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Microsoft SQL Server: Programming FAQ

SQL Server Reference Material

Useful Reference Books for SQL Server Professionals by SQLSister
Posted: 12 Mar 03 (Edited 17 Feb 05)

Below is a list of reference books that the folks on Tek-Tips Bulletin Board like to use. For easy reference; they are divided into categories. Book listings are in the format of title; author; publisher; person who suggested the reference; short description. Not all books will have all information available.

Complete Reference

SQL 2000: The Complete Reference; Jeffrey Shapiro; Osborne; suggested by osjohn and ROB999. The author really covers everything rather well. I wouldn't recommend it as a book for someone just starting with SQL Server; but for people who have been working with SQL Server for awhile and want to know more about how it works deep down inside. It is part of the Database Professional Library series by Osborne.

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed; Rankins, Jensen, Bertucci; SAMS; suggested by LFCFan. It's a pretty good one for beginners. Aside from T-SQL and DBA basics; it explains very neatly about Architecture. It's helped me a lot in general understanding.

Inside Microsoft SQL Server; Kalen Delaney; Microsoft Press; suggested by tlbroadbent. A guide to SQL ServerÆs internal architecture.

DB Admin Books

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 AdministratorÆs Pocket Consultant; William R. Stanek; Microsoft; suggested by SQLSister. A quick guide for most basic admin tasks; it is especially useful to those new to database admin or to SQL server in particular.

Teach Yourself SQL Server 2000 in 21 Days; Richard Waymire and Rick Sawtell; SAMS Publishing; suggested by osjohn. For beginners to get a good solid introduction into SQL 2000 Admin. (This book is out of print and may be hard to find.)

Admin 911; Brian Knight; Osborne; suggested by tlbroadbent. The survival guide for database administrators.

T-SQL/Stored Procedure Programming

SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming; Dejan Sunderic and Tom Woodhead; Osborne; suggested by SQLSister. A good solid reference on stored procedures. I like the sections on error handling; triggers; and dynamic SQL.

Advanced Transact-SQL for SQL Server 2000; Ben-Gan and Moreau; apress; suggested by SQLSister. Helpful when you need something more than the basics.

The Guru's Guide to T-SQL; by Ken Henderson; Addison-Wesley; suggested by ROB999 and tlbroadbent. A good reference on T-SQL programming including undocumented commands.

The GuruÆs Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures; XML; and HTML; Henderson; Addison Wesley; suggested by SQLSister. For when you need really advanced stuff. Good info on undocumented features and creating your own extended stored procedures.

Professional SQL Server 2000 Programming; Rob Vieira; WROX; suggested by ROB999. General T-SQL programming and design reference.

SQL Server and ADO Programming Complete; no author listed (even at the Sybex website); Sybex; suggested by ROB999. Awesome book.

Data Transformations

Professional SQL Server 2000 DTS; Chaffin, Knight and Robinson; Wrox; suggested by tlbroadbent. What you need to successfully import and export data.

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 DTS; Peterson; Sams; suggested by SQLSister. If you need to any kind of complex data transformations; this book will come in handy. I learned about a lot of features I didnÆt even have a clue were available in DTS.

Performance Tuning/Monitoring

SQL Server 2000 Performance Optimization and Tuning Handbook; Ken England; Digital Press; suggested by tlbroadbent. Everything you need to know about optimization and tuning.

SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled; Sajal Dam, Curlingstone; suggested by SQL Sister; 522 pages of performance tuning information. Extremely useful book.

SQL Performance Tuning; Gulutzan and Pelzer. Addison Wesley; suggested by SQLSister. ItÆs not SQL Server specific, but it is an amazing reference on performance tuning. It addresses many issues I had no idea could affect performance. Ought to be in every database programmerÆs library.

Start to Finish Guide to SQL Server Performance Monitoring; K.Brian Kelly; NetImpress Publishing; Inc; suggested by SQLBill. An e-book only. Good information on performance monitoring that is hard to get elsewhere. Good resource for using Profiler. You can get this book here:

Reporting Services

Hitchhiker's Guide to SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services; Peter Blackburn and William R. Vaughn; Addison Wesley; suggested by jby1; this is a very comprehensive guide to Reporting Services, which goes beyond the simple 'How to drag controls onto a form' and tackles advanced subjects that I couldn't see the same depth in any other book I considered.  There are lots of very useful tips and workarounds in it as well. In addition, the authors have a web forum where they answer (and they do!) questions any reader may have about the book.


The Science of Debugging; Telles and Hsieh; Coriolis; suggested by SQLSister. The single most important book any programmer could buy. Debugging is part of every programmerÆs life and most of us receive no training in it. This book fixes that. It is not about database debugging; but the concepts are invaluable. This is one book you should actually read from cover to cover. YouÆll never view the world in quite the same way again after you read it.

SQL in a Nutshell; Kevin and Daniel Kline; O'Reilly; suggested by SQLSister; Good solid SQL reference book, covers the various flavors of SQL including Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQl databases. Has nice quick look table of the SQL Server specific functions. Can be helpful when converting from some other database to SQL Server.

Two other useful ideas for those looking to buy reference books. ROB999 suggesting always reading the reviews for the book at Amazon.com before buying. A site with a list of suggested references; http://www.sql-server-performance.com/self_taught_dba.asp was suggested by osjohn.

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