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The release of SQL Server 2012 has resulted in an avalanche of books designed to guide you through all aspects of working with Microsoft’s server database. The thought of reading an entire bookcase of books is enough to make normal mortals run for the hills. Fortunately, our database experts are far from normal mortals, and they’ve done the hard work of sifting through the books for you to find the best on offer.
When it comes to books, I Programmer's mission is to provide unbiased reviews that you can trust - and they are written by those who use and understand the technologies concerned. Although we can only cover a fraction of the new programming books published, we try to include those that seem important and topical and this means we end up reading some that are dull and boring and even find some that are capable of misleading and confusing the reader.
For Programmer's Bookshelf, however, we pick only the best and recommend the books you might find helpful at different stages in your personal development.
If you want to read more of the original review click in the link in each title. Clicking on the book jacket in the side panel will take you to Amazon. If you just want to find out more about the book click in the top portion of the thumbnail to open the book's product details page. If you do decide to make a book purchase, accessing Amazon from a link on I Programmer means that we are credited with a few cents - so thanks to all of you who support us in this way.
When you pick up a book with a title such as "Relational Database Design and Implementation", you probably don’t settle back with the thought that this will be fun. Not even if you’re a true database enthusiast. However, Kay Ewbank recommends this book wholeheartedly if you need to know about how to design a database from a programmer’s viewpoint, awarding it a maximum 5 star rating.
Pro SQL Server 2012 Relational Database Design and Implementation starts from fundamentals of database design, and goes as far as topics such as coding for concurrency, stored procedures versus ad-hoc SQL, and the integration of T-SQL with CLR, the Common Language Runtime, which lets you use the.NET CLR engine within SQL Server. Kay concludes:
the author’s knowledge of SQL Server and database design is first class, and he writes as though he was chatting to you over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. He’s not afraid to give you his own personal take on a topic, and his descriptions are clear and lucid. The subject matter might not be a topic you’d think would make for an interesting read, but the author manages it.
Troubleshooting SQL Server - A Guide for the Accidental DBA is available as a free download an e-book, and is aimed at people who find themselves responsible for keeping a SQL Server up and running when it’s not really their job to do so. The premise behind the book’s title is that many DBA roles are filled accidentally, often by the developer that has the most database knowledge. The book aims to help the accidental DBA overcome the most common problems, and has information on versions of SQL Server from 2005 onwards. It’s a fairly short book with useful links for further reading. Most of the book is essentially a guide to performance tuning and troubleshooting, with some coverage of admin related issues.
(Click on book cover for free pdf download)
The book is organised into chapters based on resource, for example High CPU Utilization. This is ideal for finding the relevant section to your particular problem and its solutions, but Ian Stirk says in some places leads to a disorganized book, with tools being used to solve problems before they’re discussed in detail. Overall, though, he recommends the book as a useful resource, giving it a rating of 4.5.
While the title of Professional SQL Server 2012 Internals and Troubleshooting suggests you’ll learn what to do if you hit various SQL Server problems, Ian Stirk says the book is more useful if you simply want to increase your knowledge of SQL Server. He says for that audience this is an excellent book, while the rating drops to ‘useful’ if you want to know more about troubleshooting.
There are two distinct parts to this book, internals and troubleshooting. The first section is more theoretical, and the second is more practical. The aim of the internals section is to provide a deeper background understanding for the subsequent troubleshooting section. The topics covered are both diverse in terms of subject matter (e.g. hardware, concurrency, extended events) and in terms of the expected level of experience (e.g. PowerShell is introductory, and latches are advanced). Some of the subjects seem a bit off topic (Virtualization), and even esoteric (Spinlocks).
In some respects Ian didn’t feel there was enough cohesion between the various chapter subjects, but with this caveat what is present in each chapter is both well written and interesting, if not entirely focused on internals and troubleshooting.