The Art of SQL

The Art of SQL

Language: English

Pages: 372

ISBN: 0596008945

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Art of SQL

Language: English

Pages: 372

ISBN: 0596008945

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For all the buzz about trendy IT techniques, data processing is still at the core of our systems, especially now that enterprises all over the world are confronted with exploding volumes of data. Database performance has become a major headache, and most IT departments believe that developers should provide simple SQL code to solve immediate problems and let DBAs tune any "bad SQL" later.

In The Art of SQL, author and SQL expert Stephane Faroult argues that this "safe approach" only leads to disaster. His insightful book, named after Art of War by Sun Tzu, contends that writing quick inefficient code is sweeping the dirt under the rug. SQL code may run for 5 to 10 years, surviving several major releases of the database management system and on several generations of hardware. The code must be fast and sound from the start, and that requires a firm understanding of SQL and relational theory.

The Art of SQL offers best practices that teach experienced SQL users to focus on strategy rather than specifics. Faroult's approach takes a page from Sun Tzu's classic treatise by viewing database design as a military campaign. You need knowledge, skills, and talent. Talent can't be taught, but every strategist from Sun Tzu to modern-day generals believed that it can be nurtured through the experience of others. They passed on their experience acquired in the field through basic principles that served as guiding stars amid the sound and fury of battle. This is what Faroult does with SQL.

Like a successful battle plan, good architectural choices are based on contingencies. What if the volume of this or that table increases unexpectedly? What if, following a merger, the number of users doubles? What if you want to keep several years of data online? Faroult's way of looking at SQL performance may be unconventional and unique, but he's deadly serious about writing good SQL and using SQL well. The Art of SQL is not a cookbook, listing problems and giving recipes. The aim is to get you-and your manager-to raise good questions.

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possible to truncate a partition--truncate being a way of emptying a table or partition that bypasses most of the usual mechanisms and is therefore much faster than regular deletes. Note Because truncate bypasses so much of the work that delete performs, you should use caution. The use of truncate may impact your backups, and it may also have other side effects, such as the invalidation of some indexes. Any use of truncate should always be discussed with your DBAs. The less-than-ideal,

in table A (3), U2 may commit the change at such a point that user U1 finishes checking and wrongly concludes, having found no row, that the path is clear for the delete. Figure 3-8. Fight for the primary key Locking is required to prevent such a case, which would otherwise irremediably lead to inconsistent data. Data integrity is, as it should be, one of the prime concerns of an enterprise-grade DBMS. It will take no chance. Whenever we want to delete a row from table B, we must prevent

are outside the bounds of the relational theory. Of course, this doesn't mean that we cannot still do clever and useful things against this data using SQL. So we may, as a first approximation, represent an SQL query as a double-layered operation as shown in Figure 4-2; first, a relational core identifying the set of data we are going to operate on, second, a non-relational layer which works on this now finite set to give the polishing touch and produce the final result that the user expects.

the joined tables occurring in both select statements of the union—for example, on both sides of the union, something like the following: select ... from A, B, C, D, E1 where (condition on E1) and (joins and other conditions) union select ... from A, B, C, D, E2 where (condition on E2) and (joins and other conditions) This type of query is typical of the cut-and-paste school of programming. In many cases it may be more efficient to use a union of those tables that are not common, complete with

the result of a denormalization and the object of numerous computations. Maintaining an index on a column that is subjected to computations is even costlier than maintaining an index on a static column, since a modified key will "move" inside the index, causing the index to undergo far more updates than from the simple insertion or deletion of nodes. Important All specific criteria are not equally suitable for indexing. In particular, columns that are frequently updated increase

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