August 28th, 2017

What is SQL? The language of databases

Data Storage and Management, Development Tools, Enterprise Architecture, Java App Dev, Java Web Development, others, Programing, by admin.

Today, Structured Query Language is the standard means of manipulating and querying data in relational databases, though with proprietary extensions among the products. The ease and ubiquity of SQL have even led the creators of many “NoSQL” or non-relational data stores, such as Hadoop, to adopt subsets of SQL or come up with their own SQL-like query languages.

But SQL wasn’t always the “universal” language for relational databases. From the beginning (circa 1980), SQL had certain strikes against it. Many researchers and developers at the time, including me, thought that the overhead of SQL would keep it from ever being practical in a production database. 

Clearly, we were wrong. But many still believe that, for all of SQL’s ease and accessibility, the price exacted in runtime performance is often too high.

Before there was SQL

Before there was SQL, databases had tight, navigational programming interfaces, and typically were designed around a network schema called the Codasyl data model. Codasyl (Committee on Data Systems Languages) was a consortium that was responsible for the Cobol programming language (starting in 1959) and database language extensions (starting 10 years later).

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