Thursday, April 19, 2012

SQL Server 2012 Free Book Download (PDF, MOBI, EPUB)

Get a Free Microsoft SQL-Server 2012 Book

Lean What's New in SQL-Server 2012

If you are considering migrating from Microsoft SQL-Server 2005, 2008, or 2008r2 to the newly release SQL-Server 2012, you may wish to see what's new in SQL-Server 2012 before making the move. I wrote a summary blog about SQL-Server 2012 New Features of Interest last month to get you started.

In that blog, I provided bullet-points covering a few areas of interest, including: SQL2012 New and Improved Features / Enhancements, SQL 2012 Transact-SQL (T-SQL) improvements / enhancements, and an overview of Obsolete and Deprecated Features. But, perhaps you want a bit more detail...

Microsoft makes PDF / MOBI / EPUB available for Free

Microsoft Press was good enough to provide a downloadable Free ebook: Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 to help you catch up on their SQL-Server product. So, is the book any good?

My Quick "Review" / Thoughts about this book

I gave the Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 book a quick read-through. Perhaps no surprise: a lot of it reads like marketing material, in my opinion. Yes, the book is "OK" for getting an overview of what's new in MS SQL-Server 2012, as it provides a decent level of detail by areas of interest within the product.

Some observations:

  •  I could not help thinking this book could be a LOT shorter and accomplish the same thing or make it more clear.  This is typical of many tech-books that seem to think more pages equals more credibility.  Who has time for this?

    One example can be found on pages 12-15, where the features by edition are being compared.  Great, but why not start with Standard edition features, and then for the Business Intelligence edition and Enterprise Editions say "includes features of Standard, plus the following:" instead of repeating portions of  the list.  In fact, it gets worse... the way they presented this information is horrendous; good luck deciphering what each version of the product has based on this section of the book.  Why?  They repeat some feature enumerations, but not others. E.g., they repeat "reporting" and "analytics" in each edition's bullet-lists, but only show "spatial support" and "filetable" on the Standard Edition (which, clearly Enterprise will include too).  It's a mess!  

  • I wonder how much time the authors spend on the circular pie-with-arrows image on page 12 that is supposed to show some relation between product editions.  And, let me summarize it's value: ZERO.  What in the heck is this showing?  OK, we know the three editions, but what are the arrows?   It would make sense if the arrows went from Standard, to Business Intelligence, to Enterprise and then ended, but what is with the arrow from Enterprise back to Standard?  Bottom line: the graphic adds NOTHING.

  • The authors suffer from plump-it-up wordsmithing all too often.  E.g., ( from p76) "In addition, the following list articulates other new features associated with FILESTREAM:"; wow, what a lengthy way to say "Additional  FILESTREAM  features include:"!  ughhh.  Such verbal embellishment adds nothing of value.  And, such useless wordiness runs rampant in this book.  Too often, this verbosity makes things less clear than more clear; that is a problem.  I could list plenty of examples, but that too would add little value :)

  • Various errata found even during a quick read.  See page 87's table of "possible use cases" for a multipolygon, and the "Ccadastre"; do editors proof-read these days? They spelled it right in the previous example, but got it wrong during a copy/paste to this grid-box.  By the way, how about using the words "survey map" (one case where two words may be better than one since cadastre / cadaster is not a common term).

    While critiquing their spatial-data examples, I also question their "possible use cases" for point and multipoint where they state "Can be used to draw a tree, pole, hydrant, value"; I don't know about you, but I don't draw trees with points.  I think they want to say that a point or multipoint can be used to indicate the location of tree(s), pole(s), etc.

  • Chapter 5 is entitled "Programmability and Beyond-Relational Enhancements", but yet they did not discuss ANY of the changes to Transact-SQL that I enumerated in my previous blog entry (link above in first paragraph: recommended).   I would have expected at least some discussion of the T-SQL enhancements, e.g.,: new builtin functions, windowing functionality in the OVER clause (handy!), OFFSET and FETCH in the ORDER BY clause, and more.  Perhaps neither author writes many stored procedures or hard-core queries, and thus didn't see the value in mentioning these new features?    

In summary:

The book is certainly a nicer way to get familiar with all the changes in SQL-Server 2012 without having to bounce around all the pages within the Books Online, but the book also leaves out important details regarding functionality that is truly new in SQL-Server 2012 (like the Transact-SQL changes).    Once I got past various issues (as mentioned above), I felt the book did an OK job of presenting SQL-Server 2012, especially considering the fact it is being given away for FREE.

Download it for yourself and share your thoughts here if you have a chance.

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