This book is a really great beginners guide for core SQL Server 2012, and it also does a great job of introducing new features introduced in SQL Server 2012. What I mean by core is that topics like Master Data Services and Data Quality Services are not introduced. That is not a bad thing. By limiting the scope of the book, the author was able to better the topics that are included.
I wanted this book because I like having a book about the basics close by. I am not in SQL Server everyday and when I find myself needing to go back to it, I not only want books on the advanced features nearby, I want the basics also.
The book covers all the basics you need to know to get up and running quickly. After a really nice introduction where the author covers the new 2012 features and where they are covered in the book, they have a nice overview of relational databases and detailed coverage of the installation process.
The book is broken into five parts. I have listed the parts and the chapters in each below. The titles of the chapters show the topics covered.
Part I: Basic Concepts and Installation Chapter 1. Relational Database Systems: An Introduction Chapter 2. Planning the Installation and Installing SQL Server Chapter 3. SQL Server Management Studio
Part II: Transact-SQL Language Chapter 4. SQL Components Chapter 5. Data Definition Language Chapter 6. Queries Chapter 7. Modification of a Table's Contents Chapter 8. Stored Procedures and User-Defined Functions Chapter 9. System Catalog Chapter 10. Indices Chapter 11. Views Chapter 12. Security System of the Database Engine Chapter 13. Concurrency Control Chapter 14. Triggers
Part III: SQL Server: System Administration Chapter 15. System Environment of the Database Engine Chapter 16. Backup, Recovery, and System Availability Chapter 17. Automating System Administration Tasks Chapter 18. Data Replication Chapter 19. Query Optimizer Chapter 20. Performance Tuning
Part IV: SQL Server and Business Intelligence Chapter 21. Business Intelligence: An Introduction Chapter 22. SQL Server Analysis Services Chapter 23. Business Intelligence and Transact-SQL Chapter 24. SQL Server Reporting Services Chapter 25. Optimizing Techniques for Relational Online Analytical Processing
Part V: Beyond Relational Data Chapter 26. SQL Server and XML Chapter 27. Spatial Data Chapter 28. SQL Server Full-Text Search
The author has a great writing style and really explains things clearly making good use of diagrams, code samples, and tables. I mention that because I have seen books that don't.
The author has made all the scripts, sample database, and exercise solutions available. The author also makes use of the AdventureWorks and AdventureWorksDW database. I thought is was strange they didn't use the AdventureWorks2012 and the AdventureWorksDW2012 version available on CodePlex, but that was probably because they weren't available at the time the book was written.
Like I said at the beginning if the review, this is a beginners book, just like the title states. You won't find coverage of topics like cursors, buy you will find all the basics are covered.
All in all I highly recommend this book as the starting point for anyone looking to learn SQL Server 2012
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