RE: learning databases--which book?

Subject: RE: learning databases--which book?
From: "Brady, Joy" <JBrady -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "'Jessica N. Lange'" <jlange -at- OEE -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 08:28:15 -0400

I have two good suggestions for you, Jessica:
- Microsoft Access 97 for Windows Superguide by Miriam Liskin (ZD
- Relational Database Design Clearly Explained by Jan L. Harrington
(publisher : AP Professional)

I have found the Superguide invaluable in learning Access -
chock full of good examples, comes with a good companion web site (sample
database that's used in the tutorials, etc.) It also does a good job of
explaining the basics of SQL. I found that the book served two uses, making
it ideal. First, it provides a great tutorial that runs as a theme through
the book. Second, you can also use it as a reference - that is, you can jump
into the middle or near the end just to look up information.

Since you want to learn now, and you have to wait 2 months
for 2000, I recommend focusing on 97 just to learn it. It would be a pain to
learn 2000 just from a book, without hands-on experience. The upgrade will
be easy for you if you learn Access 97. Also, since manuals for Access 97
are likely to be available at the library, you save money. (I could drive
myself to the poorhouse if I didn't make an honest effort to stay out of

I only recommend the relational database design book because
it's truly helpful to have a general understanding of relational databases.
The book's a quick read (the first 1/3 will get you "thinking right" about
database concepts, then you could put the book down.) An evening or two of
reading it will help format your brain, give you the lingo your contributors
will be using when they ask you to display the contents of their databases
on the web. THEY should provide the SQL queries to you, but you really do
want to understand them. (You'll be surprised how easy it is). Don't buy
either of these if you can get them at the library - just get your feet wet
with the concepts and save some dough. (Well, maybe buy the Access book.)

Joy M. Brady
Sr. Technical Writer/Retail Systems Documentation (CAD4A)
mailto:jbrady -at- alldata -dot- net <mailto:jbrady -at- alldata -dot- net>
614.729.4645 (voice)
614.729.4499 (fax)

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