Honestly, this book is fairly good. It is not particularly great at any one aspect but truthfully you will learn at least something if you haven’t used SQL Server 2012 beforehand. Right now I am using the Enterprise edition of SQL server 2013 and that is what I used to evaluate this book.
Like most SQL tutorials you may find from Microsoft this one uses the standard and overused Adventure Works database. Using this database is of course easy for Microsoft to use, most people are already familiar with it if you have used or have learned SQL server before. That is all fine and dandy but if you want to learn something new and not overlook something a new database model should be developed.
That by far is one of my biggest criticisms for most books published by Microsoft. They, Microsoft, continue to use the same thing over and over again. This repetition is boring and you may overlook something because you may feel you already know about this database.
One aspect that really bugs me, and something that isn’t taught enough in my opinion, is that this book really doesn’t delve into proper database modeling. There is no discussion of third normal form, I personally hate databases that have redundant fields, or those that are not properly constructed in 3rd normal form.
The parts of this book I did enjoy is the use of SQL and how it is taught. Most joins and other queries are taught and explained fairly well. However, if you want to actually delve deep into SQL code you may need another book on the subject. This is not a book I would use to learn SQL coding, just being honest. If you already know how to code in SQL then this book is a nice little refresher on the subject. A SQL recipes book or something may be best if you want to hone your SQL coding skills.
A tip if you are using this book to study for any SQL server certification exams. This book will not help you pass those exams. Rather, be sure to go into the online forums, particularly Microsoft’s, to learn what pitfalls people run into when using SQL server 2012 and other later versions. The questions people post there most often end up being on the test. If you can understand every aspect of what they are talking about on the forums you should be relatively okay to pass the exam.
The best way to learn any new technology is to actually delve into it using a real world situation. So therefore you should be able to simulate real world problems either on your own or using your own experience to learn this subject.
If you knew nothing about SQL server this book would help you get started. I wouldn’t use this book as my sole resource for my work or for studying for an exam, you would need a lot of extra help to pass any Microsoft exam using any Microsoft approved books. Clearly however this book is not designed for the average IT Pro but it is a good introduction into the subject, maybe students in college would find this book to be handy.