Please Give Us Feedback About Our Books
For many years Microsoft Press books have included a survey page at the back via which we ask for your feedback about the book you purchased, borrowed, checked out of the library, stumbled upon, or whatever, and then--thank you!--used. That page promised a "brief online survey." Well, that survey was pretty brief, and every year Microsoft Press editors would review all of your feedback to look for ways to make our books better. But that was then...
We've just revised the survey to make it even shorter, and we've started a review program in which we, as a team, look at your feedback by book, by series, by author, and by audience every quarter. This is all good, but it's meaningless without your input.
Please give us feedback about the Microsoft Press books you use via the new survey
. We've also added a survey link to the Quick Links in the right column of this newsletter.
Your participation will help Microsoft Press create books that better meet your needs and standards. Thanks in advance for helping us do that!
P.S. On the back of each of our books, you’ll find an ISBN. The survey begins by asking you for that number. The ISBN ensures that your feedback is correctly linked to the book you're commenting on. If you don't have the book at hand, you can find its ISBN by searching for the book in the Microsoft Learning Catalog
or at the sites of online retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
EXAMPLE ONLY. Each book has a unique ISBN.
P.P.S. We've spent no effort on the aesthetics of the survey, but we'll work on that.
For Home and Office Users
Adapted from the Introduction: Introducing Windows 7
Windows 7 is the computer operating system we've all been waiting for!
This latest version of the Windows operating system provides a deceptively simple computing experience; deceptive because on a Windows 7 computer, you can perform more--and more advance--computing operations than ever before.
One of the first things you might notice about Windows 7 is the elegant look of the user interface. If you're accustomed to working with Windows Vista, you'll find a refined and enhanced interface with only a few new navigational features to learn. If you have been using an earlier version of Windows, you'll find there have been significant changes, and will quickly appreciate the high-quality visual effects of the Windows 7 interface. Windows 7 includes several new features that utilize the Aero functionality introduced with Windows Vista. Features such as animations, translucent glass window frames, Windows Flip, Windows Flip 3D, Aero Peek, and Aero Shake provide an amazing desktop computing experience.
Beneath the attractive and efficient interface lies a powerful yet unobtrusive operating system. Windows 7 operates very efficiently, so your computing experience is faster than ever before--you'll particularly notice this if you upgrade your computer from Windows Vista. Security features that were introduced with Windows Vista have been refined to maximize usability and minimize interruptions.
A new view of the file storage structure, called a library, gives you access to multiple storage locations from one window. Locating files, programs, and utilities has never been easier, and various tools and gadgets make it simple to do the things you want and need to do with your computer. Certain programs that were formerly installed with Windows, such as the e-mail management program known, in its various versions, as Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, or Outlook Express, have been removed from the operating system to concentrate Windows 7 resources on managing your computer. These programs are now available to all Windows users as part of the Windows Live family of programs.
You might have purchased a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled or you might have already upgraded your existing computer from another operating system to Windows 7. If Windows 7 is already running on your computer, you can skip most of the information in this section. For readers who are still in the planning stages, this section provides information about the editions of Windows 7 that are available and the process of installing Windows 7 on a computer that is running Windows Vista, Windows XP, or another operating system.
Using Windows 7 Step by Step, you'll be able quickly teach yourself the essentials of working with Windows 7. Learn to manage windows and folders, sort and filter files, create an efficient Windows working environment, and safely access the Internet. You'll learn how to install and manage software and hardware, create and manage homegroups, share content with other computers and computer users, and instantly locate content stored on your PC or network. You'll also learn how to fine-tune your PC’s performance and resolve common problems. In addition, the supplied practice files give you a chance to hone your skills and put the book's lessons to work--all at your own pace.
We're happy to announce the availability of Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Programming
. Below is an excerpt from the book's Introduction, by Itzik Ben-Gan. You can also find the book's Foreword, complete Table of Contents, and an excerpt from Chapter 3, "Stored Procedures," on the Microsoft Press blog
This book and its prequel--Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Querying
--cover advanced T-SQL querying, query tuning, and programming in Microsoft SQL Server 2008. They are designed for experienced programmers and DBAs who need to write and optimize code in SQL Server 2008. For brevity, I’ll refer to the books as T-SQL Querying
and T-SQL Programming
, or just as these books.
Those who read the SQL Server 2005 editions of the books will find plenty of new material covering new subjects, new features, and enhancements in SQL Server 2008, plus revisions and new insights about the existing subjects.
These books focus on practical common problems, discussing several approaches to tackle each. You will be introduced to many polished techniques that will enhance your toolbox and coding vocabulary, allowing you to provide efficient solutions in a natural manner. These books unveil the power of set-based querying, and they explain why it's usually superior to procedural programming with cursors and the like. At the same time, they teach you how to identify the few scenarios where cursor-based solutions are superior to set-based ones.
The prequel to this book--T-SQL Querying
--focuses on set-based querying and query tuning, and I recommend that you read it first. This book--T-SQL Programming
--focuses on procedural programming and assumes that you read the first book or have sufficient querying background.T-SQL Querying
starts with five chapters that lay the foundation of logical and physical query processing required to gain the most from the rest of the chapters in both books. The first chapter covers logical query processing. It describes in detail the logical phases involved in processing queries, the unique aspects of SQL querying, and the special mindset you need to adopt to program in a relational, set-oriented environment.
The second chapter covers set theory and predicate logic--the strong mathematical foundations upon which the relational model is built. Understanding these foundations will give you better insights into the model and the language. This chapter was written by Steve Kass, who was also the main technical editor of these books. Steve has a unique combination of strengths in mathematics, computer science, SQL, and English that make him the ideal author for this subject.
The third chapter covers the relational model. Understanding the relational model is essential for good database design and helps in writing good code. The chapter defines relations and tuples and operators of relational algebra. Then it shows the relational model from a different perspective called relational calculus
. This is more of a business-oriented perspective, as the logical model is described in terms of predicates and propositions. Data integrity is crucial for transactional systems; therefore, the chapter spends time discussing all kinds of constraints. Finally, the chapter introduces normalization--the formal process of improving database design. This chapter was written by Dejan Sarka. Dejan is one of the people with the deepest understanding of the relational model that I know.
The fourth chapter covers query tuning. It introduces a query tuning methodology we developed in our company (Solid Quality Mentors) and have been applying in production systems. The chapter also covers working with indexes and analyzing execution plans. This chapter provides the important background knowledge required for the rest of the chapters in both books, which as a practice discuss working with indexes and analyzing execution plans. These are important aspects of querying and query tuning.
The fifth chapter covers complexity and algorithms and was also written by Steve Kass. This chapter particularly focuses on some of the algorithms used often by the SQL Server engine. It gives attention to considering worst-case behavior as well as average case complexity. By understanding the complexity of algorithms used by the engine you can anticipate, for example, how the performance of certain queries will degrade when more data is added to the tables involved. Gaining a better understanding of how the engine processes your queries equips you with better tools to tune them.
The chapters that follow delve into advanced querying and query tuning, addressing both logical and physical aspects of your code. These chapters cover the following subjects: subqueries, table expressions, and ranking functions; joins and set operations; aggregating and pivoting data; TOP and APPLY; data modification; querying partitioned tables; and graphs, trees, hierarchies, and recursive queries.
The chapter covering querying partitioned tables was written by Lubor Kollar. Lubor led the development of partitioned tables and indexes when first introduced in the product, and many of the features that we have today are thanks to his efforts. These days Lubor works with customers that have, among other things, large implementations of partitioned tables and indexes as part of his role in the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team (SQL CAT).
Appendix A covers logic puzzles. Here you have a chance to practice logical puzzles to improve your logic skills. SQL querying essentially deals with logic. I find it important to practice pure logic to improve your query problem-solving capabilities. I also find these puzzles fun and challenging, and you can practice them with the entire family. These puzzles are a compilation of the logic puzzles that I covered in my T-SQL column in SQL Server Magazine
. I'd like to thank SQL Server Magazine
for allowing me to share these puzzles with the book's readers.
Microsoft Press and O'Reilly Media: Beautiful publishing!
If you missed Microsoft Press's big news
, here it is: Microsoft Press and O'Reilly Media, Inc., will be partners starting November 30, as described in this joint press release
, on the Microsoft Learning web site
, and Tim O'Reilly's blog
We have a lot of details to work out, of course, but we're thrilled with this new arrangement because we’ll be able to expand our business, in terms of distribution, topic coverage, and, especially, digital publishing. (If you follow us on Twitter
, you've seen us making promises about making more headway in digital publishing. We're about to speed up tremendously!) We'll also be able to expand our social media efforts.
We aren't changing the look of our books, and we aren't moving away from our traditional strengths and our reputation for quality. O'Reilly will handle business operations for us, managing manufacturing, distribution, sales, and marketing, worldwide. Some new Microsoft Press titles will be produced by O'Reilly; others will continue to be produced by Microsoft Press's team.
We'll include more in-depth articles about this relationship in upcoming newsletters, but we wanted to make sure to get the good news out now.
October 21, 2009
For IT ProfessionalsIntroducing Windows Server 2008 R2
, by Charlie Russel and Craig Zacker with the Windows Server Team at Microsoft
For DevelopersInside Microsoft SQL Server 2008: T-SQL Programming
, by Itzik Ben-Gan, Dejan Sarka, Roger Wolter, Greg Low, Ed Katibah, and Isaac Kunen (Solid Quality Mentors)