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Book Review: Murach's SQL Server 2012 for Developers

Get up to date with the new features

Murach's SQL Server 2012 for Developers by Brian Syverson and Joel Murach is an introduction to SQL Server 2012 and to developing key T-SQL (Transaction SQL) skills to become a successful developer. T-SQL is the language used by SQL Server to communicate with SQL Server databases. This book continues the Murach philosophy of using twinned pages to enhance the learning experience by repeating and enhancing the information on the first page with information on the facing page. I like this approach as it helps to reinforce the concepts being presented.

The book contains 23 chapters that are divided into five sections. There are also three appendixes that cover installing the examples used in the book and presenting suggested coding standards. The book also highlights changes made to SQL Server starting with SQL Server 2005. While the changes made to each new SQL Server version have not been huge, overall there are now a goodly number of functions, etc., which you are going to want to learn about. If you have not read any update books regarding SQL Server in the past several years then you're going to want to buy this book as it discusses the skills needed to build a well-designed database. The final section discusses SQL Server CLR integration using Visual Studio and SQL Server 2012.

The designer for SQL Server has been enhanced with IntelliSense (SQL Server 2008) and the ability to add code snippets (SQL Server 2012).

Here's a sample of the new features:

SQL Server 2005

SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2012

Top accepts a variable

Insert multiple rows at one time

Offset & Fetch

Common Table Expressions

Date data type and time data type



Table Value Parameters

Triggers and DDL statements




There is a really neat feature that allows triggers to capture schema events and store them in a database table. This is accomplished by using the event data function, which captures event data after some of the following events are triggered: creating a table, updating a table, dropping a table, inserting a store procedure, updating a store procedure or dropping a store procedure. This is a great tool for being able to capture any schema changes made to the database especially in a production environment. There are two new logical functions introduced in SQL Server 2012. The IIF function, which returns one of two values depending upon the results of the conditional expression, and the CHOOSE function, which returns a value from a list of values depending upon the index you specify.

There are also several helpful functions that unfortunately are not mentioned in the book such as parsename, datalength, and cross apply. Cross apply is a very powerful function that was introduced with SQL Server 2005 and really needs to be discussed. I would also like the authors to give more concrete examples of how to use common table expressions.

Overall this is a fine book that I would recommend buying especially if you haven't done any refreshing of your SQL Server skills since SQL Server 2000. This book provides handy examples that will get you up to date with most of the new features.

More Stories By Steven Mandel

Steven Mandel has worked in the IT industry for over 15 years designing databases using Microsoft Access and SQL Server. He has developed Web and Windows applications using VB.NET and has written numerous articles and reviews about ASP.NET and VB.NET.

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