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Book Review

Book Review: Murach’s SQL Server 2008 for Developers

Employs the Murach approach of dual pages that repeat and enhance the concepts being presented

Murach's SQL Server 2008 for Developers is an upgrade from an earlier version that was written for SQL Server 2005. It employs the Murach approach of dual pages that repeat and enhance the concepts being presented on each page. As the authors have done with previous releases of SQL Server, this book serves as a good review and as an introduction to the new features added to SQL Server 2008. In addition, because of the relative newness of SQL Server 2005, they also point out features that were added with that release as well.

The book has 22 chapters that are divided into five sections. There are also three appendices that help with installation and suggest syntax and coding standards. Two of the new chapters deal with how to work with XML and with BLOBS. The chapter on XML is especially important as XML has grown in importance in the processing of data.

The chapters are well thought out and in general do a good job of introducing new material to the reader. It is also heartening to see that the authors do read their reviews and make changes when appropriate. In an earlier version of the book, I pointed out the fact that the authors did not do a good enough job of discussing comparison operators that are used with ‘datetime' data types. In this edition, they added a welcome blurb that does a much better job of explaining how the ‘datetime' data type works when used with comparison operators (see page 109).

As with SQL Server 2005 there are not many new features but some of them are quite helpful. Microsoft has finally added intellisense to the query builder, making it much easier to build queries. Microsoft has also introduced four new date/time data types date (date only), time (time only), datetime2, and datetimeoffset. These long overdue data types will expand the flexibility of using time in your database applications. There is also a new statement called MERGE that allows you to merge multiple rows from one table into another.

By and large, the authors provide good, useful examples in most of the chapters. One of the areas though where I still feel that a better job could be done is in the discussion of common table expressions. This is a powerful tool for the developer and could use more examples than those provided to guide the developer in unleashing this powerful tool.

If you have previous issues of Murach's SQL Server 2008 for Developers, I would buy at least one new copy for your team as it pays to read through the book as a refresher. If you are new to SQL Server 2008, you will surely want to purchase this book. This book will not only serve to inform you of new features but is an excellent reference guide as well. This book is well worth having in your collection.

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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