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8.1: Introduction and Background

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    In the world of today, record keeping is used amongst all types of people and entities. Whether for individuals, businesses, or governments, record keeping is used to organize, store, and change data. One of the main tools today that allows record keeping to be more efficient and practical is SQL. 

    SQL, or Standard Query Language, is a type of language used to store, manipulate, and retrieve data in and from a database. SQL has its origins in 1970 when Dr. Edgar F. "Ted" Codd created the relational model of database management. SQL itself would appear 4 years later in 1974 when it was created at the IBM Research Laboratory in San Jose, California based on Codd’s idea of a relational database. In 1978, a product called System/R was created by IBM to further develop these concepts. In 1986, the first standard prototype of SQL was created by IBM, and in that same year, SQL was considered the official standard by the American National Standards Institute (SQL – Overview, 2020). 

    Unlike Java, Python, or C, SQL is not a procedural language. Another contrast is that SQL is a 4th-generation language, meaning it is more similar to regular human language and speech and is able to be understood by an untrained person unlike Java, C, Python, or others considered 3rd generation languages (Williams, 2018). 


     Since SQL allows for easier use, especially when it comes to some of the large organizations that use it. Benefits include reduced training costs and increased productivity, because workers can focus on a single language, making it easier to train new employees. Workers are able to learn SQL proficiently, allowing them to increase their productivity and maintain existing programs. The use of SQL on multiple machines in a company also allows for application portability. By using SQL, application longevity is also improved, as standard languages do not go through frequent, large changes. This means that rewriting of older applications is not common with the use of SQL. Another benefit of using SQL is cross-system communication, which allows for the managing of data through multiple applications. These benefits mainly pertain to the use of SQL by corporations. Due to the fact that SQL can be used by almost anyone and is efficient in record keeping, it is known as one of the best (if not the best) language in its category (Ramesh, 2011). 

    The first ANSI SQL standards were published in 1986 and have been updated every few years after that. The updated ANSI SQL standards of 1992 are known to have greatly revised its structure. The structure now features three levels: Entry, Intermediate, and Full. These revisions have made SQL what it is today, constantly improving to better perform at the top level (Ramesh, 2011). 

    SQL has many major components within its process that enable it to work or process data and execute tasks: 

    • • Query Dispatcher 
    • • Optimization Engines 
    • • Classic Query Engine 
    • • SQL Query Engine 

    With these components, the way a user interacts with SQL is by commands. These commands allow the user to execute a multitude of actions, including Create, Alter, Drop, Select, Insert, Update, Delete, Grant, and Revoke. Commands can be modified by clauses, which set the conditions for a command. These clauses include Where, From, and Using. These commands and clauses are just one example of how SQL can be understood by an average person who has little experience in programming ( SQL – Overview, 2020). 

    The highest ranking and/or most popular database management systems today are Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, and PostgreSQL (2019 Database Trends - SQL vs. NoSQL, Top Databases, Single vs. Multiple Database Use., 2019). Oracle is ranked the highest out of all database systems because of its level of functionality, portability, performance, recovery, speed, multiple database support, and reliability (Khamlichi, 2018). Many of these languages are capable of linking or syncing with other types of software and languages like Java. These attributes, among others, help make SQL the leading data organization and collection language in the world. 

    8.1: Introduction and Background is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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