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3. What's In This Book

This book describes the use of the SQL language in PostgreSQL. We start with describing the general syntax of SQL, then explain how to create the structures to hold data, how to populate the database, and how to query it. The middle part lists the available data types and functions for use in SQL data commands. The rest of the book treats several aspects that are important for tuning a database for optimal performance.

The information in this book is arranged so that a novice user can follow it start to end to gain a full understanding of the topics without having to refer forward too many times. The chapters are intended to be self-contained, so that advanced users can read the chapters individually as they choose. The information in this book is presented in a narrative fashion in topical units. Readers looking for a complete description of a particular command should look into the PostgreSQL 7.3.21 Reference Manual.

Readers of this book should know how to connect to a PostgreSQL database and issue SQL commands. Readers that are unfamiliar with these issues are encouraged to read the PostgreSQL 7.3.21 Tutorial first. SQL commands are typically entered using the PostgreSQL interactive terminal psql, but other programs that have similar functionality can be used as well.

This book covers PostgreSQL 7.3.21 only. For information on other versions, please read the documentation that accompanies that release.

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