Because it underlies the information infrastructure of so many organizations, Microsoft SQL Server is a great place for systems experts to extend their knowledge beyond general familiarity. By acquiring a programmer's knowledge of this robust database solution, you can make yourself far more valuable than an ordinary system administrator. SQL Server Developer's Guide will get you started in the use of Structured Query Language (SQL), Java, and C to build SQL Server 7.0 applications. You'll have to back this book with a language text if you lack general programming skills, but SQL Server Developer's Guide does a competent job of explaining how SQL Server interacts with software that's designed to read and write databases.
Some readers will object to the inclusion of general programming advice about such topics as debugging and source management. It sometimes seems that the authors, given a chance to write a programming book, tried to include lots of accumulated wisdom. It's often interesting reading, but it's not always relevant to development of software for interaction with Microsoft databases. When it gets down to SQL Server programming, however, the book does a great job of explaining how the server and its programming interfaces work. The text, which is combined with line drawings, explains concepts and uses a variation on traditional syntax documentation for illuminating aspects of the SQL language (and SQL, by the way, does get more attention here than any other language). Specifically, the book devotes far more space to parameters of each statement than is typical elsewhere--a helpful approach. --David Wall
Topics covered: Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 for hacker-minded database administrators and software developers, with emphasis on the SQL Server Development Tools, aspects of SQL itself, and interaction between SQL Server and programs that are written in Java and C. Stored procedures and triggers, appropriately, get extra attention.