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Product: Book - Paperback
Title: SQL Server Query Performance Tuning Distilled
Publisher: Apress
Authors: Sajal Dam
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
A Very Good SQL Server Performance Tuning Book

I am a SQL Server 2000 performance consultant - TuneSQLServer.com. This author presents the right stuff - lots of Query Analyzer and Profiler information. What is unique about this book is the large number of Query Analyzer graphical query plans. That is the right way to learn about performance and the best way to tune a system. I could worry about this book putting me out of business, but I know that it takes a long time to really understand the issues which are presented.

Sure theory is nice. The guy who gave the nasty review must be a serious competitor - g. Chapter 8 of the book has a large discussion about data fragmention. Sure, the optimizer can use DB integrity constraints as hints to formulate better plans, but constraints are not crucial. They are only helpful to the optimizer in a few cases when it is working on a very complex query. And about statistics histograms. Yes you should know that they exist on the first column of an index and that is about it. What is really important is being able to read the information in a Query Analyzer graphical plan to see if estimated values based on the statistics histograms differ greatly from the actual values when the query is run - turn on the Query / Show Execution Plan option and run your query. If the results are way off, you may end up scratching your head for a while. Estimates are only estimates and in some cases they are way off and that is the problem you must deal with. There are solutions even in those case but they are not always pretty. For God sakes, leave auto statistics update set to On. And only use a query hint as a very very last resort - that means almost never.

The common problem I see is that people spend too much time learning SQL Server 2000 theory. That time is better spent becoming fluent in reading graphical plans in Query Analyzer and doing experiments like those shown in the book. It is best to have developers get the correct results with their SQL and then tune the parts that Profiler shows are a problem. Too much time is spent trying to optimize queries during the design phase. The so called "optimized query formulations" often run slow because the developers don't have advanced SQL Server 2000 performance skills. What is the point in trying to optimize when you really don't know how to do it - a waste of time. Sure, try to use techniques that are known to work well, but don't overdo it. Most of the time what I see are query formulations and indexes that were supposed to be optimized by theory and in practice run badly. I often speed up systems 2 to 10 times by fixing weird problems that theory doesn't cover. The book does a good job setting the correct focus on using Query Analyzer and Profiler. Don't theorize, see what is actually happening and use experience and the bag of tricks to deal with the performance issues.

There are no silver bullets to SQL Server 2000 performance tuning. Some problems are easy to solve but many complex queries take a lot of experimentation to get a good result. Often times skewed data and stored proc plan retention is a big problem. SQL Server 2005 statement level recompiles are going to go a long way towards getting rid of that problem. I do not agree with everything the author claims, but 90% of what he shows in his book is the right stuff for understanding how to get SQL Server 2000 to perform well! Buy the book and learn more than you know. But don't expect to know all the answers after reading this very good book!

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: The Dark Side of Game Texturing
Publisher: Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade
Authors: David Franson
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
The same as his other book

Anyone considering purchasing this who has bought David Franson's other book "2D Artwork and 3D Modelling for Game Artists" should think again. This book is just a much smaller version of that. I bought them both, and I was quite disappointed that David would just blatantly copy his other work. There are a few different tutorials but it's not worth paying the price, get the other book instead.

Product: Book - Paperback
Title: C++ Primer (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Authors: Stanley B. Lippman, Josée Lajoie, Barbara E. Moo
Rating: 5/5
Customer opinion - 5 stars out of 5
it is 100% about C++

I have many books on C++ and most of them are 90% on C and at most 10% on C++. This is a book about C++! Though I would agree with another reviewer that it is not a real "primer". It is a book for people who have a programming background. Other than that this is an EXCELLENT book.

Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Numerical Recipes in C : The Art of Scientific Computing
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Authors: William H. Press, Brian P. Flannery, Saul A. Teukolsky, William T. Vetterling
Rating: 2/5
Customer opinion - 2 stars out of 5
Stupid conventions applied

This is an incredible book. It doesn't just compile algorithms (recipes), it explains how they work. These explanations are crystal clear. You don't have to be a math whiz to follow the discussion, they use plain language and clear logic.