Book review: SQL for MySQL Developers: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference by <i>Rick F. van der Lans</i>

Book review: SQL for MySQL Developers: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference by Rick F. van der Lans


MySQL is one of the dominant players in the database market—a solid pillar in the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP or LAMP stack. SQL for MySQL Developers, written by Rick F. van der Lans and published by Addison Wesley covers all significant topics of SQL with specific references to the MySQL dialect.

The book’s cover The book’s cover

My first impression of the book was that it was truly comprehensive and highly readable. With 1,032 pages flowing accurately through a wide range of topics and with questions at the end of each chapter, the book for its size was a surprisingly easy read. The contained information is a good starting point for relative beginners and later a useful reference in times of need.

The book for its size was a surprisingly easy read

The contents

Containing a massive 1,032 pages, 37 chapters and four appendices, if you wish to embalm yourself with the subtle details of MySQL SQL, this is definitely the book for you. The tutorial tone is straightforward and to the point and the flow leads you through the book chapter by chapter to a well rounded fundamental understanding of the subject area.

Not only is the book a tutorial with reinforcing questions at the end of each chapter, but is also a book ready to be placed on your bookshelf potentially acting as a life saving reference for those nasty rushed last minute debugging jobs... and yes I deny ever having one of those moments. :)

Van der Lans has split the content into five related topic areas: 1) a not so basic introduction, more what is SQL in a nutshell; 2) querying and updating information, including my favorite subject subquerying; 3) creating database objects, the topic details advanced concepts such as specifying integrity constraints and the ENUM and SET types; 4) details the server side question of procedural database objects, the book explains the innards of stored procedures, functions, triggers and events; and finally; and 5) programming with SQL which is a rather too fast look at MySQL and its relationship to PHP.

I enjoyed reading the book and found that forcing myself to answer the questions at the end of each chapter helped me retain the knowledge that flowed, at times quickly, past my eyes.

I particularly enjoyed reading the whole of topic four, procedural database objects. I am not sure if triggers increase the cost of maintaining programs, but example 33.11 (page 763) which involves a roll back of a transaction (if a constraint fails) clearly describes in less than 9 lines of code the potential of such a methodology.

Who’s this book for?

This book is for developers who wish to understand the full range of SQL related features in MYSQL 5. The book is so comprehensive that the contents will probably save you buying a second or third book

The book is so comprehensive that the contents will probably save you buying a second or third book

Relevance to free software

MySQL is an icon of the rise of successful commercial exploitation of free software.

Comprehensive tutorials, such as Rick F. van der Lans’s SQL for MySQL Developers, can only help to lower the barrier to full understanding of the product and thus motivate more developers to involve themselves.

Pros

This precise tome has all the content that you will need to use MySQL 5 to its full glory, including stored procedures, events and views. SQL for MySQL Developers is truly a comprehensive tutorial and reference and will sit well in any developers bookshelf waiting quietly for the time that specific optimizations or SQL debugging questions arise.

_SQL for MySQL Developers_ will sit well in any developers bookshelf waiting quietly for the time that specific optimizations or SQL debugging questions arise

Cons

If you are a developer that is looking to learn how best to optimize PHP or other languages with reference to MySQL then you will find this book short by at least one or two language specific chapters.

Title SQL for MySQL Developers: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference
Author Rick F. van der Lans
Publisher Addison Wesley Professional
ISBN 0131497359
Year 2007
Pages 1032
CD included No
FS Oriented 10
Over all score 9

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Alan Berg's picture

Biography

Alan Berg Bsc. MSc. PGCE, has been a lead developer at the Central Computer Services at the University of Amsterdam since 1998. In his spare time, he writes articles, book reviews and has authored three books. He has a degree, two masters and a teaching qualification. In previous incarnations, he was a technical writer, an Internet/Linux course writer, and a science teacher. He likes to get his hands dirty with the building and gluing of systems. He remains agile by playing computer games with his sons who (sadly) consistently beat him physically, mentally and morally at least twice in any given day.

You may contact him at reply.to.berg At chello.nl