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SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL, 3rd Edition

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SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL, 3rd Edition


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  • SQL queries explained in plain English, with plenty of examples using the latest database products and SQL standards
  • Covers everything needed to create efficient queries, work with multiple tables, summarize and group data, modify datasets, and more
  • Includes three new chapters of advanced techniques, covering complex Not/And problems, unlinked tables, and problem-solving with CASE and driver tables


  • Copyright 2014
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Pages: 800
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-99247-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-99247-5

The #1 Easy, Common-Sense Guide to SQL Queries—Updated for Today’s Databases, Standards, and Challenges

SQL Queries for Mere Mortals® has earned worldwide praise as the clearest, simplest tutorial on writing effective SQL queries. The authors have updated this hands-on classic to reflect new SQL standards and database applications and teach valuable new techniques.

Step by step, John L. Viescas and Michael J. Hernandez guide you through creating reliable queries for virtually any modern SQL-based database. They demystify all aspects of SQL query writing, from simple data selection and filtering to joining multiple tables and modifying sets of data.

Three brand-new chapters teach you how to solve a wide range of challenging SQL problems. You’ll learn how to write queries that apply multiple complex conditions on one table, perform sophisticated logical evaluations, and think “outside the box” using unlinked tables.

Coverage includes

-- Getting started: understanding what relational databases are, and ensuring that your database structures are sound

-- SQL basics: using SELECT statements, creating expressions, sorting information with ORDER BY, and filtering data using WHERE

-- Summarizing and grouping data with GROUP BY and HAVING clauses

-- Drawing data from multiple tables: using INNER JOIN, OUTER JOIN, and UNION operators, and working with subqueries

-- Modifying data sets with UPDATE, INSERT, and DELETE statements Advanced queries: complex NOT and AND, conditions, if-then-else using CASE, unlinked tables, driver tables, and more

Practice all you want with downloadable sample databases for today’s versions of Microsoft Office Access, Microsoft SQL Server, and the open source MySQL database. Whether you’re a DBA, developer, user, or student, there’s no better way to master SQL.




Sample Files

Download the read me file and the code files.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

SQL Queries for Mere Mortals: Thinking in Sets

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 7 and Index)

Table of Contents

Foreword xvii

Preface xix

About the Authors xxi

Introduction xxiii

Are You a Mere Mortal? xxiii

About This Book xxiv

What This Book Is Not xxvi

How to Use This Book xxvi

Reading the Diagrams Used in This Book xxvii

Sample Databases Used in This Book xxxi

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road” xxxiii

Part I Relational Databases and SQL 1

Chapter 1 What Is Relational? 3

Types of Databases 3

A Brief History of the Relational Model 4

    In the Beginning . . . 4

    Relational Database Systems 5

Anatomy of a Relational Database 7

    Tables 7

    Fields 9

    Records 9

    Keys 9

    Views 11

    Relationships 12

What’s in It for You? 17

    Where Do You Go from Here? 18

Summary 19

Chapter 2 Ensuring Your Database Structure Is Sound 21

Why Is This Chapter Here? 21

Why Worry about Sound Structures? 22

Fine-Tuning Fields 23

    What’s in a Name? (Part One) 23

    Smoothing Out the Rough Edges 25

    Resolving Multipart Fields 27

    Resolving Multivalued Fields 30

Fine-Tuning Tables 32

    What’s in a Name? (Part Two) 33

    Ensuring a Sound Structure 35

    Resolving Unnecessary Duplicate Fields 36

    Identification Is the Key 42

Establishing Solid Relationships 45

    Establishing a Deletion Rule 48

    Setting the Type of Participation 49

    Setting the Degree of Participation 52

Is That All? 54

Summary 55

Chapter 3 A Concise History of SQL 57

The Origins of SQL 58

Early Vendor Implementations 59

“. . . And Then There Was a Standard” 60

Evolution of the ANSI/ISO Standard 62

Other SQL Standards 65

Commercial Implementations 68

What the Future Holds 69

Why Should You Learn SQL? 69

Which Version of SQL Does This Book Cover? 70

Summary 70

Part II SQL Basics 73

Chapter 4 Creating a Simple Query 75

Introducing SELECT 76

The SELECT Statement 77

A Quick Aside: Data versus Information 79

Translating Your Request into SQL 81

    Expanding the Field of Vision 85

    Using a Shortcut to Request All Columns 87

Eliminating Duplicate Rows 88

Sorting Information 91

    First Things First: Collating Sequences 92

    Let’s Now Come to Order 93

Saving Your Work 96

Sample Statements 97

Summary 106

Problems for You to Solve 107

Chapter 5 Getting More Than Simple Columns 109

What Is an Expression? 110

What Type of Data Are You Trying to Express? 111

Changing Data Types: The CAST Function 114

Specifying Explicit Values 116

    Character String Literals 116

    Numeric Literals 118

    Datetime Literals 119

Types of Expressions 121

    Concatenation 122

    Mathematical Expressions 125

    Date and Time Arithmetic 129

Using Expressions in a SELECT Clause 133

    Working with a Concatenation Expression 134

    Naming the Expression 135

    Working with a Mathematical Expression 137

    Working with a Date Expression 138

    A Brief Digression: Value Expressions 139

That “Nothing” Value: Null 141

    Introducing Null 142

    The Problem with Nulls 143

Sample Statements 144

Summary 153

Problems for You to Solve 154

Chapter 6 Filtering Your Data 157

Refining What You See Using WHERE 157

    The WHERE Clause 158

    Using a WHERE Clause 160

Defining Search Conditions 162

    Comparison 163

    Range 170

    Set Membership 173

    Pattern Match 175

    Null 179

    Excluding Rows with NOT 181

Using Multiple Conditions 184

    Introducing AND and OR 185

    Excluding Rows: Take Two 191

    Order of Precedence 193

    Checking for Overlapping Ranges 197

Nulls Revisited: A Cautionary Note 199

Expressing Conditions in Different Ways 203

Sample Statements 204

Summary 212

Problems for You to Solve 213

Part III Working with Multiple Tables 217

Chapter 7 Thinking in Sets 219

What Is a Set, Anyway? 220

Operations on Sets 221

Intersection 222

    Intersection in Set Theory 222

    Intersection between Result Sets 224

    Problems You Can Solve with an Intersection 227

Difference 228

    Difference in Set Theory 228

    Difference between Result Sets 230

    Problems You Can Solve with Difference 233

Union 234

    Union in Set Theory 234

    Combining Result Sets Using a Union 236

    Problems You Can Solve with Union 238

SQL Set Operations 239

    Classic Set Operations versus SQL 239

    Finding Common Values: INTERSECT 240

    Finding Missing Values: EXCEPT (DIFFERENCE) 243

    Combining Sets: UNION 245

Summary 248

Chapter 8 INNER JOINs 249

What Is a JOIN? 249


    What’s “Legal” to JOIN? 250

    Column References 251

    Syntax 252

    Check Those Relationships! 267

Uses for INNER JOINs 268

    Find Related Rows 268

    Find Matching Values 269

Sample Statements 269

    Two Tables 270

    More Than Two Tables 276

    Looking for Matching Values 283

Summary 294

Problems for You to Solve 295

Chapter 9 OUTER JOINs 299

What Is an OUTER JOIN? 299


    Syntax 302


    Syntax 320

    FULL OUTER JOIN on Non-Key Values 323

    UNION JOIN 323

Uses for OUTER JOINs 324

    Find Missing Values 324

    Find Partially Matched Information 325

Sample Statements 325

Summary 341

Problems for You to Solve 341

Chapter 10 UNIONs 345

What Is a UNION? 345

Writing Requests with UNION 348

    Using Simple SELECT Statements 348

    Combining Complex SELECT Statements 351

    Using UNION More Than Once 355

    Sorting a UNION 357

Uses for UNION 358

Sample Statements 359

Summary 371

Problems for You to Solve 372

Chapter 11 Subqueries 375

What Is a Subquery? 376

    Row Subqueries 376

    Table Subqueries 377

    Scalar Subqueries 378

Subqueries as Column Expressions 378

    Syntax 378

    An Introduction to Aggregate Functions: COUNT and MAX 381

Subqueries as Filters 384

    Syntax 384

    Special Predicate Keywords for Subqueries 386

Uses for Subqueries 397

    Build Subqueries as Column Expressions 397

    Use Subqueries as Filters 398

Sample Statements 399

    Subqueries in Expressions 399

    Subqueries in Filters 405

Summary 413

Problems for You to Solve 414

Part IV Summarizing and Grouping Data 417

Chapter 12 Simple Totals 419

Aggregate Functions 420

    Counting Rows and Values with COUNT 422

    Computing a Total with SUM 425

    Calculating a Mean Value with AVG 427

    Finding the Largest Value with MAX 428

    Finding the Smallest Value with MIN 430

    Using More Than One Function 431

Using Aggregate Functions in Filters 432

Sample Statements 435

Summary 442

Problems for You to Solve 443

Chapter 13 Grouping Data 445

Why Group Data? 446

The GROUP BY Clause 448

    Syntax 449

    Mixing Columns and Expressions 454

    Using GROUP BY in a Subquery in a WHERE Clause 456

    Simulating a SELECT DISTINCT Statement 457

“Some Restrictions Apply” 458

    Column Restrictions 459

    Grouping on Expressions 461

Uses for GROUP BY 462

Sample Statements 463

Summary 474

Problems for You to Solve 475

Chapter 14 Filtering Grouped Data 477

A New Meaning of “Focus Groups” 478

Where You Filter Makes a Difference 482

    Should You Filter in WHERE or in HAVING? 482

    Avoiding the HAVING COUNT Trap 485

Uses for HAVING 490

Sample Statements 491

Summary 499

Problems for You to Solve 500

Part V Modifying Sets of Data 503

Chapter 15 Updating Sets of Data 505

What Is an UPDATE? 505

The UPDATE Statement 506

    Using a Simple UPDATE Expression 507

    A Brief Aside: Transactions 510

    Updating Multiple Columns 511

    Using a Subquery to Filter Rows 512

    Using a Subquery UPDATE Expression 518

Uses for UPDATE 520

Sample Statements 521

Summary 538

Problems for You to Solve 538

Chapter 16 Inserting Sets of Data 541

What Is an INSERT? 541

The INSERT Statement 543

    Inserting Values 543

    Generating the Next Primary Key Value 547

    Inserting Data by Using SELECT 548

Uses for INSERT 555

Sample Statements 556

Summary 568

Problems for You to Solve 568

Chapter 17 Deleting Sets of Data 571

What Is a DELETE? 571

The DELETE Statement 572

    Deleting All Rows 573

    Deleting Some Rows 575

Uses for DELETE 579

Sample Statements 580

Summary 588

Problems for You to Solve 589

Part VI Introduction to Solving Tough Problems 591

Chapter 18 “NOT” and “AND” Problems 593

A Short Review of Sets 593

    Sets with Multiple AND Criteria 594

    Sets with Multiple NOT Criteria 595

    Sets Including Some Criteria but Excluding Others 596

Finding Out the “Not” Case 597

    Using OUTER JOIN 598

    Using NOT IN 601

    Using NOT EXISTS 603

    Using GROUP BY/HAVING 604

Finding Multiple Matches in the Same Table 607

    Using INNER JOIN 608

    Using IN 610

    Using EXISTS 612

    Using GROUP BY/HAVING 614

Sample Statements 618

Summary 636

Problems for You to Solve 637

Chapter 19 Condition Testing 641

Conditional Expressions (CASE) 641

    Why Use CASE? 642

    Syntax 642

Solving Problems with CASE 647

    Solving Problems with Simple CASE 647

    Solving Problems with Searched CASE 652

    Using CASE in a WHERE Clause 655

Sample Statements 655

Summary 669

Problems for You to Solve 669

Chapter 20 Using Unlinked Data and “Driver” Tables 671

What Is Unlinked Data? 672

    Deciding When to Use a CROSS JOIN 675

Solving Problems with Unlinked Data 676

Solving Problems Using “Driver” Tables 679

    Setting Up a Driver Table 679

    Using a Driver Table 682

Sample Statements 686

    Examples Using Unlinked Tables 687

    Examples Using Driver Tables 697

Summary 705

Problems for You to Solve 705

In Closing 709

Appendices 711

Appendix A SQL Standard Diagrams 713

Appendix B Schema for the Sample Databases 723

Sales Orders Example Database 724

Sales Orders Modify Database 725

Entertainment Agency Example Database 726

Entertainment Agency Modify Database 727

School Scheduling Example Database 728

School Scheduling Modify Database 729

Bowling League Example Database 730

Bowling League Modify Database 731

Recipes Database 732

Appendix C Date and Time Types, Operations, and Functions 733

IBM DB2 733

Microsoft Office Access 736

Microsoft SQL Server 738

MySQL 740

Oracle 743

Appendix D Suggested Reading 745

Database Books 745

Books on SQL 745

9780321992475    TOC    5/20/2014

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