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In SQL Server 2008 Essential Training, Simon Allardice explores all the major features of SQL Server 2008 R2, beginning with core concepts: installing, planning, and building a first database. Explore how Transact-SQL is used to retrieve, update, and insert information, and gain insight into how to effectively administer databases. The course also covers features outside SQL Server's database engine, including technologies that have grown up around it: SQL Server Reporting Services and Integration Services. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you are new with the SQL Server, I can assure you that it's a really good idea to have an easy way to get to SQL Server Books Online. In a default installation you'll find under the Documentation and Tutorials section of SQL Server 2008 R2. I am actually going to right-click this and pin this to the Start menu as well just so I have access to both Management Studio and Books Online very easily. Opening it up, you'll find that it's really split, at least initially, into a couple of different sections.
It starts off with this core section talking about the categories of SQL Server but really, it split over here on the left into the Contents section, allowing you to drill down into the different pieces, and a very useful index. You'll probably spend a lot of time looking things up in the index because it is huge and links you to a whole bunch of different stuff. Again, you will find that this does not just have a reference to it. The index is a great reference but inside Books Online, you'll find whole areas like SQL Server Tutorials, tutorials on using Management Studio, or the SQLCMD utility, or the Database Tuning Advisor.
So as you start to look through those, you will be likely to find tutorials in just about everything and you can see then at the bottom of most of the pages, you even have the ability to send feedback to Microsoft if you disagree with something. As you start to drill down into the different parts of it, so for example, selecting the Database Engine section within Contents, you'll see that you can browse a lot of this material by life cycle. Are you really more interested in getting started, are you interested in security, are you interested in deployment or development? Not only that but you can drill down into a lot of this content by browsing it by the particular role. If you're a developer or an information worker, you're interested in a different kind of information than your typical SQL Server administrator.
Books Online is huge. Initially, you'll find it rather overwhelming till your comfortable with making a way around it but it's a very, very useful application to have. It will be your go-to source of information most of the time within SQL Server. When you find parts of it that you think are really, really useful, say for example, you have drill down into the Information Worker and you found the section about Accessing and Changing Database Data, you can decide to make this page a favorite up here in the toolbar.
You have an Add to Help Favorites link. You click that, and what you'll find is that the third tab along the bottom on the left-hand side now allows you to switch from the general contents to the index to your particular bookmarks, your little Help favorites. That's all I really want to explain to get a started with Books Online. just get used to keeping this open in the background and referencing it whenever you can.
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