The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes a book (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/book) as “something that yields knowledge or understanding” and that it is the source of the “the total available knowledge and experience that can be brought to bear on a task or problem”.
I just completed reading a book that does true justice to the definition above. The book was “SQL Server Interview Questions and Answers”, authored by Pinal Dave (blog) and Vinod Kumar (blog), both of whom have been a source of inspiration to the entire SQL Server community and enthusiasts like myself.
The book arrived at my door a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing that surprised me was the size of the book. It’s a nice little book – convenient enough to carry around wherever you go. Just skimming through the 207 odd pages brought another surprise. The pages are of good quality, and if you are in a habit like me to scribble little notes in the margins, you will be surprised with the large “notes” space that you get. The fonts are large and comfortable to read, preventing eye-strain. These are the advantages of a printed book!
The book was already on its way to becoming a winner.
Mastering the basics
Although the name contains the word “Interview”, this book is much more than just an interview questions guide. As you start reading the book, what you realize immediately is that this small package covers almost everything under the SQL Server umbrella, and caters to multiple audiences of multiple proficiency levels.
This is not a book just for learners; it’s not supposed to be. I would recommend that everyone working with Microsoft SQL Server for more than half of their day should get a copy of this book. Why? Think of it as a quiz. As you start answering the questions from this book, you begin to get a deeper understanding of the basics of Microsoft SQL Server. To aid the discovery process, there are reference links that are available where one can go to for additional information. Most of them lead to Pinal’s blog, which we all know is a goldmine in itself!
For engineers already having practical, hands-on experience on SQL Server, this book is a refresher course on the basics. It is a ready-reckoner for every SQL Server developer & administrator.
Simple, yet power packed content
For those who have had the privilege to listen to Pinal & Vinod presenting various sessions at Tech-Ed & Community Tech Days or for those who read their posts regularly, the simplicity of the language used in the book will not surprise you. It is really hard to keep things simple, and the hard-work of both the authors deserves a round of applause – they have kept things simple enough for the rookie, while packing enough content to excite the professional. (Spoiler alert!) For example, you can read the answer to the question – “Why can there be only one clustered index on a table?” which can be found on page #92. The concept is a complex one, but the way it has been treated makes it so simple to understand.
Book is organized into the following major sections or chapters:
- Database Concepts With SQL Server
- Common Generic Questions & Answers
- Common Developer Questions
- Common Tricky Questions
- Miscellaneous Questions On Sql Server 2008
- DBA Skills Related Questions
- Data Warehousing Interview Questions & Answers
- General Best Practices
What I liked about each section was:
- A very inspiring quote at the start of the section
- A “points to ponder” section at the end of the section
- Quick references to Joes 2 Pros books (parts 1 through 4)
- If given proper thought, this part is more than enough to gain reasonable expertise on SQL Server
- Links to Pinal’s posts for further reading
- Tips and things to keep in mind (for example, ready reference DBCC commands, or edition limitations) are provided in-line, which helps establish a context with the content at hand
Where can you get a copy?
Visit the book’s home pages for information on how you can get a copy for yourself:
(The only thing I found lacking on the book’s home pages is a link to an errata section)
The book takes it all! A 5/5 rating!
With real world questions and practical answers, this is one book you simply cannot afford to miss. Happy reading!
Until we meet next time,
Be courteous. Drive responsibly.