SQL and Relational Theory, 2nd Edition
How to Write Accurate SQL Code
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: December 2011
Pages: 448

SQL is full of difficulties and traps for the unwary. You can avoid them if you understand relational theory, but only if you know how to put the theory into practice. In this insightful book, author C.J. Date explains relational theory in depth, and demonstrates through numerous examples and exercises how you can apply it directly to your use of SQL.

This second edition includes new material on recursive queries, “missing information” without nulls, new update operators, and topics such as aggregate operators, grouping and ungrouping, and view updating. If you have a modest-to-advanced background in SQL, you’ll learn how to deal with a host of common SQL dilemmas.

  • Why is proper column naming so important?
  • Nulls in your database are causing you to get wrong answers. Why? What can you do about it?
  • Is it possible to write an SQL query to find employees who have never been in the same department for more than six months at a time?
  • SQL supports “quantified comparisons,” but they’re better avoided. Why? How do you avoid them?
  • Constraints are crucially important, but most SQL products don’t support them properly. What can you do to resolve this situation?

Database theory and practice have evolved since the relational model was developed more than 40 years ago. SQL and Relational Theory draws on decades of research to present the most up-to-date treatment of SQL available.

C.J. Date has a stature that is unique within the database industry. A prolific writer well known for the bestselling textbook An Introduction to Database Systems (Addison-Wesley), he has an exceptionally clear style when writing about complex principles and theory.

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oreillySQL and Relational Theory, 2nd Edition

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(2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Do yourself a favour, keep looking!

By Marc Fearby

from Tamworth, NSW, Australia

About Me Developer



    • Difficult to understand
    • Useless In The Real World

    Best Uses

    • Academics

    Comments about oreilly SQL and Relational Theory, 2nd Edition:

    If you're a cloistered academic with absolutely no need to use a real-world SQL-based DBMS to solve problems, then you might find this book useful. On the other hand, if you use SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, etc to design databases for end-users and applications, then this book isn't going to help you design better database ER models.

    You will get to read endless pages of repetitive nonsense about how tables are or are not relvars and rows are or are not tuples, and countless variations on this same theme. Who cares whether SQL has no concept of a 0-tuple, or that field names should be called headings, etc?

    I read the first four chapters of this book, progressively reluctantly but by the time I got to the fifth chapter it began to dawn on me that I wasn't going to learn a thing, and since much of it is based on Tutorial D (and entirely theoretical language, as far as I can tell), and not SQL, it was even more pointless.

    My only saving grace is that I did not have to pay for it myself, since my boss bought it (at my request, I am ashamed to say). I also spent six or so hours of the past two days recovering from an appendectomy reading it when I could have done something more useful, like count grains of rice in a jar.

    I am now going to see if there is such a thing as an SQL Cookbook, with real-world problems and suggested solutions to same.

    (3 of 7 customers found this review helpful)


    Execellent Book for Database Learning

    By surachart

    from Bangkok, Thailand

    About Me DBA, Developer, Educator, Sys Admin


    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written


    • Difficult to understand

    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly SQL and Relational Theory, 2nd Edition:

    It's about Relational model and SQL. Someone who interest about Database, SQL and relational model, that should read it. You will learn SQL and Relational theory from Professional. When you read each chapter finish, you will see "Exercise", that will help you memorize and understand more. It has well-formed paragraphs and many references; it's good for readers.
    It can be reference book in the college or university.

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