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The Art of SQL
by Stephane Faroult, Peter Robson

O'Reilly and Associates Inc., March 2006

review by
Gordon Haverland, August 2006

Enterprises throughout the world are confronted with exploding volumes of data, and many IT departments are looking for quick solutions. This insightful book demonstrates that since SQL code may run for 5 to 10 years, and run on different hardware, it must be fast and sound from the start. Expert authors Stephane Faroult and Peter Robson offer SQL best practices and relational theory that force you to focus on strategy rather than specifics. View Table of Contents

Reviewer Background: Programmer good at numerical analysis and familiar with a lot of systems administration and network administration tasks. Has some experience with PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite, Berkeley DB and the various dbm that Perl normally connects to.

Content Type: A book that looks at many of the theoretical and real issues behind SQL performance.

Content Level: In the preface, the author suggests that his audience have at least year year of significant experience with SQL. I would suggest that people who have significantly less expereince than this can still get something significant out of the book. It should be a good reference book for a long time.

Features: Lots of code from a variety of SQL dialects, and a fair number of graphs and tables.

Style: Very much like a series of lectures. Presents a lot of material.

Rating: I would say this is a very good book for an advanced SQL user/dba/programmer/..., and a good book for a less advanced SQL user to grow into. The graphics scattered throughout the text are perhaps the most noticable weak point of the book. Some of the graphics would benefit from either colour printing or combining patterns with grey levels. Some graphs would be better presented on logarithmic or semi-logarthmic scales.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Laying Plans Designing Databases for Performance
Chapter 2. Waging War Accessing Databases Efficiently
Chapter 3. Tactical Dispositions Indexing
Chapter 4. Maneuvering Thinking SQL Statements
Chapter 5. Terrain Understanding Physical Implementation
Chapter 6. The Nine Situations Recognizing Classic SQL Patterns
Chapter 7. Variations in Tactics Dealing with Hierarchical Data
Chapter 8. Weaknesses and Strengths Recognizing and Handling Difficult Cases
Chapter 9. Multiple Fronts Tackling Concurrency
Chapter 10. Assembly of Forces Coping with Large Volumes of Data
Chapter 11. Stratagems Trying to Salvage Response Times
Chapter 12. Employment of Spies Monitoring Performance

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