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Introduction to SQL Server

What is SQL Server?

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) from Microsoft. In a very simple sense, it is a database system, by means of which we manage database elements such as tables, views, programming elements. SQL Server is currently the flagship database server offered by Microsoft. It is also an ideal tool for learning SQL language due to its high compatibility with the SQL standard. In various literature we can find SQL Server or MS SQL names. These are different names used to describe this particular database server. In this course, we will use both these names interchangeably. We will also refer to the so-called Transact-SQL (T-SQL), which is an extension of SQL language for Microsoft database servers.

Why start learning SQL from SQL Server?

MsSQL provides an advanced database management environment designed for professional use. High compliance with the SQL standard guarantees that learning SQL on this platform will also be useful for other technology providers using SQL language. Most importantly, if you use SQL Server for purposes such as training, testing, and application development, you can also use it free of charge in the Developer version. SQL Server is fast and easy to install. Basic configuration should not cause problems for novice users.

What is Transact-SQL (T-SQL)?

Transact-SQL, or T-SQL, is an extension to the standard SQL language that allows you to use basic SQL Server related structures, as well as database based programming structures such as variables, loops, conditional statements, triggers, etc. T-SQL extends the capabilities of SQL. Thanks to T-SQL, we can primarily automate work, apply exception handling, expand the capabilities of a regular database for our own applications. Unlike Oracle databases, there is no clear division between query language and procedural language (e.g. SQL and PL/SQL). We call Transact-SQL both SQL and programming code.

SQL Server editions

At the time of writing this article, the latest version of the server is SQL Server 2017. 2017 version has 4 basic editions to choose from:

  • Express Edition
  • Developer Edition
  • Edition of the Enterprise
  • Edition Standard

In this MsSQL course we will use the Developer edition. All the information from where to download it is included in the next chapters of this course. The Express edition has big limitations when it comes to performance. However, there are no obstacles to go through the whole MsSQL course using the Express edition. Standard and Enterprise editions are paid for. Developer edition has similar possibilities to Enterprise edition, so we use the best possible software in this course. You can check the manufacturer’s website for any detailed differences in the 2017 editions: Microsoft.

Who is this course for?

The SQL Server / MsSQL course is designed for users who want to learn SQL and Transact-SQL from scratch. In the course I discuss in detail topics related to writing SQL queries and using this language in everyday work. The course contains a lot of information for both beginners and intermediate users. It is designed for beginners -> advanced. If you have extensive experience with SQL Server databases, you can treat this MsSQL course as a solid repetition. In this course we learn how to write code, not just click it. Good luck !

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