SQL (Structured Query Language) is a programming language used to communicate with and manipulate databases. To get the most of the mounds of data they collect, many businesses must become versed in SQL. Here’s everything you should know about using SQL to access and manipulate data.
Businesses and other organizations use SQL programs to access and manipulate the information and data in their databases and create and alter new tables. To fully understand SQL, you need to know exactly what a database is.
According to Microsoft, a database is a tool for collecting and organizing information. Databases can store information about people, products, orders or anything else. Many databases start in a word processing program or spreadsheet. As they get larger, many businesses find it helpful to transfer them to a database created by a database management system.
SQL programs access and manipulate data stored in databases for user analysis.
SQL helps control information stored in databases, allowing users to retrieve the specific data they’re looking for when they need it.
While it’s a simple programming language, SQL is very powerful. In fact, SQL can insert data into database tables, modify data in existing database tables and delete data from SQL database tables. In addition, SQL can modify the database structure itself by creating, modifying, and deleting tables and other database objects.
SQL uses a set of commands to manipulate the data in databases. Examples include SQL INSERT, which is used to add data to database tables; SQL SELECT, which retrieves data from database tables; and SQL UPDATE, which modifies existing database records.
The SQL programming language was developed in the 1970s by IBM researchers Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin. The programming language, known then as SEQUEL, was created following Edgar Frank Codd’s paper, “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks,” in 1970.
In his paper, Codd proposed that all data in a database be represented in relations. Based on this theory, Boyce and Chamberlin came up with SQL. In Oracle Quick Guides (Cornelio Books, 2013), author Malcolm Coxall writes that the original version of SQL was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM’s original relational database management system, System R.
It wasn’t until several years later, however, that the SQL language was made publicly available. In 1979, a company called Relational Software, which later became Oracle, commercially released its own version of SQL, called Oracle V2.
Since then, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization have deemed SQL the standard language in relational database communication. While major SQL vendors modify the language to their desires, most base their SQL programs on the ANSI-approved version.
Oracle is known for more than its premier database solution. The extensive Oracle certification program includes six certification levels that span nine categories with more than 200 individual credentials.
Rather than writing an SQL for their databases, many companies use a database management system with built-in SQL. MySQL, developed and distributed by Oracle, is one of the most popular SQL database management systems currently available.
MySQL is open-source, which means you can download and use it for free. MySQL is a sophisticated and powerful relational database used by many websites to create and change content quickly.
MySQL can be used for various applications, including data warehousing, e-commerce and logging. However, it’s often found on web servers.
Many of the world’s largest and best-known brands rely on MySQL to make their websites function correctly, including Facebook, Google, Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent and Zappos.
In addition to MySQL, there are several other open-source SQL database management systems, including PostgreSQL, Ingres and Firebird.
SQL is a common programming language used to manage and share data. While there are some drawbacks of SQL, such as a clunky interface and cost inefficiencies, the advantages tend to outweigh its disadvantages. SQL is extremely accessible across various platforms, and its user-friendliness can help anyone become an expert.
If you’re unsure whether you should use SQL for your data, consider these benefits:
Sean Peek contributed to the writing and research in this article.