SQL in a Nutshell applies the classic O'Reilly "Nutshell" format to Structured Query Language (SQL), the elegant descriptive language that's used to create and manipulate stores of data. This book explains the purpose and proper syntax of hundreds of SQL statements, as defined in four major SQL implementations, and details each entry with explanatory text and illustrative examples. Perhaps best of all, authors Kevin and Daniel Kline feature MySQL in their coverage, and give it billing that's equal to that of Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and PostgreSQL. Their inclusion of open-source MySQL, which in most situations carries no license fee, is recognition of its growing popularity and suitability for serious database applications; also, it improves this book's appeal to Unix and Linux developers.
The majority of this slender book comprises eminently useful syntax documentation (which is in the style of Unix man pages, with bracketed options and monospace arguments) and the other information that's specific to individual statements and functions. Additionally, it includes a relatively small amount of conceptual information, such as a section on the proper use of NULL values. The material that's not statement-specific also contrasts data-type implementations of the four covered platforms--for example, readers learn that a PostgreSQL int2 value is known as a smallint in ANSI standard SQL. This is a particularly handy reference book, if you use one of the emphasized SQL implementations. --David Wall
Topics covered: Structured Query Language (SQL), as implemented in Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, as well as in ANSI standard SQL (SQL92 and SQL99). After an introduction to data types and relational database fundamentals (the latter is not emphasized), the authors document SQL statements and functions, one by one and alphabetically. They take care to point out differences among the four implementations.