When it comes to SQL Server, there are a staggering number of resources available in the form of blogs, sites, books, and videos. It would be impossible to list everything here. Instead, we’ll highlight some of the available resources and then expand this page over time as we come across others. You’re welcome to add suggestions in the comments too, and those suggestions might eventually make their way onto this page in future edits.
First, if you’re interested in learning about SQL Server, you’ll want to install it. If you already have an edition of SQL Server, such as Developer or Standard, feel free to use that. But if you don’t, you can use the free version of SQL Server 2008 R2 Express. Note that although Express is free, you can use it to develop real-world applications, upgrading to higher additions of SQL Server when you require additional features or scalability.
If you’re just getting started with SQL Server, the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Resources portal is excellent. This points to various other resources such as tutorials, training, documentation, and videos. I would highly recommend exploring this portal.
Another great resources is the SQL Server Developer Center. It is a hub of links to other resources and latest news. This page has links to everything from getting started to deep technical white papers. If you do decide to use SQL Server Express, note that some of the features are available only in higher editions of SQL Server. Also, if you’re just getting started, a page like this can be overwhelming due to the scope and depth of SQL Server. That is one of the things that this blog attempts to address. We want to show you the basics first, so that the more advanced capabilities of SQL Server are understandable.
The MSDN Library has a getting started section that you can look at: Getting Started (SQL Server 2008 R2). There are also resources for getting started in other blogs (Ed’s Getting Started Blog) and the TechNet Wiki (Introduction to Development with SQL Server).
One of the best places to learn and to get answers to questions are forums. MSDN contains many SQL Server forums, but there are two forums that are great for new users:
Don’t be intimidated to ask or answer questions. It’s easier than you think. And searching forums like this is a great way to research any problems.
This is only a small subset of the resources out there. As always, your favorite search engine is your friend. When we come across valuable resources for you, we’ll consider expanding this page to highlight them as well. Please let us know of any great resources that you’ve found.
And, of course, we hope this blog is another great resource for you. But only time and the quality of the material we put out will determine this.
– Learning SQL Server Team (firstname.lastname@example.org)