Introduction to Databases

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This book is a work in progress

This book is being written and is not yet completed. Feel free to dive in and start reading anyway. Of course all feedback is welcome by the Authors.


This book is an introductory book to the concept of databases. It can be used for self-studies, or as course literature for a basic database course (a course which serves as an introduction to databases and SQL). The book , exercises and video lectures use a command line interface with bash and SQLite3.

Regards from the authors: Rikard Fröberg and Henrik Sandklef

Before reading this book

Intended audience

Any one with basic knowledge of computing and IT, who wants to learn the basics of using databases.


This book assumes you have knowledge of the working from the command line with a shell like bash. We also assume that you have a basic understanding of the standard streams and how they can be redirected or joined with pipes. If you feel that you need to freshen up your Bash skills before starting with this book, we recommend our Bash book, Bash-introduction.


(Rough outline - subject to changes in the future)

Book companion/Extra material

This book uses SQLite as the engine. You will find pointers to other resourses when the syntax differs a lot.

Example exam with questions and answers can be found here:

Reading tips

Reading tips (Swedish)

We might add some more extra reading material here in the future.

What this book doesn't pretend to be

This book doesn't claim to be computer science or theoretical or even very technical. We strive to give the reader a practical introduction to what databases are, what database management systems are and how to use SQL to retrieve and manipulate data. We will not touch upon theoretical frameworks such as relational theory, relational algebra or set theory. Heck, we aren't even teaching logic. We believe that the reader is perfectly capable of getting a grasp of the basics behind databases and SQL without too much theoretic excursions. We are even inclined to think that understanding the basics of SQL and relational databases on this introductory level isn't simplified by introducing mathematics and computational models.

We focus on the practical and - as usual with our books - base a lot of the teaching through the use of exercises and assignments.

A warning and disclaimer; Some readers with a theoretical background might be offended by our avoiding such terminology as "relational model", "tuples", "Cartesian product", "Relational Calculus", "Cardinality", or, even "Projection"! This book is not for them. There are numerous theoretical books for those who have a strong need for more mathematical or philosophical descriptions of database usage.

Courses using this book

Chapter completeness (for teachers)

Chapter Meta section completed Text and examples Videos (number of) Slides Exercises
Database:Introduction to Databases NO Medium One (Swedish) One slides YES
Database:Retrieving rows of data - SQL SELECT NO Hardly any One (Swedish)
One extra (EN)
One slides + one extra YES
Database:Getting started with SQLite NO Hardly any One (Swe)
One live (Swe)
One slides YES
Database:Changing rows of data - SQL UPDATE NO Hardly any One (Swe)
One live (Swe)
One slides YES
Database:Deleting rows of data -SQL DELETE NO Hardly any One (Swe)
One live (Swe)
One slides YES
Database:Adding rows with new data - SQL INSERT NO Hardly any One (Swe)
One live (Swe)
One slides YES
Database:Combining rows of data from related tables - SQL JOIN NO YES One (Swe)
One live (Swe)
A few extra on decomposing
One slides + One extra YES
NULL - representing the lack of value NO YES 3 videos(English) One slides NO
Database:Adding constraints to prevent garbage data NO YES Two videos(Swe)
One extra on enum (Eng)
One plus one slides YES
Database:Scraping data from the web NO Hardly any Four videos(Swe) One slides YES