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Does SQL change much?

Posted on 2016-09-09
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Last Modified: 2016-09-09
I've decided I'm only going to law school if I get a full ride, I can't really justify spending a lot of money on a JD with the legal market the way it is.

So I want to get SQL down well and I checked out SQL Visual Quickstart Guide, 3rd Edition from the library.

The copyright is in 2008, I'm assuming SQL doesn't change as much as PHP. So this book should be good right?
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Question by:burnedfaceless
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zephyr_hex (Megan) earned 1000 total points
ID: 41791781
The basics of SQL don't change.  However, there are features that are added in newer versions that at some point would be good to know.  But for a first book to get started, it looks like it contains the fundamentals (I read the reviews on Amazon).
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by:gr8gonzo
gr8gonzo earned 500 total points
ID: 41791815
SQL is a generic language that changes based on the type of database that you use.

In that sense, it's very much like how English is a language but it is spoken differently in different countries. For example, the question, "What color is the sky?" is simple enough that it will likely be asked the same way whether you are in the United States or Canada or England or Ireland, etc...

However, asking "Where is the bathroom?" means one thing in the United States (you're looking for a restroom with a toilet), while in England it means you're likely looking for a room with a bath or shower.

Again, this is very similar to SQL. The SQL language defines the generally-accepted way of speaking to a database. Then each database takes it a little bit further. In MySQL, if you want to only grab the first 10 records of a query, you might say:

SELECT * FROM table LIMIT 10;

Whereas in Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL), you would do this:

SELECT TOP 10 * FROM table;

The "SQL" part, meanwhile, simply defines "SELECT <data> FROM <source> WHERE <criteria>".

Generally speaking, even when new versions of databases come out and they introduce new features, they are USUALLY not deprecating old features. That means that most of what you learn from a book in 2008 will still work today.

More often than not, a book will make references to visual tools like SQL Management Studio or Enterprise Manager or PHPMyAdmin, and those tools will change far more than the underlying database will. For example, older versions of MSSQL used Enterprise Manager, but that's since been largely replaced by SQL Management Studio. Of course, those are all just optional "helper" tools. Even if they change the location or appearance of a button, they are still doing the same operations to the database.

New database versions are usually introducing new features that add on to what's already there in the database language, and of course, a book from 2008 won't cover features that were invented/added after it was published. If you're learning SQL from scratch, it'll usually be a while before you get to a point where you need to use any of the newer features because the basics still make up 99% of what you'll need to do.
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by:Zberteoc
Zberteoc earned 500 total points
ID: 41791865
SQL language is the most stable among all languages. It is practically the same for about 50 years now. It gets some new features but not in regards to the main features and not that often. 2008 edition is safe.
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by:burnedfaceless
ID: 41792131
Thanks.
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