The Language of SQL

The Language of SQL

by Larry Rockoff

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The Language of SQL, Second Edition

Many SQL texts attempt to serve as an encyclopedic reference on SQL syntax -- an approach that is often counterproductive, because that information is readily available in online references published by the major database vendors.


For SQL beginners, it’s more important for a book to focus on general concepts and to offer clear explanations and examples of what various SQL statements can accomplish. This is that book.


A number of features make The Language of SQL unique among introductory SQL books.

First, you will not be required to download software or sit with a computer as you read the text. The intent of this book is to provide examples of SQL usage that can be understood simply by reading.


Second, topics are organized in an intuitive and logical sequence. SQL keywords are introduced one at a time, allowing you to grow your understanding as you encounter new terms and concepts.


Finally, this book covers the syntax of three widely used databases: Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle. Special “Database Differences” sidebars clearly show you any differences in syntax among these three databases, and instructions are included on how to obtain and install free versions of the databases.



This is the only book you need to gain a quick working knowledge of SQL and relational databases. 

  • ·Learn How To...
  • Use SQL to retrieve data from relational databases
  • Apply functions and calculations to data
  • Group and summarize data in a variety of useful ways
  • Use complex logic to retrieve only the data you need
  • Update data and create new tables
  • Design relational databases so that data retrieval is easy and intuitive
  • Use spreadsheets to transform your data into meaningful displays
  • Retrieve data from multiple tables via joins, subqueries, views, and set logic
  • Create, modify, and execute stored procedures
  • Install Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, or Oracle

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780134658339
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 07/26/2016
Series: Learning
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

LARRY ROCKOFF has been involved with SQL and business intelligence development for many years. His primary area of interest is using reporting tools to explore and analyze data in complex databases. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago, with a specialization in Management Science. He currently works with data warehouse and reporting applications for a major retail pharmacy. He also maintains a website that features book reviews on technology topics, focusing on analytics and business intelligence as well as broader societal issues at

Table of Contents

The Language of SQL, 2nd Edition


Topics and Features
What’s New in the Second Edition
Plan of the Book
Companion Website

1. Relational Databases and SQL

What Is SQL?
Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and Oracle
Relational Databases
Primary and Foreign Keys
NULL Values
The Significance of SQL

2. Basic Data Retrieval

Syntax Notes
Specifying Columns
Column Names with Embedded Spaces
Preview of the Full SELECT

3. Calculated Fields and Aliases
Literal Values
Arithmetic Calculations
Concatenating Fields
Column Aliases
Table Aliases

4. Using Functions
What Is a Function?
Character Functions
Composite Functions
Date/Time Functions
Numeric Functions
Conversion Functions

5. Sorting Data
Sorting in Ascending Order
Sorting in Descending Order
Sorting by Multiple Columns
Sorting by a Calculated Field
Sort Sequences

6. Selection Criteria
Applying Selection Criteria
WHERE Clause Operators
Limiting Rows
Limiting Rows with a Sort
Pattern Matching

7. Boolean Logic

Complex Logical Conditions
The AND Operator
The OR Operator
Using Parentheses
Multiple Sets of Parentheses
The NOT Operator
The BETWEEN Operator
The IN Operator
Boolean Logic and NULL Values

8. Conditional Logic
The CASE Expression
The Simple CASE Format
The Searched CASE Format
Conditional Logic in ORDER BY Clauses
Conditional Logic in WHERE Clauses

9. Summarizing Data
Eliminating Duplicates
Aggregate Functions
The COUNT Function
Grouping Data
Multiple Columns and Sorting
Selection Criteria on Aggregates
Conditional Logic in GROUP BY Clauses
Conditional Logic in HAVING Clauses
Ranking Functions

10. Subtotals and Crosstabs

Adding Subtotals with ROLLUP
Adding Subtotals with CUBE
Creating Crosstab Layouts

11. Inner Joins

Joining Two Tables
The Inner Join
Table Order in Inner Joins
An Alternate Specification of Inner Joins
Table Aliases Revisited

12. Outer Joins
The Outer Join
Left Joins
Testing for NULL Values
Right Joins
Table Order in Outer Joins
Full Joins
Cross Joins

13. Self Joins and Views

Self Joins
Creating Views
Referencing Views
Benefits of Views
Modifying and Deleting Views

14. Subqueries

Types of Subqueries
Using a Subquery as a Data Source
Using a Subquery in Selection Criteria
Correlated Subqueries
The EXISTS Operator
Using a Subquery as a Calculated Column
Common Table Expressions

15. Set Logic

Using the UNION Operator
Distinct and Non-Distinct Unions
Intersecting Queries

16. Stored Procedures and Parameters
Creating Stored Procedures
Parameters in Stored Procedures
Executing Stored Procedures
Modifying and Deleting Stored Procedures
Functions Revisited

17. Modifying Data

Modification Strategies
Inserting Data
Deleting Data
Updating Data
Correlated Subquery Updates

18. Maintaining Tables

Data Definition Language
Table Attributes
Table Columns
Primary Keys and Indexes
Foreign Keys
Creating Tables
Creating Indexes

19. Principles of Database Design
Goals of Normalization
How to Normalize Data
The Art of Database Design
Alternatives to Normalization

20. Strategies for Displaying Data
Crosstab Layouts Revisited
Excel and External Data
Excel Pivot Tables

A. Getting Started with Microsoft SQL Server
Installing SQL Server 2016 Express
Installing SQL Server 2016 Management Studio Express
Using SQL Server 2016 Management Studio Express

B. Getting Started with MySQL
Installing MySQL on Windows
Installing MySQL on Mac
Using MySQL Workbench

C. Getting Started with Oracle
Installing Oracle Database Express Edition
Using Oracle Database Express Edition

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