What is SQL?

By Steven Galvin - Last update

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SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standard programming language used to manage and manipulate databases.

What is SQL?

  • SQL is a domain-specific language used for retrieving and manipulating data in relational database management systems (RDBMS) like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and others.

  • It is the mainstream language for database access used in most applications that communicate with databases. Understanding SQL gives you the flexibility to access and work with data in the most popular database systems.

  • SQL statements are used to perform tasks such as updating existing data, retrieving data, adding new data, deleting data, creating and modifying database objects like tables, indexes, procedures, etc.

  • Some common SQL statements include:

    • SELECT – retrieve records from one or more database tables
    • INSERT – create/insert new records into a table
    • UPDATE – update existing data within a table
    • DELETE – delete records from a database table
    • CREATE – create new database objects like tables, indexes
    • ALTER – modify an existing database object
  • SQL offers many benefits including quick and easy data access, data administration, data security, consistency, data integrity and business intelligence over database data.

In summary, SQL is an essential standard database language that all database administrators, data analysts and developers should learn to efficiently manage and manipulate relational databases.

Steven Galvin

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