Thursday, 31 December 2015

An introduction to working with a relational database using SQL - Workshop

When: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Where: The King's Centre, King Street, Norwich, NR1 1PH

How much: £99


Level: Beginner
Prerequisites: Laptop

This one day workshop is designed to provide a familiarity with basic RDBMS concepts and the syntax required to construct simple SQL statements used to create, manipulate and report upon database records.

The workshop will be problem-centred and attendees will be invited to think about example problems in order to facilitate their appreciation of what a database is and why databases are used.

Once the basic concepts have been introduced, the remainder of the day will entail hands on practice writing and testing SQL statements using a database client program (Postgres). A worksheet will be provided to help guide this process. There will also be time for breaks and joint questions.

Attendees should be comfortable with running desktop applications (e.g. using Microsoft Word or Excel). No specialist knowledge is required to attend. Attendees are expected to bring their own laptops with them. As a preliminary to the workshop, attendees who do not have the relevant software installed will be guided through the installation process. Attendees will therefore need their relevant passwords to authenticate installation.

Summary of presentation

Installation procedure -- est. 45 minutes

1. A few remarks about learning new ideas, and new technologies. Distinguishing 'what a thing is' from 'the value of thing' -- est. 30 minutes

2. The value of an SQL RDBMS -- est. 90 mins

2.1 The idea of data persistence.

2.2 A shopping transaction history at a superstore example using index cards (an everyday example is used to allow everyone to focus upon what is new for them).

2.3 An example of using text files to persist the data is shown. The pros and cons of using text files as a form of persistence is discussed.

2.4 An example using a spreadsheet to persist the data is shown. The pros and cons of using spreadsheets is discussed.

2.5 The idea of a data persistence media that supports queries.

2.6 A summary of key limitations of the use of index cards, text files and spreadsheets is presented and discussed.

2.7 An SQL RDBMS is introduced as something that helps to resolve the problems previously identified.

2.8 Discussion

3. The basic structure of an SQL RDMBS -- est. 90 mins

3.1 What a relation is in this context of a relational database

3.2 Databases, tables, & records

3.3 SQL as a set of expressions to be used to manipulate and query databases, tables, and records including a brief glance through standard SQL commands, a step by step introduction to the SQL commands for CRUD and a brief caveat on syntactic differences used by different database vendors.

3.4 Some additional problems that relational databases help to resolve

3.5 A summary of what has been covered so far.

3.6 Discussion

[Break for lunch]

4. Working through the worksheets provided that elaborate on the shopping transacton data previously introduced -- est. 240 mins

4.1 Simple use of the four commands

4.2 Applying the commands to multiple rows of a table

4.3 Data types in more depth

4.4 Performing queries that use ids

4.5 Performaing other queuries

4.6 Additional exercises using different databases (optional)

5 Questions and discussion about what has been covered -- est 0 to 60 mins

6 What next? -- est 30 mins

6.1 A reminder about learning other commands in order to maintain a database

6.2 The complexities of database design: Inroductory steps into an important component of information technology.

6.3 References for further study

6.4 Closing remarks and feedback forms


  1. Hi Paul,
    Who will deliver the course? Is it certificated?
    many thx

    1. Hey Sally, The course is being delivered by Huw Lloyd:

      No, it's not certified.

  2. Hi Paul, many thx. Pls can you book me in provisionally, I'm trying to arrange leave for this day.
    Many thx
    Sally Hopper

    1. Good stuff! If you join I can RSVP you. Please give my regards to Joseph S.