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Inside Relational Databases with examples in Access
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Inside Relational Databases Ed.2

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Accessible Access 2003

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Accessible Access 2000

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Fast Track to MDX: 2nd edition

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Fast Track to MDX

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Essential Database Stuff


Columns from Personal Computer World

Bung full of essential tips, tricks and answers

Essential Database Stuff coverThis book is based upon the many questions and answers that have appeared in the PCW database column.  (There is so much material that this book covers mainly 1993 - 2001.  If it proves popular, I'll do a second volume.)  Each article has been checked for relevance, brought up to date where necessary, new screen shots taken, and each has been categorised by content and degree of complexity (see list below). New .MDB files to accompany the material are available for download.


  • Introduction/FAQ
  • Microsoft Access specific articles
    • Introductory level
    • Intermediate level
    • Introduction to Access programming
    • Advanced programming
  • General database articles
    • Introductory level
    • Intermediate level
    • Advanced level
  • Date and Time
  • Sorting and Ordering
  • Mixed bag

Something for everyone
The articles, of which there are 140 range from the quick and easy (useful key strokes, handy short cuts) to complex programmatic solutions to problems. Two parts of the book are devoted to those troublesome areas that cause endless consternation (handling dates and time, sorting and ordering data). The final part contains a mixed bag of goodies, articles that didn't fit tidily elsewhere.

But is it the book for me?
People new to the column often email me asking for the back issues, so it seemed worth gathering the material together in an organised way - such as a book. 

As I reviewed the contents of the columns I realised that it fell into three broad areas:

  • information about the relational database model
  • descriptions of how to drive Access
  • tips, tricks and solutions to questions
Since I already have current books that cover the first two categories, I focused the new book on tips, trick and solutions. So, if you have followed this link because you find the columns useful, it is worth choosing the book that best suits your interests. Below is a very brief outline of all three.

Relational database theory
If you want to learn the fundamentals of database theory, then Inside Relational Databases is for you. It gives all the groundwork and covers all the basics in a easily-digestible form. If you've started to build databases and discover that sometimes things don't go to plan, that you're confounded by referential integrity, or perplexed by normalisation, then Inside Relational Databases will explain everything (or at least everything you need to build robust data structures). It also covers SQL in some depth. More detail about the book and its content is available here.

Getting started with Microsoft Access
This is aimed at anyone who has never used Access and wants to start. It covers all the basic steps in building a single-table database and moves on to cover multi-table databases. Creating tables, writing queries, designing forms and even simple interface design are discussed. It doesn't cover every feature but tells you exactly what you need to get started. More details are here.

Tip, tricks, questions, answers - both generic database and Access specific
This is the ground covered by the new book, Essential Database Stuff.  It doesn't explain relational database theory, it won't tell you how to drive Access - but it WILL explain how to solve many irritating problems, answers many "how do I...?" questions and show many short cuts, tips and tricks. It's a mine of useful information: if you only ever use two or three in your databases, it will save you from hair-tearing and teeth-gnashing.

I've published a number of books with Springer, really like the people there and continue to work with them on other projects.  However I decided to publish this book myself, just to see how easy (or otherwise) it is.  I think the book looks great, but who knows - I'm a database geek not a designer.  So to help you decide if it is for you, there is a selection of articles from the book that you can download as a PDF. It contains one from each of the first five sections and will give you an idea of how the pages look. Click for PDF

There is also a second PDF containing a great deal more detail about how the book came into being - you don't have to read this, of course, but it's there for the curious. Click for PDF


The book costs 25.00 (27.80 including first class P&P to any UK address).

Please email for postage costs abroad.

Payment methods are either cheque or PayPal.  Email if you want to pay by cheque or click the button for PayPal.

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