Join Simon Allardice for an in-depth discussion in this video Introduction to SQL Server Books Online, part of SQL Server 2008 Essential Training.
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.
- Using T-SQL (Transact-SQL)
- Managing databases with SQL Server Management Studio
- Understanding database normalization
- Using SELECT statements
- Building indexes
- Monitoring database size and integrity
- Backing up and restoring databases
- Creating functions and stored procedures
- Managing database permissions
- Creating and formatting reports
- Adding charts to reports
- Creating and executing a simple SSIS package
Skill Level Beginner
Q: I'm having problems installing the free Express R2 version of SQL Server on Windows XP. I tried 64-bit and 32-bit versions. In the videos, the author installs from a DVD. Do I need to do the same?
Q: The link to the installer for the AdventureWorks sample database, as shown in the Chapter 2 movie "Installing sample databases," no longer works. Where can I find the installer?
A: Microsoft has reorganized its site. The sample files are still there, but they're a bit harder to find. To install them:
1) Visit http://msftdbprodsamples.codeplex.com/.
2) Click the link to "SQL Server 2008 R2 OLTP."
3) Click the AdventureWOkrs2008R2 Data File link and agree to the conditions to download the MDF file.
4) Move the MDF file to your SQL Server Directory, usually located at C:\Program Files\Microsfot SQL Server\MSSQL 10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA.
5) Open the SQL Sever Management Studio and connect to your instance using an account with administrative privileges.
6) Attach the sample database by right-clicking the Databases folder in the Object Explorer and choosing Attach from the pop-up menu.
7) Click the Add button in the next menu and navigate to the MDF file in the Locate Database Files window that appears. Select it and click OK.
8) Remove the reference to the log file in the "AdventureWorks2008R2" database details: pane by selecting the Log entry and clicking removing.*
9) Click OK to return to SQL Server Management Studio and complete the attachment process.
*MDF files are the "data" files for SQL Server databases. They often come along with LOG files (ldf files). This one didn't so we need to REMOVE the reference to the non-existent log file. Select the second row in the lower section (it should say File Type: Log and Message: Not Found) and click the REMOVE button.
For an illustrated version of these instructions (with screenshots), click here for a PDF version.