SQL Server learning materials seem to live at two extremes. Blog posts are short and to the point, but they don’t cover material in depth. Books are long and detailed, but to quote a famous philosopher, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Enter two resources that have been out for quite a while. They aim to cover subjects from start to finish, but in a way that you can digest in an hour.
Microsoft Books Online (Yes, Books Online!)
Microsoft Books Online earned a terrible reputation for being the last place you’d ever want to look for help. Look up the sys.databases view, for example, and you get gems like this:
SQL Server Central Stairways
SSC’s Stairways series covers topics start to finish with 5-15 tutorials from one or two authors. I love the consistency on these – you can settle in with one author and really dig into a topic with a logical flow. Think of it as an interactive book chapter, often with lots of demos you can run to illustrate concepts.
They’ve added stairways for T-SQL, indexes,
Remember when we all hated, or even worse, ignored with disdain, MSDN doc's? You might want to take another look at them. They've improved dramatically over the last few years, and dare I say it, are even really useful now. Useful to the point I'm suggesting to vendors that they might want to take a look at them as a model for their doc's...
Brent's also seen this in the SQL Server docs.
As for SSC’s Stairways, this is the first I've heard of that (well I've heard of SQL Server Central and read its feeds daily, but not its Stairways feature), so I guess I'm revisiting it for the first time. :/