SQL is a programming language commonly used to communicate with and manipulate data and info stored in a database. Businesses put in place SQL programs to access and manipulate data stored in their databases. And in an era where data happens to be the most valuable asset, SQL has become a universal data analysis interface.
Key among the reasons why SQL has gained a massive following is its versatility in terms of data manipulation. Developers are able to gain deep insight into how data works which makes testing and manipulating super-easy. Furthermore, information that is stored in relational databases is dynamic, meaning it can be easily queried, modified, and manipulated using basic SQL queries.
In this article, we are going to look at the history of SQL and the things you should look out for when using SQL.
Brief SQL History
But first, what does SQL stand for? SQL is an acronym for Structured Query Language. Developed in the 70s by Raymond Boyce, SQL programming language was initially known as SEQUEL. The original SQL version sole intention was to manipulate and retrieve data that was stored in IBM’s “SYSTEM R” which was their original relational database management system. Seven years after making debut, SQL language was floated to the public. In 1979, the then company called Relational Software, which is now Oracle, commercially released their first version called Oracle V2.
Fast-forward to 2019, the American National Standards Institute have elevated SQL language to become the standard language behind all the relational database communications. In fact, in the course of their work, software developers and programmers utilize relational database management system (RDBMS) when creating, reading, updating and deleting back-end data. Furthermore, they are able to manipulate the RDBMS via custom SQL statements.
Depending on the programmer and specific project’s requirements, software developers can choose from a wide array of RDBMS. Many enterprises would rather settle for the open-source database systems over commercial database systems for saving purposes. However, they have to sacrifice on many features like encryption technology and the latest security mechanisms that come with commercial RDBMS.
Both MS SQL Server and MySQL are the commonly used enterprise database systems.
MySQL is an open-source RDMS that is mostly used in online apps. It is used to create and manage a database that holds useful data like inventory and employee information.
But what is SQL server? It’s a relational database management system owned by Microsoft and it supports transaction processing and analytics applications in the corporate space IT infrastructure.
While the two serve almost a similar purpose of housing data, their mode of operation is worlds apart. As a result, businesses are always facing a dilemma when it comes to choosing the right one.
Are you are business looking to build any of the above-mentioned databases? There are multiple outsourcing companies that can help you out. Click here to learn more about BPO services and how outsourcing workers can help you choose the right database.
Now, 7 things you should know using SQL.
Simplicity is the Order of the Day
SQL doesn’t have a steep learning curve. It was created with the primary objective of giving even the ordinary folks a chance to make sense of data stored in their databases. Even better, the English-like nature of this language means anyone with basic English level can easily learn and write SQL.
The good news is SQL code is compatible with most DB engines. As such, once you master SQL, you should be able to transcend any other similar task in the relational databases space.
No Coding Required
Managing database systems using standard SQL is super-easy as it doesn’t require you to write a substantial amount of code. The logic behind this code-free concept is because database software has been shown to work efficiently when writing the code is eliminated from the equation.
In other words, the minimal coding experience improves the user’s ability to join data, filter it, and even select columns, as opposed to writing multiple and unnecessary lines of code which add no value to your project.
According to a recent study by StacksOverflow, 57% of developers indicated that they use SQL in the course of their work. It is safe to assume that this wide usage gives the language a solid claim among its peers making it ubiquitous. Although this may seem like a bad thing, it has led to the emergence of a thriving online community to improve the language. Additionally, the simplicity of SQL makes the language’s skillsets easy to transfer creating a circular model that spurs growth.
Open Source Nature and Interoperability
Generally, SQL is not an entirely interoperable language. This is because different vendors follow different standards, for instance, Microsoft SQL or Oracle, which can be largely attributed to different syntax. With that said, SQL syntax has minimal variations between the vendors making it easy to modify and re-use SQL.
Limited Number of Nesting Calls
One of the widely used performance and optimization techniques in programming is recursion. When using SQL, one of the biggest potential challenges is where a Stored Procedure calls itself or calls another Stored Procedure. This is a big problem for developers as it leads to infinite loops.
To avoid this, SQL Server places a limit to the number of nesting calls that a stored procedure can make to 32. It simply works by increasing the nesting levels by one when the execution of managed code referencing begins and counteracts in the exact direction when the execution is completed. If the 32 levels of maximum attempts are exceeded, the entire chain call collapses.
As a developer, you will also appreciate the portability of SQL. This is because it supports Personal Computers, laptops, tablets, mainframes, and servers. Additionally, SQL can run intranet and internet systems meaning it’s easy to migrate between devices.
Allows for Multiple Data Views
With SQL, users are able to enjoy different database structure views for different users. This includes;
Simple View: This view is based on an entirely single table and doesn’t contain any functions or GROUP BY clause.
Complex View: This is based on multiple tables, and features a function and a “GROUP BY” clause.
Inline View: Based on a subquery via FROM Clause. This subquery helps the user to create temporary tables and consequently simplifies the complex query.
Materialized View: This view stores both the definition plus the data. It helps create data replicas by physically storing it.
Now that we have seen the things you should know when using SQL, here are some of the industries which have been positively impacted by the language.
Databases (and in particular SQL) are widely used in the technology ecosystem, especially when a large amount of data is involved.
In the finance industry, payment processors and banking applications operate using user’s data and their financial transactions info. Powering all these processes and platforms is a powerful and equally complicated database. With SQL, banks are able to meet the extra security requirements thanks to the SQL code.
In the entertainment industry, music apps like Pandora and Spotify also utilize data-intensive databases. With SQL, these powerful databases help the app owners to store large collection music files and albums.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat involve a lot of data processing. For this, most of them use SQL to store the user’s profile information, updating the app’s database when a new post is created and even record messages sent between the users for later reference.
Despite the emergence of multiple database systems and technologies, SQL databases have continued to command quite a large following of users. With the advent of deep learning, big data, and IoT, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that SQL databases will continue to rule the airwaves in the foreseeable future. And it’s true that the SQL databases have their own misgivings. However, the simplicity of the language, extensive online community, and the fundamental structure of RDBMS definitely make SQL database technology of choice.