Steven's Notebook

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Intro/Refresher Resources for SQL

SQL iconI was asked to find a few references for our people here; folks who are new to SQL or just haven’t used it in a while. Rather than have my notes tied up in email, I figured I’d put them here for all to use. We use both Oracle Database (10g now, 11g soon) and Microsoft SQL Server.

For a good SQL intro/refresher, I would recommend Murach’s SQL Server 2008 for Developers: Training & Reference by Bryan Syverson and Joel Murach. It is, as the title suggests, targeted toward the use of Microsoft SQL Server, but the 90+% of SQL Language features will apply to other SQL-based databases as well.

added later: also check out Craig Earl‘s SQL for Testers.

Another very good resource is Learning SQL, by Alan Beaulieu; this book covers the SQL language as a whole, without being specific to any one implementation.

[added later] As you progress, these also look to be good if you’re interested in learning more about SQL development:

For a practice environment, you can download and setup either MS SQL-Server Express or Oracle Express on your computer.

There are some basic differences between Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, I’d recommend wandering through these if you, like us, will be playing in both worlds:

The first difference that we will see right away (from the StackOverflow question above): Transaction control. In Oracle everything is a transaction and it is not permanent until you COMMIT. In SQL Server, there is (by default) no transaction control. An error half way through a stored procedure WILL NOT ROLLBACK the DDL in previous steps. There are settings that can change it, but this is the default behavior.

There are also excellent courses available at Pluralsight, and they have a 10-day free trial available. You may also wish to check out the SQL University (start here).

Enjoy, and let me know if you have other resources that have worked well for you.


  1. This is very helpful.

  2. Thanks for showing SQLU some love! FYI it’s going to get an overhaul soon so it’s cleaner/easier to find information. Taking a break this “semester” and then reboot in the Fall.

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