major improvements and extensions to the earlier SQL standard. The various database management systems and database products differ in the implementation and use of SQL. This book will concentrate on the official standard version of SQL-SQL/92-rather than a product specific dialect. So this book is relevant all those who are interested in the SQL language, its implementation and usage.

The book is intended both as a work of reference and as a tutorial guide. It includes both formal definitions and numerous solved examples and exercises. The book assumes nothing. It starts from scratch, prepares the readers for SQL by introducing them to the concepts of data, database management, relational databases, data modeling, etc. For the effective understanding and efficient implementation of SQL, the knowledge of the database fundamentals is a must.

The book is divided into different sections like Introduction to Database Concepts, Introduction to SQL, Data Definition, Data Manipulation, Data Control, Advanced SQL Topics, Performance Tuning, etc.

Then there is a section, which serves as a command/quick reference. This is an alphabetical listing of the SQL commands. Each command is briefly explained-syntax and description. This section is cross-referenced with the chapters in which the commands are discussed in detail.

There is a glossary of SQL and other database related terms. This will help you in quickly looking-up the meaning of a term. There is also a section, which contains the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on SQL. This section will prove invaluable in testing your knowledge and preparing for tests and interviews.

The book has a companion floppy, which contains objective type questions on SQL-Multiple Choice Questions, True/False Questions, Fill in the blanks, etc. The reader can take a quiz/test from the entire questions (say 120 questions selected at random from the different chapters) or practice each chapter separately. There will be provision to do the test under examination conditions (timed tests) or at the user's pace. The software will do the scoring and at the end of the test/practice session the user can review the answers and see where he/she has gone wrong.

The book as a whole is intended to be self-contained. The only background assumed of the reader is a general interest in SQL. All necessary terms, concepts and terminology are explained in the book. The book is for any one who wants to know about SQL, its usage and its implementation. The book will have a very high value as a reference book, a course book, a refresher and a book that will help in gaining good knowledge of SQL in a very short time. The FAQs and the companion floppy will prove invaluable in this.

The book is intended for all the database professionals-beginners as well as the experienced, the novices as well as the experts, the programmers as well as the students. It can be used to brush up one's knowledge and make one up-to-date. Answering the questions (FAQs and Quiz) will give one an understanding about his current knowledge level, so that he/she can improve his/her skills. This book is an excellent tool for the interviewers also as it contains lots of questions for them to choose. In other words this book is a must for any database professional who wants to succeed.