[svlug] SQL ?

Ian Kluft ikluft at thunder.sbay.org
Tue Dec 21 17:08:11 PST 2004

On Wed, Dec 22, 2004 at 01:39:58AM +0900, Ahmed Sarwar wrote:
> Thaks a lot. Now I have a little idea. Can you please tell me 
> what kind of doc or book I should read to learn SQL (postgr)?

You're welcome.  I'm glad you found that helpful.

According to a quick search I did at amazon.com, there are about 15 books
on PostgreSQL, including ones that will be published soon.  So that's
getting to be too many to just recommend a specific one.  Take a look at
them and see which ones seem to make the best introduction for you.

I don't have any intro books on PostgreSQL because there weren't any
when I started using it on a regular basis in early 2001.  (I was asked
to set up an internal SourceForge site where I work, and it uses
PostgreSQL.)  I used the online documentation, which can be downloaded
or browsed from http://www.postgresql.org/docs/

If you haven't had other exposure to database management systems before,
then you probably do want to get an introductory book of some kind.
There's more to learn than just setting up the software and using the API.
If you're going to run any applications that others use, you'll have to
deal with maintenance issues like how to handle upgrades to applications
and how to handle various requests from your users.  Some of that
experience can be found from the better books.

If you'll be designing your own databases, there are whole books on database
design.  There are old well-known procedures for "normalization" of tables
to make maintainable systems and avoid common problems.  And there are more
recent practices for object-based designs.

Also look into some docs or books on the language you'll use to connect
to the database.  For Perl, you'll want to look at the DBI and DBD::Pg
modules, which are separately-installable on your Linux system.  For PHP,
Java and most other 4th generation languages, each has their own database
libraries which you'll also need to install separately.  For C and C++,
you can just use the native libraries.

One reference book on SQL that I've found invaluable is OReilly's
"SQL in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference" by Kevin Kline.  It has
comparisons of the SQL99 standard and the SQL variants in PostgreSQL
(which is the closest to the standard), MySQL, Oracle and MS-SQL.  Since
we also have a lot of Oracle databases at work, it's a useful reference
on the differences, and helps keep my head on straight when I have to
work on both systems within a short period of time.  I have the first
edition from late 2000, which is getting a bit old.  But a second edition
was just published a few months ago.  I found that in the process of
browsing for this answer for your question.  So thank you. :-)

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