Book Review: Murach's SQL Server 2005 for Developers
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Published: 04 May 2007
Do you think SQL Server 2005 is a must have book for developers? Check out the opinion of Anand and decide for yourself.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is a demanding and unavoidable database among .NET programmers. It is mainly used to store, fetch, edit and delete data in a real world environment. Many books tend to provide advanced concepts with lengthy code which are of no use for beginners. But SQL Server 2005 for Developers by Murach Publishing is a total guide for developers and database administrators who wish to master the essentials of SQL Server 2005.

The book consists of 21 chapters divided into 5 sections. Section 1 provides a basic introduction regarding the relational databases and also the usage of SQL Server Management Studio. An interesting point to note is that the author provides detailed explanation to each and every aspect with the help of relevant commands and associated screenshots. Moreover, the required explanations are provided with a short description against each section.

The chapters in section 2 examine the methods by which you can manipulate the various SQL commands. You will learn how to retrieve data from single and multiple tables, Summary Queries, SubQueries, Data Insertion, Deletion and the working of various data types and its functions. From my point of view, the data types chapter should be covered first as it is important for a developer to be aware of them before grasping SQL commands.

While section 3 delves deep into the database design and usage of SQL Server 2005 Management Studio, the chapters in section 4 will help you to learn the working of views, stored procedures, functions, triggers, cursors, transactions and locking. Further, the final two chapters examine all the aspects regarding database security. The final chapter provides a comprehensive overview about the role of XML in SQL Server 2005.

The book concludes with a detailed analysis regarding the integration of Common Language Runtime (CLR) in SQL Server 2005. You will learn how to write code for CLR Stored Procedures, functions, triggers, aggregate functions and user defined types. Although beginners and intermediate developers can learn these concepts after mastering the fundamentals from the beginning chapters, I am of the opinion that these chapters will be of great help primarily for those developers who wish to master the advanced concepts of SQL Server 2005.

The book also includes 3 useful appendixes which provide a short description regarding the installation of SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, SQL Server 2005 Management Studio, Books Online, Visual Studio 2005 and the companion code files. You can download the complete source code of all the examples from the website of the publisher. The final appendix provides a brief overview of the conventions followed for codes and syntaxes. From my point of view, this appendix should be provided as a brief note at the beginning of the book as it is necessary for a developer to be aware of all the basic conventions before going through the chapters.

It would be helpful for beginners if the book contains a CD with essential software, such as .NET Framework 2.0, SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server 2005 Management Studio, so that they can straight away learn the concepts without any need to download softwares from the web.

I must say that the authors have done an excellent job presenting the subject matter in a clear and crisp manner. Each section includes a comprehensive explanation followed by the relevant syntax and its application including the associated description in bulleted format. Moreover, all the source code and screenshots are given on the right hand side of the book and this is a nice feature of the book.

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