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What is SQL and what is it used for

In today’s digital world, enormous amounts of electronic data are being gathered, processed, and stored in databases every single day.

These databases can be used for anything – websites, inventory records, vendor and customer information, or even for recording contact information such as phone numbers. If the transformation of raw data into information that supports decision making is the end goal, knowing how to work with such databases is imperative. Here’s where SQL comes in.

An acronym for Structured Query Language, SQL is a domain-specific programming language that is used to communicate with a database. To better understand SQL, one needs to understand exactly what it is used for. SQL allows you to create, manage, and manipulate the data contained within a database according to your needs and requirements. Here’s what you can accomplish with SQL:

  1. Data Definition
  2. Data Manipulation
  3. Data Control
  4. Database Transaction Management
  5. Uses of SQL
  6. Platform compatible
  7. Use Case Examples

Data Definition

The data in a relational database is stored in the form of tables. SQL commands allow you to create a host of components such as tables, schemas, stored procedures, indexes, domains, character sets, or even new databases altogether. Apart from being able to create, SQL also can remove existing components, modify the properties of a database object, rename a database table, and delete all the data from a table.

Data Definition Language (DDL) statements, which are a part of SQL, are responsible for accomplishing these tasks. SQL is your steering wheel; it allows you to define the data you’re using however you need to define it.

Data Manipulation

Once you’ve defined your data, you need to manage it. There is little use in maintaining a database if one cannot make any changes to it.  With the help of Data Manipulation Language (DML) syntax elements, SQL can select, insert, delete, and update data records from a table in any database.

This gives you the flexibility to modify a database as you see fit. However, unlike DDL, DML can only alter the data that is stored in a database, and not the underlying objects or schema.

Data Control

With so much information stowed away in databases, the protection of sensitive data is of paramount importance. To increase security, avoid misuse of data, and prevent unauthorized access to important data, SQL enables you to effectively control access to such data in databases using one of its components, the Data Control Language (DCL). With the DCL syntax, one can easily grant or revoke permissions to specific users to access or modify the database.

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Database Transaction Management

Any modification made to a database can potentially corrupt the entire data, rendering it unusable, so having functionality for the maintenance of data integrity in any database is crucial. SQL, through Transaction Control Language (TCL) commands, lets you avoid this unfavorable situation by allowing you to manage the changes you make through DML statements.

In addition to being able to permanently save transactions, SQL also allows you to identify points in a transaction so that you can rollback and restore the database to that point in the case of an error or a problem.

The list does not end here, as these are only a few of the many uses of SQL options. Being the most widely used programming language with respect to databases, SQL is a huge concept and is extremely powerful. Its capabilities are far-reaching and deliver game-changing results, making everyone’s job a little easier.

Uses of SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is applied to get data or contrarily interface with an RDBMS. The SQL Standard has passed through a lot of developments over the years, which have supplemented a plethora of new functionality to the model, such as assistance for XML, triggers, regular expression, recursive functions, sequences, and much more. 

Due to SQL Standard’s absolute amplification, a lot of database solutions do not achieve the complete pattern. In a lot of circumstances, the database management for file storage is not adequately explained and it’s up to the vendors of the different SQL applications to determine how the database will work. This is the cause why, even though all SQL applications have the same principle, they are seldom harmonious.

Platform Compatible

Simple SQL statements like INSERT, SELECT, and ORDER BY allowing database administrators to run data in and out of a table. This works on all kinds of platforms and is a significant portion of producing data decisions in today’s cloud and hybrid shared policies. 

In the API market, where so many parts of “middleware” or joining lines connect components of an IT structure, having SQL as a regular database expression has been necessary to porting data to all of those areas that it demands to operate.

Because of the reasonably candid syntax and efficiency of use, database administrators or programmers can then concentrate on the principles of database development and the logical viewpoint of arranging data into and out of systems.

Use Case Examples

It’s simpler to know how this goes by imagining through an example. Assume you’re a company and you want to keep a record of your sales data.

You could create a spreadsheet in Excel with all of the data you want to keep a record of as different columns: Order number, order date, order amount payable, purchase tracking number, client name, client address, and client phone number.

This plan would run excellent for following the data you want to work with, but as you begin to get redundant orders from the same client you’ll see that their title, location, and phone number gets saved in various rows of your spreadsheet and, as your company expands and the number of orders you’re following progress, this repetitive data will take up additional space and usually reduce the performance of your sales tracking policy.

You might also fall into problems with data sincerity. There’s no guarantee, for instance, that every area will be populated with the accurate data type or that the client name and client address will be recorded identically every time.

With SQL, you bypass all of these problems. In SQL you create two tables, one for client orders and one for clients. The ‘clients’ table would hold a novel ID number for each client, along with the client name, client address, and client phone number.

The ‘client orders’ table would hold client order number, order date, the amount payable, tracking number, and, instead of a different domain for each piece of client data, it would have a column for the client ID.

This allows DBAs to extract all of the client info for any given order, but you only have to save it once in the database rather than entering it out repeatedly for every individual order.

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