Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 24 Hours

Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 24 Hours

2.6 5
by Ryan Stephens, Ron D. Plew, Arie D. Jones

See All Formats & Editions

In just 24 sessions of one hour or less, you’ll learn how to use SQL to build effective databases, efficiently retrieve your data, and manage everything from performance to security! Using this book’s straightforward, step-by-step approach, you’ll learn hands-on through practical examples. Each lesson builds on what you’ve already learned,


In just 24 sessions of one hour or less, you’ll learn how to use SQL to build effective databases, efficiently retrieve your data, and manage everything from performance to security! Using this book’s straightforward, step-by-step approach, you’ll learn hands-on through practical examples. Each lesson builds on what you’ve already learned, giving you a strong real-world foundation for success. The authors guide you from the absolute basics to advanced techniques—including views, transactions, Web data publishing, and even powerful SQL extensions for Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server!

Step-by-step instructions carefully walk you through the most common SQL tasks.

Quizzes and Exercises at the end of each chapter help you test your knowledge.

By the Way notes present interesting information related to the discussion.

Did You Know? tips offer advice or show you easier ways to perform tasks.

Watch Out! cautions alert you to possible problems and give you advice on how to avoid them.

Learn how to…

  • Understand what SQL is, how it works, and what it does
  • Define efficient database structures and objects
  • “Normalize” raw databases into logically organized tables
  • Edit relational data and tables with DML
  • Manage database transactions
  • Write effective, well-performing queries
  • Categorize, summarize, sort, group, and restructure data
  • Work with dates and times
  • Join tables in queries, use subqueries, and combine multiple queries
  • Master powerful query optimization techniques
  • Administer databases and manage users
  • Implement effective database security
  • Use views, synonyms, and the system catalog
  • Extend SQL to the enterprise and Internet
  • Master important Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server extensions to ANSI SQL

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Whether you’re writing fancy new web database applications or simply need accurate (if boring) business reports, there’s no way around it: You need at least moderate fluency in SQL. Fortunately, SQL needn’t be intimidating. Mastering it doesn’t require you to spend a semester in a classroom -- not when there’s Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 24 Hours, Third Edition.

Ronald Plew and Ryan Stephens cover all the basics, starting with building databases that can be effectively queried, updated, and managed. They clearly introduce queries and the SELECT statement; then explain operators, aggregate functions, sorting, grouping, dates/times, joins, subqueries, and restructuring the appearance of your reported data.

You might be surprised just how far this book takes you. For example, in addition to a lesson on basic performance tuning, you’ll find individual lessons on using indexes, views, and the system catalog (a.k.a. data dictionary).

This edition reflects the current ANSI SQL 3 standard, includes improved examples and explanations, and provides hands-on exercises using the free, open source MySQL database wherever possible (i.e., everywhere MySQL is ANSI SQL compliant). Suddenly, it easy to practice even if you don’t happen to have Oracle 9i or SQL Server 2000 handy. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

Product Details

Publication date:
Sams Teach Yourself Series
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt


Welcome to the world of relational databases and SQL! This book is written for those self-motivated individuals out there who would like to get an edge on relational database technology by learning the Structured Query Language—SQL. This book was written primarily for those with very little or no experience with relational database management systems using SQL. This book also applies to those who have some experience with relational databases but need to learn how to navigate within the database, issue queries against the database, build database structures, manipulate data in the database, and more. This book is not geared toward individuals with significant relational database experience who have been using SQL on a regular basis.

What This Book Intends to Accomplish

This book was written for individuals with little or no experience using SQL or those who have used a relational database, but their tasks have been very limited within the realm of SQL. Keeping this thought in mind, it should be noted up front that this book is strictly a learning mechanism, and one in which we present the material from ground zero and provide examples and exercises with which to begin to apply the material covered. This book is not a complete SQL reference and should not be relied on as a sole reference of SQL. However, this book combined with a complete SQL command reference could serve as a complete solution source to all of your SQL needs.

What We Added to This Edition

This edition contains the same content and format as the first through third editions. We have been through the entire book, searching for the little things that could be improved to produce a better edition. We have also added concepts and commands from the new SQL standard, SQL:2003, to bring this book up to date, making it more complete and applicable to today's SQL user. The most important addition was the use of MySQL for hands-on exercises. By using an open source database such as MySQL, all readers have equal opportunity for participation in hands-on exercises.

What You Need

You might be wondering, what do I need to make this book work for me? Theoretically, you should be able to pick up this book, study the material for the current hour, study the examples, and either write out the exercises or run them on a relational database server. However, it would be to your benefit to have access to a relational database system to which to apply the material in each lesson. The relational database to which you have access is not a major factor because SQL is the standard language for all relational databases. Some database systems that you can use include Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, MySQL, and dBase.

Conventions Used in This Book

For the most part, we have tried to keep conventions in this book as simple as possible.

Many new terms are printed in italics.

In the listings, all code that you type in (input) appears in boldface monospace. Output appears in standard monospace. Any code that is serving as a placeholder appears in italic monospace.

SQL code and keywords have been placed in uppercase for your convenience and general consistency. For example:


The following special design features enhance the text:

There are syntax boxes to draw your attention to the syntax of the commands discussed during each hour.


Note - Notes are provided to expand on the material covered in each hour of the book.

Caution - Cautions are provided to warn the reader about "disasters" that could occur and certain precautions that should be taken.

Tip - Tips are also given to supplement the material covered during appropriate hours of study.

ANSI SQL and Vendor Implementations

One thing that is difficult about writing a book like this on standard SQL is that although there is an ANSI standard for SQL, each database vendor has its own implementation of SQL. With each implementation come variations from the actual standard, enhancements to the standard, and even missing elements from the standard.

The expected question is, "Because there is an ANSI standard for SQL, what is so difficult about teaching standard SQL?" The answer to this question begins with the statement that ANSI SQL is just that: a standard. ANSI SQL is not an actual language. To teach you SQL, we had to come up with examples and exercises that involve using one or more implementations of SQL. Because each vendor has its own implementation with its own specifications for the language of SQL, these variations, if not handled properly in this book, could actually cause confusion concerning the syntax of various SQL commands. Therefore, we have tried to stay as close to the ANSI standard as possible, foremost discussing the ANSI standard and then showing examples from different implementations that are very close, if not the same, as the exact syntax that ANSI prescribes.

We have, however, accompanied examples of variations among implementations with notes for reminders and tips on what to watch out for. Just remember this: Each implementation differs slightly from other implementations. The most important thing is that you understand the underlying concepts of SQL and its commands. Although slight variations do exist, SQL is basically the same across the board and is very portable from database to database, regardless of the particular implementation.

Understanding the Examples and Exercises

We have chosen to use MySQL for most of the examples in this book due to its high compliance to the ANSI standard; however, we have also shown examples from Oracle, Sybase, Microsoft SQL Server, and dBase.

The use of MySQL for hands-on exercises was chosen so that all readers may participate, with minimal confusion in converting SQL syntax into the proper syntax of the database each reader is using. MySQL was chosen for exercises because it is an open source database (free), it is easy to install, and its syntax is very similar to that of the ANSI Standard. Additionally, MySQL is compatible with most operating system platforms.

In Appendix B, "Using MySQL for Exercises," we show you how to obtain and install MySQL. After it is installed on your computer, MySQL can be used for most of the exercises in this book. Unfortunately, because MySQL is not fully ANSI SQL compliant, MySQL exercises are not available for every subject.

As stated, some differences in the exact syntax exist among implementations of SQL. For example, if you attempt to execute some examples in this book, you might have to make minor modifications to fit the exact syntax of the implementation that you are using. We have tried to keep all the examples compliant with the standard; however, we have intentionally shown you some examples that are not exactly compliant. The basic structure for all the commands is the same. To learn SQL, you have to start with an implementation using practical examples. For hands-on practice, we use MySQL. If you have access to another database implementation such as Oracle, we encourage its use for hands-on exercises. You should be able to emulate the database and examples used in this book without much difficulty. Any adjustments that you might have to make to the examples in this book to fit your implementation exactly will only help you to better understand the syntax and features of your implementation.

Good luck!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

For more than 10 years, the authors have studied, applied, and documented the SQL standard and its application to critical database systems in this book.

Ryan Stephens and Ron Plew are entrepreneurs, speakers, and cofounders of Perpetual Technologies, Inc. (PTI), a fast-growing IT management and consulting firm. PTI specializes in database technologies, primarily Oracle and SQL servers running on all UNIX, Linux, and Microsoft platforms. Starting out as data analysts and database administrators, Ryan and Ron now lead a team of impressive technical subject matter experts who manage databases for clients worldwide. They authored and taught database courses for Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis for five years and have authored more than a dozen books on Oracle, SQL, database design, and high availability of critical systems.

Arie D. Jones is the principal technology manager for Perpetual Technologies, Inc. (PTI) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Arie leads PTI’s team of experts in planning, design, development, deployment, and management of database environments and applications to achieve the best combination of tools and services for each client. He is a regular speaker at technical events and has authored several books and articles pertaining to database-related topics.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 24 Hours 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Paul Freeman More than 1 year ago
A waste of my money. Exercises filled with missing information and misinformation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with typos and bad code. If you are trying to teach yourself SQL, as the title suggests, this is extremely frustrating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I come from a technical writing background with minimal programming experience. Recently became the QA on a database project. This book covers the concepts in a really easy format that does not overwhelm. I like the excercises at the end because I can see if I really 'got' the information. Yes, I found many typos (I don't know about omissions), but they were easily corrected. I also found the book extemely easy to pick up on a moments notice and 'study' for 20-30 minutes: the information is structured such that the reader can 'come away' with something, no matter how limited the time is. As an aside, I had the book bound in a spiral binding, which made it much easier to study. I have no doubt that much is left out, but I can use the information I learned in a practical way on the job. I hope to followup with a slightly more advanced text that focuses on Transact SQL.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Give this book a miss. While the format was okay, the text contains an incredible number of mistakes and omissions. Consequently, examples, explanations, and exercises often make no sense. Also, many examples tend to be simplistic to the point of stupidity. They confer minimal educational value. Spend your time and money on a book with better content that has been more rigorously proofed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read several of Sams' 'Teach Yourself' series and would have to say this is one of the better ones. The authors provide solid explanations of database basics, as well as SQL's more advanced features. The one drawback is that SQL's syntax varies among db packages. So, the examples won't always work for you. But this book lives up to its title.