This article is about the database language.
For the IATA code, see San Carlos Airport (California).
"SEQUEL" redirects here.
For the topic of the word, see sequel.
For other uses, see sequel (disambiguation).
|Designed by||Donald D. Chamberlin|
|First appeared||1974; 46 years ago (1974)|
/ December 2016; 4 years ago (2016-12)
|Typing discipline||Static, strong|
|Internet media type||application/sql|
|Initial release||1986 (1986)|
|Type of format||Database|
SQL (/ˌɛsˌkjuːˈɛl/ (listen) S-Q-L, /ˈsiːkwəl/ "sequel"; Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific language used in programming and designed for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS), or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS).
It is particularly useful in handling structured data, i.e. data incorporating relations among entities and variables.
Firstly, it introduced the concept of accessing many records with one single command.
Secondly, it eliminates the need to specify how to reach a record, e.g. with or without an index.
Originally based upon relational algebra and tuple relational calculus, SQL consists of many types of statements, which may be informally classed as sublanguages, commonly: a data query language (DQL), a data definition language (DDL), a data control language (DCL), and a data manipulation language (DML).
The scope of SQL includes data query, data manipulation (insert, update and delete), data definition (schema creation and modification), and data access control.
The model was described in his influential 1970 paper, "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks".
Despite not entirely adhering to the relational model as described by Codd, it became the most widely used database language.
Since then the standard has been revised to include a larger set of features.
Despite the existence of standards, most SQL code requires at least some changes before being ported to different database systems.
This version, initially called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language), was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM's original quasi-relational database management system, System R, which a group at IBM San Jose Research Laboratory had developed during the 1970s.
Chamberlin and Boyce's first attempt at a relational database language was Square, but it was difficult to use due to subscript notation.
After moving to the San Jose Research Laboratory in 1973, they began work on SEQUEL.
After testing SQL at customer test sites to determine the usefulness and practicality of the system, IBM began developing commercial products based on their System R prototype including System/38, SQL/DS, and DB2, which were commercially available in 1979, 1981, and 1983, respectively.
In the late 1970s, Relational Software, Inc. (now Oracle Corporation) saw the potential of the concepts described by Codd, Chamberlin, and Boyce, and developed their own SQL-based RDBMS with aspirations of selling it to the U.S. , NavyCentral Intelligence Agency, and other U.S. agencies. government
New versions of the standard were published in 1989, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2011 and, most recently, 2016.
Main article: SQL syntax
The SQL language is subdivided into several language elements, including:
- Clauses, which are constituent components of statements and queries. (In some cases, these are optional.)
- Expressions, which can produce either scalar values, or tables consisting of columns and rows of data
- Predicates, which specify conditions that can be evaluated to SQL three-valued logic (3VL) (true/false/unknown) or Boolean truth values and are used to limit the effects of statements and queries, or to change program flow.
- Queries, which retrieve the data based on specific criteria. This is an important element of SQL.
- Statements, which may have a persistent effect on schemata and data, or may control transactions, program flow, connections, sessions, or diagnostics.
- SQL statements also include the semicolon (";") statement terminator. Though not required on every platform, it is defined as a standard part of the SQL grammar.
- Insignificant whitespace is generally ignored in SQL statements and queries, making it easier to format SQL code for readability.
However, extensions to Standard SQL add procedural programming language functionality, such as control-of-flow constructs.
|ANSI/ISO Standard||SQL/PSM||SQL/Persistent Stored Modules|
|Interbase / Firebird||PSQL||Procedural SQL|
|IBM DB2||SQL PL||SQL Procedural Language (implements SQL/PSM)|
|IBM Informix||SPL||Stored Procedural Language|
|IBM Netezza||NZPLSQL||(based on Postgres PL/pgSQL)|
|Invantive||PSQL||Invantive Procedural SQL (implements SQL/PSM and PL/SQL)|
|MariaDB||SQL/PSM, PL/SQL||SQL/Persistent Stored Module (implements SQL/PSM), Procedural Language/SQL (based on Ada)|
|Microsoft / Sybase||T-SQL||Transact-SQL|
|Mimer SQL||SQL/PSM||SQL/Persistent Stored Module (implements SQL/PSM)|
|MySQL||SQL/PSM||SQL/Persistent Stored Module (implements SQL/PSM)|
|MonetDB||SQL/PSM||SQL/Persistent Stored Module (implements SQL/PSM)|
|NuoDB||SSP||Starkey Stored Procedures|
|Oracle||PL/SQL||Procedural Language/SQL (based on Ada)|
|PostgreSQL||PL/pgSQL||Procedural Language/PostgreSQL Structured Query Language (based on reduced PL/SQL)|
|SAP R/3||ABAP||Advanced Business Application Programming|
|Sybase||Watcom-SQL||SQL Anywhere Watcom-SQL Dialect|
|Teradata||SPL||Stored Procedural Language|
In addition to the standard SQL/PSM extensions and proprietary SQL extensions, procedural and object-oriented programmability is available on many SQL platforms via DBMS integration with other languages.
Interoperability and standardization
SQL implementations are incompatible between vendors and do not necessarily completely follow standards.
In particular date and time syntax, string concatenation, NULLs, and comparison case sensitivity vary from vendor to vendor.
The folding of unquoted names to lower case in PostgreSQL is incompatible with the SQL standard, which says that unquoted names should be folded to upper case.
Thus, Foo should be equivalent to FOO not foo according to the standard.
Popular implementations of SQL commonly omit support for basic features of Standard SQL, such as the DATE or TIME data types.
The most obvious such examples, and incidentally the most popular commercial and proprietary SQL DBMSs, are Oracle (whose DATE behaves as DATETIME, and lacks a TIME type) and MS SQL Server (before the 2008 version).
As a result, SQL code can rarely be ported between database systems without modifications.
Reasons for incompatibility
There are several reasons for this lack of portability between database systems:
- The complexity and size of the SQL standard means that most implementors do not support the entire standard.
- The standard does not specify database behavior in several important areas (e.g. indexes, file storage...), leaving implementations to decide how to behave.
- The SQL standard precisely specifies the syntax that a conforming database system must implement. However, the standard's specification of the semantics of language constructs is less well-defined, leading to ambiguity.
- Many database vendors have large existing customer bases; where the newer version of the SQL standard conflicts with the prior behavior of the vendor's database, the vendor may be unwilling to break backward compatibility.
- There is little commercial incentive for vendors to make it easier for users to change database suppliers (see vendor lock-in).
- Users evaluating database software tend to place other factors such as performance higher in their priorities than standards conformance.
Until 1996, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) data management standards program certified SQL DBMS compliance with the SQL standard.
Vendors now self-certify the compliance of their products.
Regardless, many English-speaking database professionals (including Donald Chamberlin himself) use the acronym-like pronunciation of /ˈsiːkwəl/ ("sequel"), mirroring the language's pre-release development name, "SEQUEL".
The SQL standard has gone through a number of revisions:
|1986||SQL-86||SQL-87||First formalized by ANSI.|
|1989||SQL-89||FIPS 127-1||Minor revision that added integrity constraints, adopted as FIPS 127-1.|
|1992||SQL-92||SQL2, FIPS 127-2||Major revision (ISO 9075), Entry Level SQL-92 adopted as FIPS 127-2.|
|1999||SQL:1999||SQL3||Added regular expression matching, recursive queries (e.g. transitive closure), triggers, support for procedural and control-of-flow statements, non-scalar types (arrays), and some object-oriented features (e.g. structured types). Support for embedding SQL in Java (SQL/OLB) and vice versa (SQL/JRT).|
|2003||SQL:2003||Introduced XML-related features (SQL/XML), window functions, standardized sequences, and columns with auto-generated values (including identity-columns).|
|2006||SQL:2006||ISO/IEC 9075-14:2006 defines ways that SQL can be used with XML. It defines ways of importing and storing XML data in an SQL database, manipulating it within the database, and publishing both XML and conventional SQL-data in XML form. In addition, it lets applications integrate queries into their SQL code with XQuery, the XML Query Language published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), to concurrently access ordinary SQL-data and XML documents.|
|2008||SQL:2008||Legalizes ORDER BY outside cursor definitions. Adds INSTEAD OF triggers, TRUNCATE statement, FETCH clause.|
|2011||SQL:2011||Adds temporal data (PERIOD FOR) (more information at: Temporal database#History). Enhancements for window functions and FETCH clause.|
|2016||SQL:2016||Adds row pattern matching, polymorphic table functions, JSON.|
|2019||SQL:2019||Adds Part 15, multidimensional arrays (MDarray type and operators).|
The standard is commonly denoted by the pattern: ISO/IEC 9075-n:yyyy Part n: title, or, as a shortcut, ISO/IEC 9075.
ISO/IEC 9075 is complemented by ISO/IEC 13249: SQL Multimedia and Application Packages (SQL/MM), which defines SQL based interfaces and packages to widely spread applications like video, audio and spatial data.
Interested parties may purchase SQL standards documents from ISO, IEC or ANSI.
A draft of SQL:2008 is freely available as a archive.
Anatomy of SQL Standard
The SQL standard is divided into ten parts.
There are gaps in the numbering due to the withdrawal of outdated parts.
Extensions to the ISO/IEC Standard
ISO/IEC 9075 is complemented by ISO/IEC 13249 SQL Multimedia and Application Packages.
This closely related but separate standard is developed by the same committee.
It defines interfaces and packages based on SQL.
The aim is a unified access to typical database applications like text, pictures, data mining or spatial data.
ISO/IEC 9075 is also accompanied by a series of Technical Reports, published as ISO/IEC TR 19075 in 8 parts.
These Technical Reports explain the justification for and usage of some features of SQL, giving examples where appropriate.
The Technical Reports are non-normative; if there is any discrepancy from 9075, the text in 9075 holds.
Currently available 19075 Technical Reports are:
A distinction should be made between alternatives to SQL as a language, and alternatives to the relational model itself.
Below are proposed relational alternatives to the SQL language.
Distributed SQL processing
Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) was designed by a work group within IBM in the period 1988 to 1994.
DRDA enables network connected relational databases to cooperate to fulfill SQL requests.
An interactive user or program can issue SQL statements to a local RDB and receive tables of data and status indicators in reply from remote RDBs.
SQL statements can also be compiled and stored in remote RDBs as packages and then invoked by package name.
This is important for the efficient operation of application programs that issue complex, high-frequency queries.
It is especially important when the tables to be accessed are located in remote systems.
The messages, protocols, and structural components of DRDA are defined by the Distributed Data Management Architecture.
In that model, a table is a set of tuples, while in SQL, tables and query results are lists of rows: the same row may occur multiple times, and the order of rows can be employed in queries (e.g. in the LIMIT clause).
Critics argue that SQL should be replaced with a language that returns strictly to the original foundation: for example, see The Third Manifesto.
However, no known proof exists that such uniqueness cannot be added to SQL itself, or at least a variation of SQL.
In other words, it's quite possible that SQL can be "fixed" or at least improved in this regard such that the industry may not have to switch to a completely different query language to obtain uniqueness.
Debate on this remains open.
Chamberlin discusses four historical criticisms of SQL in a 2012 paper:
Orthogonality and completeness
Early specifications did not support major features, such as primary keys.
Result sets could not be named, and sub-queries had not been defined.
These were added in 1992.
The Null marker indicates that there is no value, even no 0 for an integer column or a string of length 0 for a text column.
Another popular criticism is that it allows duplicate rows, making integration with languages such as Python, whose data types might make it difficult to accurately represent the data, difficult in terms of parsing and by the absence of modularity.
This can be avoided declaring a unique constraint with one or more fields that identifies uniquely a row in the table.
That constraint could also become the primary key of the table.
In a similar sense to Object-relational impedance mismatch, there is a mismatch between the declarative SQL language and the procedural languages that SQL is typically embedded in.
Data Integrity Categories
Main data integrity categories of each RDBMS.
Establishes that within the table the primary key has a unique value for each row, checking the uniqueness of the value of the primary key avoiding that there are duplicated rows in a table.
Restricts the type, format, and value range that applies to valid entries for a column within a table
Makes rows in a table that are being used by other records impossible to delete
Other specific rules not included above apply
SQL data types
The SQL standard defines three kinds of data types:
- predefined data types
- constructed types
- user-defined types.
Predefined data types
Constructed types are one of ARRAY, MULTISET, REF(erence), or ROW.
User-defined types are comparable to classes in object-oriented language with their own constructors, observers, mutators, methods, inheritance, overloading, overwriting, interfaces, and so on.
- Relational database
- Object database
- Object-relational database
- List of relational database management systems
- Comparison of relational database management systems
- Comparison of object-relational database management systems
- D (data language specification)
- D4 (programming language)
- Query by Example
- SQL syntax
- Oracle PL/SQL
- Microsoft Transact-SQL (T-SQL)
- Online transaction processing (OLTP)
- Online analytical processing (OLAP)
- Data warehouse
- Relational data stream management system
- Hierarchical model
- Star schema
- Snowflake schema
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL.