Accelerated SQL Server 2008 – Walters, Coles, Ferracchiati, Rae & Farmer

Apress asked me to review this book, so here goes… I was a little disappointed, but on the whole thought it was pretty good. I also posted this review to Amazon, where I figure more people will read it.

I saw this book come out, and had high expectations. The authors are all great guys who really know their stuff. What's more, Donald Farmer is _the_ guy for Data Mining, so I was hoping for a big section about the improvements in that area for SQL 2008.

Looking through it though, it feels like a book that was written for SQL 2005 that just got updated a little for SQL 2008, and that wasn't what I was wanting. And to boot, there are things that are just plain missing. There's not a single page on Data Mining, and some of my favourite features just don't appear. For Xmpl, in the FOR XML section, there's no mention of FOR XML PATH at all – which has to be the best way of using FOR XML.

However, I will still recommend this book. I will recommend this book to people who are moving from SQL 2000 and want to know what's new in both SQL 2005 and 2008, but there is a better reason again:

It's really honest! It's written by Microsoft guys, and they give really frank opinions about things. There are times when they happily point out that one feature or another isn't really as useful as it sounds. It's the kind of thing that more books need.

Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal – slides

I've given this presentation a couple of times at user-groups now – last week in Adelaide, and this week in Melbourne. I posted the scripts to my blog recently, making them available to people who heard this talk at TechEd Australia at the start of the month, so now I've got around to uploading the slide deck as well.

I actually plan to blog about many of the tips too, so watch for that over the next month or so. I'll try to do at least one a week for a while, if not more. Obviously some will become longer articles, while some will be quite short. Much of the material gets covered my Advanced T-SQL Querying and Reporting course too – so feel free to check that out some time if you can.


TechEd AU this week. I'm giving a talk on "T-SQL Tips n Techniques: Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal" on Friday morning. The slides are available from CommNet for people registered, but the scripts are here as well. Come along to the talk to see how I use the scripts, but do grab these if you want to be trying them out on your data while I present. They all work on SQL Server 2005, and they use the AdventureWorks database.

I'll also try to do a series of blog posts about some of the tips, but as well as that, many of them are part of the Advanced T-SQL course that I put together earlier in the year.