There are some really great books available on SQL Server and I had an opportunity to really put them to work.
Last week I traveled to sunny Los Angeles to our office in Woodland Hills, California to train some of our employees on SQL Server technology. They hold Data Analyst positions with my company and are responsible for producing reports from our show data for the marketing managers, and it was determined that they could be more effective if they could write their own Transact-SQL queries.
First, I wanted to give them an understanding of the relational model - something I didn't have when I started working as a DBA. Louis Davidson's book Pro SQL Server 2005 Database Design and Optimization served as the perfect guide to build this understanding. The way Louis explains the relational model is clear and easy to grasp, and the reader comes away understanding both how and why database design should be done this way.
After giving them a basic background in SQL, the language, we then dove into Itzik's book Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: T-SQL Querying, which allowed us to dive into how SQL Server processes the queries as well as how to build queries to solve an incredible array of problems.
Finally, we finished up with Itzik's other great Transact-SQL book Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2005: T-SQL Programming, which allowed us to get into the details of how to write the stored procedures and views (as well as many other topics) to allow them to produce the more complicated reports their managers request.
The week was quite intense, but one of the great rewards one gets in teaching is to see that "ah ha!" moment when a student "gets" it. Last week had quite a number of those moments, and I give the credit to the great material that Itzik (and his co-authors Lubor Kollar, Dejan Sarka and Roger Wolter) and Louis provided.
I highly recommend these books to anyone getting started in Transact-SQL or anyone wanting to take their skills to the next level.