I spend a great deal of time working with SQL Server and find I need at least three solid books associated with SQL Server
- A succinct, easy to use, and up-to-date reference guide for SQL Server and T-SQL.
- A programmer’s guide to SQL Server that is more in-depth and focuses on developer features.
- A solid ADO.NET book.
I have my favorite ADO.NET book, and now I have what I believe is an excellent reference guide to the new features in SQL Server 2005 as well as T-SQL, called SQL Server 2005 T-SQL Recipes by Joseph Sack.
My favorite part of the book is how well it is organized. Within seconds I can find what I need in the table of contents and get to the page that talks about it. This is a crucial feature for a reference book that I have been using a lot and will continue to use as I dig into the new features of SQL Server 2005.
Another of my favorite features is how the book jumps into each recipe immediately without one having to read through a bunch of theory or un-necessary information. This is another must-have feature for a reference book.
If you do want a touch of the big picture, however, the author does a nice job of adding a few pages of background information before diving into a series of recipes on a subject, which is perfect for when you are discovering features for the first time. The “big picture” information doesn’t get in the way when using the book as a reference guide, however, which is giving you the best of both worlds.
Thanks in part to this book, I have learned several cool new features in SQL Server 2005, like: XML Data Type; XQuery, XML Schema Collections, and XML Indexes; Http Endpoints; CLR Stored Procedures, CLR User Defined Functions, etc.
It reinforces things I have already talked about: Ranking Functions like ROW_NUMBER() which is great for record paging as well as best practices like using SCOPE_IDENTITY() as opposed to @@IDENTITY for accessing a newly generated identity value from a database table.
It has really good coverage on performance tuning, indexes, and understanding query execution plans. There is a nice chapter on Service Broker which is next on my list of things to fully understand. It also discusses a number of subjects like Database Creation, Mirroring, and Backup and Recovery which I kindly ignored for now but as time permits would love to understand a bit better
If you are looking for a succinct, easy to use, and up-to-date reference guide for SQL Server 2005 and T-SQL, I highly recommend SQL Server 2005 T-SQL Recipes. You will, however, still need a solid book on ADO.NET and a programmer’s guide to SQL Server 2005, as no author in his/her right mind would try to tackle all of these subjects in one book. No reader would want to haul around such a book either