SQL Programming Resources: An Annotated Bibliography

SQL Programming Resources

1.     Coursera/Stanford “Introduction to Databases”


One of the biggest names in Massive Open Online Courseware (MOOC), Coursera has a huge database of university level courses. This offering from Stanford University has 9 units devoted to SQL programming, in addition to providing a comprehensive introduction to databases. It was one of the first courses offered by Coursera and remains one its most popular. The SQL units are introductory, making this an excellent place to begin.

The course includes all of the best features of a Coursera MOOC: helpful readings, a community of learners, ongoing assessment and the option to receive a certification upon successful completion of the course.

Keywords: MOOC, Stanford, Coursera, video lecture, exam, assessment

Audience: beginner SQL users

2.     The SchemaVerse


SchemaVerse offers a gamified SQL learning experience. The experience is built around an online galactic conquest game implemented within a PostgreSQL database, in which the player controls his army of spaceships through SQL commands. The game consists in sending ships to conquer new planets, mine resources, and defend conquered planets against other players.

The game/tutorial provides a good introduction to the basics of SQL, supported by an excellent tutorial page, for those who find entirely self-directed learning a challenge. It would be difficult to extend much beyond an intermediate level with SchemaVerse, as the available commands are limited and somewhat repetitive.

Keywords: gamification, SQL, tutorial, basic, intermediate

Audience: beginner SQL users, non-autodidacts

3.     SQLzoo


SQLzoo is a collection of interactive SQL tutorials, in the form of short exercises and quizzes using pre-loaded datasets. The learning curve is very gentle, and the tutorials available range from complete beginner all the way up to advanced operations.

The site covers SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, DB2, and PostgreSQL, and includes manuals for all these. It also contains a useful reference section, as well as a section of SQL resources.

Keywords: interactive, tutorial SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, DB2, PostgreSQL

Audience: beginner SQL users

4.     Programmr


Programmr contains a database of user-submitted exercises and examples to teach various programming languages. The exercises come with pre-loaded datasets and are fairly short. The disadvantage of this approach is that it does not form a cohesive program of learning.

The SQL section is weak at the moment, but this is likely to improve with time.

Keywords: user-generated, exercises

Audience: intermediate SQL users

5.     GalaXQL – Interactive SQL tutorial


GalaXQL is a downloadable SQL tutorial. The program consists of an SQL query editor and results page, a spinning map of a galaxy, and a narrator who walks the learner through a series of tutorials. The tutorials have a conversational tone, and are extremely easy to follow. The material covers basic up to intermediate functionality in SQL.

This platform is particularly suitable for SQL beginners, and the easily distracted – as it does not require an Internet connection or open browser once installed.

Keywords: gamification, simple, tutorial, desktop

Audience: beginner SQL users

6.     Learn Code The Hard Way


Learn Code the Hard Way is an e-book hosted on the webpage listed above. It therefore does not contain a built in SQL query editor, nor does it come preloaded with datasets. The book walks you through all the necessary steps to acquire an SQL query editor and create datasets, as well as containing a comprehensive course of lessons.

The neat presentation and linear structure is an advantage over other, similar web offerings that suffer from clutter and complexity.

Keywords: book, tutorial

Audience: intermediate – advanced SQL users

7.     Udemy


Udemy hosts a library of user-generated video tutorials. Free SQL tutorials can be accessed by searching SQL OR MySQL and selecting the “free” pricing filter. There are 2 well-designed, free SQL courses, one offering a MySQL database tutorial and the other an introduction to SQL Server for beginners.

The courses are supported by a community of thousands of learners sharing problems and solutions related to the course material.

Keywords: user-generated, MySQL, server, community

Audience: beginner – advanced SQL users, depending on course

8.     Tom Jewett


This tutorial explains the theory behind database design and how SQL fits into this context. In addition, it explains the theory and function behind the basic elements of SQL: queries, functions etc. The tutorial is simply presented and reads like a university level course. This course is not essential for gaining a working knowledge of SQL, but may prove a useful foundation for those who want to build up to an advanced level of understanding.

Keywords: theory, database design, first principles, SQL, Unified Modeling Language

Audience: beginner – advanced SQL users, those seeking a deeper understanding of SQL

9.     Planet MySQL


Planet MySQL is a blog and forum dedicated to MySQL. The topics include MySQL news, jobs, releases, as well as tips for MySQL users. These tips do not comprise a program of learning for a beginner, and will be more suitable for an advanced user looking to improve or to troubleshoot problems. Planet MySQL’s other great feature is its truly comprehensive collection of MySQL reference manuals covering all facets of MySQL usage, which will be of use to administrators, developers, data security officers and more.

Keywords: MySQL, tips, forum

Audience: professional MySQL users, MySQL developers

10.  Hack MySQL


Hack MySQL is the blog of Daniel Nichter, which contains an archive of tutorials drawn from Nichter’s experience as a data engineer. The archive contains a useful overview of advanced level tools for MySQL. The tutorials are advanced, and more suitable to someone who has already mastered the basic tutorials and has some experience working with MySQL.

Keywords: blog, tutorials, syntax, tools

Audience: advanced, professional MySQL users

11.  KillerPHP Basic SQL tutorial


This basic SQL tutorial from KillerPHP goes over the four most basic SQL statements in exhaustive detail. The four operators are: insert, select, update, delete. Each statement is explained in a 10-minute video tutorial, which takes the form of a screen capture of an SQL editor.

This tutorial is for those absolute beginners to SQL who want to gain a truly comprehensive understanding of how the basic commands function, and who prefer video based learning to the interactive tutorials described elsewhere in this list.

Keywords: SQL, basic operators

Audience: beginner SQL users

12.  Tutorials Point


Tutorials Point contains a full introduction to SQL, from basic to advanced, in the form of text-based tutorials. The tutorials describe an item of SQL syntax and provide an example of how that syntax might interact with a simple dataset (>10 items). The tutorials are simple and well designed, though they contain neither interactive elements, nor quizzes.

Keywords: tutorials, text, syntax, simple

Audience: beginners – intermediate SQL users

13.  Steven Feuerstein


Steven Feuerstein’s Oracle community page on Toadworld contains a substantial collection of tutorials explaining how to implement SQL and/or PL/SQL in an organizational context. PL/SQL is Oracle’s procedural language extension for SQL. The tutorials are more focused on best practice than on a program of learning from the position of an absolute beginner. These tutorials are for advanced users of PL/SQL working in a professional capacity.

The page also contains a huge database of SQL and PL/SQL syntax.

Keywords: tutorials, PL/SQL

Audience: intermediate – advanced, professional SQL users

14.  W3schools


W3schools offers a clear and comprehensive introduction to SQL in an easily legible presentation. The program is divided into a comprehensive list of all the SQL operators, clauses, functions etc., and is presented in a neat and consistent manner. Each subheading contains a short explanation, syntax, and an example using demo databases. The examples provide the opportunity to recreate the syntax used in the example, but are not quizzes per se.

Keywords: introduction, tutorials, examples

Audience: beginner SQL users

15.  Cramerz SQL


Cramerz SQL is a resource consisting of introductions to SQL syntax and operators, and some complementary video tutorials, arranged into four collections. The collections cover the four basic components of SQL, creating databases, selecting, functions and joins.

Each link provides the relevant SQL syntax, a brief example of its usage, and the description. In many ways this is closer to an encyclopedia or reference guide than a tutorial page, and may be better used as such

Keywords: tutorials, video tutorials, reference

Audience: beginner SQL users

16.  Zentut


Zentut is a very clear tutorial program for SQL beginners. The tutorials cover the basic elements of SQL in great detail. Though the program does not extend as far as advanced SQL operators, it is the most comprehensive page-based tutorial for beginners in this list. The tutorials contain examples, but are not interactive and do not incorporate any tests or revision. The page also contains a useful cheat-sheet for SQL users, though this is inferior to the Iris resource below.

Keywords: tutorial, web, reference, cheat sheet

Audience: beginner SQL users

17.  Iris


This SQL reference from the University of Washington contains a handy reference for SQL terms and syntax. The syntax is arranged in simple text tables containing the operator, its purpose, and an example. This is a very handy reference for intermediate SQL users, due to the ease and speed of searching, and the simple presentation of the information.

Keywords: reference, syntax, examples

Audience: intermediate SQL users

18.  SQL Course


If you can get past the horrible website, this is one of the most comprehensive beginner-to-advanced level SQL tutorials, and also one of the few to include built in exercises and revision to test understanding. It is also one of the only online SQL courses with a built in SQL interpreter that sits at the bottom of every tutorial page and allows you to practice what you’ve just learned.

Keywords: tutorial, SQL interpreter,

Audience: beginner – advanced SQL users

19.  SQL Courses from Memrise


Memrise works to drive information into long-term memory with a highly intelligent and dynamic system of what are basically interactive flashcards. The program incorporates constant revision and testing, and is able to recognize which topics present the greatest difficulty in recollection.

This program covers SQL from basic to intermediate level. It is most suitable for those who have difficulty remembering SQL operators, as it contains little in the way of explanation of the fundamental theory behind SQL. Memrise is free, but requires you to create an account.

Keywords: memorize, recall, flashcards

Audience: beginner SQL users, SQL students

20.  SQL Server Central


SQL Server Central is a great resource for advanced users of SQL Server working with large data servers. The site has an enormous archive of everything from video tutorials covering advanced topics in SQL server operation, to articles, editorials, blogs forums, free e-books etc.

SQL server central also contains a library of “stairway” tutorials written by database administrators covering advanced topics in SQL Server.

Keywords: SQL Server, video tutorials, e-books, Database Administration, DBA

Audience: advanced-professional, SQL Server users

21.  MIT Database Group


The MIT Database group has a range of resources for advanced SQL users, including the set of labs and problem sets, with answers included in the above link. The advanced user resources so far in this list have mostly been for professional SQL users. These resources could be an excellent way for advanced users to test their knowledge against more detailed problems, rather than waiting for these to appear in their personal/professional use of SQL.

Keywords: MIT, problem sets, exams, quizzes

Audience: advanced SQL users, academic SQL users

22.  PostgreSQL Tutorial


PostgreSQL Tutorial is (surprisingly) a website devoted entirely to a collection of PostgreSQL tutorials. The tutorials are text-based, neatly organized and clearly presented. The tutorials are grouped according to commands and syntax. Each tutorial has a brief overview of the command, a more detailed explanation, the relevant code, some examples, and a summary.

Keywords: PostgreSQL, SQL

Audience: beginning users of PostgreSQL

23.  W3Resource SQL tutorial


This is a tutorial page from the highly regarded W3 team. It contains the standard list of commands, operators and syntax. It is worth looking into for a few resources not shared by the many other txt based SQL tutorials available, such as: a simple and useful introduction to the structure of a database table, a section on SQL security, a short SQL encyclopedia, as well as a section on advanced topics in SQL.

Keywords: SQL, tutorial, security

Audience: intermediate – advanced SQL users

24.  IBM Informix SQL tutorial


This tutorial is designed for new users of IBM’s Informix database manager; however, it contains a useful introduction to SQL in the section titled “Informix SQL syntax”. This section includes a summary of SQL syntax, including more advanced operators. It also contains a reference or encyclopedia with entries for data types and system catalogue tables.

Finally, it contains a fairly comprehensive SQL tutorial, including topics such as: an introduction to database theory, the theory of SQL, modifying data, and selecting data from complex types.

Keywords: IBM, SQL, tutorial, reference, Informix

Audience: intermediate – advanced SQL users, database mangers using Informix

25.  SQL Zero to Pro


This is a collection of approximately 30 video tutorials for SQL users. The tutorials cover basic SQL syntax, logical operators, equality/inequality conditions and more. This makes it more advanced than most of the tutorials covered in this list.

The videos consist of a screen capture of an SQL editor. SQL Zero to Pro will be most suitable for those who prefer to follow along with video tutorials.

Keywords: video tutorial, SQL, logical operators

Audience: basic – intermediate SQL users

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1 Response to SQL Programming Resources: An Annotated Bibliography

  1. April Armstrong says:

    Thank you for always passing on thoughtful and valuable resources!!!!!!!!

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