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Kevin Kline

Soliciting Feedback for the 3rd Edition of "SQL in a Nutshell"

Kevin here.  In the 2nd edition of my book "SQL in a Nutshell", I covered the latest ANSI SQL implementation, plus the full syntax and usage of the SQL commands for IBM's DB2 UDB, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.  You can imagine how much work that was. 

I'm now starting to plan for the 3rd edition of the book since all of the database platforms have a new major release under their belts.  But I'm curious - how much PostgreSQL are you actually seeing out there in the market?  I've been very watchful and still see very little of it.  Because of this, I'm strongly leaning towards dropping coverage of PostgreSQL.  It will save me an enormous amount of work and quite a bit of space in the book.  Thoughts?

Also, I appreciate any other thoughts or comments you might have about improving "SQL in a Nutshell".

Many thanks,


Published Monday, November 26, 2007 12:03 PM by KKline

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Chuck said:

I've been a SQL In A Nutshell customer ever since your first edition came out, boy was that a thin book.  Your Second Edition was quite a bit of work!

I'd like to let you know that I'm a PostgreSQL developer and would love for you to continue covering PostgreSQL in your book.

November 26, 2007 5:01 PM

Josh Berkus said:


Well, I'd agree that PostgreSQL is probably the least popular of the five databases you're covering ... we've been in the #5 spot for a while.  Whatever list you have, there's always going to be a least popular member -- it's a question of how many databases you want to cover.  Are you trying to broaden or narrow coverage?

On the other hand, PostgreSQL is a database used by serious SQL geeks, unlike the other OSS database on your list.  So I'd tend to imagine that even though 2x more people use MySQL, an equal number of people would buy your book based on PostgreSQL.

While this doesn't help you on the pagecount, you could easily recruit someone from the PostgreSQL community to help with the work of updating the PostgreSQL entries.

November 26, 2007 7:08 PM

a.m. said:

Of the current crop of open source offerings, PostgreSQL is the only one I'd use (and maybe Firebird, depending on the situation).  I hope that you will keep it in there.  Maybe someday those MySQL people will flip and PostgreSQL can start gaining the momentum it deserves... How about dropping MySQL instead?  The other option I might suggest is DB2, although that's a difficult one; DB2 has some very cool features, but how many people are actually using it?  I just did a quick Monster search and discovered ~1300 jobs for DB2, 5000+ jobs for Oracle, 5000+ for SQL Server, 2100 for MySQL... and I really don't want to mention the PostgreSQL number after arguing in its favor... 228

November 26, 2007 8:53 PM

Jeff Belina said:

In my work experience I've seen Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and MySQL, but not PostgreSQL.

Hope this helps!


November 27, 2007 10:55 AM

mksql said:

PostgreSQL might not rank high in the popularity contest, but from a research/educational standpoint it is closer to the big 3(4) commercial offerings than MySQL. The decision to include it depends on your target audience and the goals for your book. If maximizing readership is primary, then the ratio of number of extra readers you get from PostgreSQL per unit of effort will be low. However, if you also wish to make the book as universally useful as possible (i.e. an all-in-one guide), then the effort may be well spent.

I knew little about PostgreSQL until I read Blum's "PostgreSQL 8 for Windows", and was surprised by some of the features this database provides. If coverage is continued in more well known publications (such as yours), you will be doing the community a service as well by (hopefully) introducing others to the options.

November 27, 2007 11:01 AM

Linchi Shea said:


Between MySQL and PostgreSQL, I'd drop the latter as MySQL seems to be gathering momentum. Also, DB2 is used widely and may see much more use (from where I sit anyway). DB2 9.5 for LUW has some fantastic features (row-level compression for example) and is highly scalable into very large databases because of its database partitioning feature.

November 27, 2007 11:03 AM

Denis Gobo said:


PostgreSQL is big in Japan, if your book will be available in Japan I would include it

BTW check out the FLOSS Weekly podcast "Josh Berkus on PostgreSQL"

This podcast explains where PostgreSQL comes from, scalability etc etc etc

November 27, 2007 12:45 PM

a.m. said:

Linchi: From what I can tell, MySQL continues to gain momentum simply due to buzz and the fact that people don't know that better options exist.

November 27, 2007 5:36 PM

Denis Gobo said:

1) MySQL had a native windows installer way before PostgreSQL, this made it much easier to develop on windows boxes

2) Most PHP books are PHP + MySQL so the PHP programmers pick MySQL since that is what is in the book

November 27, 2007 5:42 PM

Linchi Shea said:


That may be the case. But what you said applies to much more than MySQL.

November 27, 2007 5:50 PM

a.m. said:

Denis:  Yes, I've seen a lot of references to "LAMP", but also some recent references to "LARP" -- Ruby/Rails + PostgreSQL.  Apparently the Ruby people are more forward thinking, which makes sense given how much cooler it is than PHP :-)

November 27, 2007 6:20 PM

mksql said:

November 30, 2007 2:43 PM

Denis Gobo said:

What about SIMP?

SIMP  = Silverlight + IIS + MySQL + PHP


December 1, 2007 9:03 AM

James Luetkehoelter said:

This is late and probably past your need Kevin, but I would say leave Postgre in - I see a fair amount in public sector situations. And personally I would prefer it to MySQL...

December 1, 2007 8:24 PM

KKline said:

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all of this great feedback!  And fie on those of you encouraging me to ADD more content.  I was trying to find a way to reduce scope, not increase it.  ;^)

I'm in talks with O'Reilly now.  They want to reduce costs, so they're encouraging me to cut -something-.  Similarly, I want to reduce my work.  However, if I can find someone to help on the PostgreSQL, then I'll try to keep it in.

Best regards,


January 2, 2008 12:58 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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