Who Should Read This Book?

Welcome to the world of relational databases and SQL! This book is written for those self-motivated individuals out there who would like to get an edge on relational database technology by learning the Structured Query LanguageSQL. This book was written primarily for those with very little or no experience with relational database management systems using SQL. This book also applies to those who have some experience with relational databases but need to learn how to navigate within the database, issue queries against the database, build database structures, manipulate data in the database, and more. This book is not geared toward individuals with significant relational database experience who have been using SQL on a regular basis.
What This Book Intends to Accomplish

This book was written for individuals with little or no experience using SQL or those who have used a relational database, but their tasks have been very limited within the realm of SQL. Keeping this thought in mind, it should be noted up front that this book is strictly a learning mechanism, and one in which we present the material from ground zero and provide examples and exercises with which to begin to apply the material covered. This book is not a complete SQL reference and should not be relied on as a sole reference of SQL. However, this book combined with a complete SQL command reference could serve as a complete solution source to all of your SQL needs.
What We Added to This Edition

This edition contains the same content and format as the first and second editions. We have been through the entire book, searching for the little things that could be improved to produce a better edition. We have also added concepts and commands from the new SQL standard, SQL3, to bring this book up to date, making it more complete and applicable to today's SQL user. The most important addition was the use of MySQL for hands-on exercises. By using an open source database such as MySQL, all readers have equal opportunity for participation in hands-on exercises.
What You Need

You may be wondering, what do I need to make this book work for me? Theoretically, you should be able to pick up this book, study the material for the current hour, study the examples, and either write out the exercises or run them on a relational database server. However, it would be to your benefit to have access to a relational database system to which to apply the material in each lesson. The relational database to which you have access is not a major factor because SQL is the standard language for all relational databases. Some database systems that you can use include Oracle, Sybase, Informix, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, MySQL, and dBASE.