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Unity about SQL

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While the thought of it bores the hell out of me I've been thinking of picking up SQL to increase the chances of me getting a real job. Im gonna take a couple class at my community colldge this summer for it but I'm probably gonna start on my own soon. The question are. What is the most commenly used build envoirnment? Should I bother using the MFC wrappers for it? Do Buisneses use them? thanks

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SQL and database connectivity has a lot of uses. I use it regularly in websites to create web systems, I also use it daily at work through SQL Server's connectivity tools to query, analyse and update data. There's also many other uses, including it's use in applications (which I'm assuming you're wanting to learn). Basically, you'll need to be more specific about your needs and interest areas before people can guide you to what you'll need.

One thing's for sure, you'll need to learn the basics of SQL. A decent, simple resource to learn the basic ANSI SQL is the W3Schools SQL page. From there, you'll need to know the specifics of your environment to continue (T-SQL? PL/SQL? MySQL? etc...).

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Don't write off SQL before you start :) Basic stuff is pretty easy to pick up (and could be deemed boring), but the language itself goes far beyond what even the best minds can grasp :) As it is based on set theory, there are elegant and efficient ways of expressing extremely complex operations... just wait and you'll see what I mean.

Anyways I'm not sure what you mean with the question about "build environment". SQL is a "query language", and while a query is eventually compiled by the DBMS (Database Management System), generally you don't have to do this yourself (unless you're talking about embedded SQL, in which case it will depend heavily on what language you are embedding into, and which DBMS you are using). For now, I'd recommend sticking with something like ODBC though, in which case data is sent back and forth via strings of the actual SQL statements.

Thus any ODBC tool will do just fine, although each DBMS probably has its own tools :)

Regarding wrappers, I've seen a lot of businesses use them, since they really clean up otherwise redundent code... although it really depends from one wrapper to the next. Borland's components are quite commonly used (if you're using one of their products), and I suspect the equivalent .NET stuff is now quite common. MFC stuff is not uncommon either, but I suspect that MFC will start to disappear with the advent of the .NET stuff. You're probably better off learning the latter unless you're looking at a specific job that requires otherwise.

That said, the difficult part will be to understand the database side of it fully (and well, so that you're not writing terribly inefficient queries, which is pretty easy to do!)... the application side is usually the simple part in database applications (in my experience).

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Thanks for the info guys. As far as understanding the database side of it goes. I've dona a small relational database in pure C. Unfortionaltly tho most people enployers really dont seen to care and want the SQL stuff.

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I've worked for companies from small startups to gigantic banks and SQL is everywhere. In big companies you will not be doing much SQL if you are not a DBA, they have entire departments dedicated to maintaining, backing up and programming the databases. If you need to run an SQL query you will have to write one (or request a task) and then have a DBA optimize it before you can use it (this is true for sites that get millions of hits an hours).

You will need to know SQL to run quesries to get data yourself and honestly SQL is everywhere in the workplace and you can't escape it.

The good news, for basic tasks, it is easy to learn and once you understand the syntax you wiull be able to do about 70% of what is required the other 30% is where you will need expert knowledge and may require stored procedures.

To start (just my example using MySQL, plenty of other DBs around):

1. Download at www.mysql.com
2. Download mySQL control center (same place)
3. Install it
4. Open control center and connect to your machine (localhost)
5. Open the Databases folder and connect to the 'mysql' dabatase (as an example)
6. Select mysql and click on the ! (exclamation point)
7. In the new window that just poped up type: SELECT * FROM mysql.user;
8. Press Control+E or the Exclamation point icon for execute

You have just preformed you first SQL query and got a full list of users on that database (which would be 2 or 3).

As a warning, don't use mysql database for you experiment, it's a system DB and should only be used for reading if you are not sure of what it does.

There is another DB installed called 'test', use that as much as you like, initially it is empty, so create a table, insert some data, run a SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE queries. And don't forget to read the reference guide.

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