You may have heard of SQL. Alongside the many things that have made their way into our lives through technology, SQL is one of them.
SQL is very helpful in business and helps to manage the plethora of databases that some of us deal with every day.
It is the standard language used in order to access and manipulate databases.
But, what is it, and what on earth does SQL actually stand for?
Well, first of all, let’s answer the simplest question.
What Does SQL Mean?
SQL is an acronym, like many things these days. It stands for…
Structured Query Language.
This kind of speaks for itself, it is a language used in databases, and it structures your queries when you deal with a database.
SQL has become the most common standard used in the American National Standards Institute and has been since 1986.
What Does SQL (Structured Query Language) Do?
Well, SQL can do many things in databases. We could go on forever about all of the things it can do to make database management easier, but instead, we will list a few things for you.
- It can execute any/ or most queries on a database.
- It can help you by retrieving information from a database.
- You can use it to insert records into your database.
- You can use SQL to update a record in a database.
- You can use it to create entire new databases or just new tables.
And much more.
While we have not listed everything that SQL can do, this can at least give you a good idea of all of the things that it can do, and how useful it is.
Knowing the many things it can do to make your database management life easier, makes more sense when you remember that SQL stands for Structured Query Language.
In some ways having SQL available is like having someone do half the job for you.
Imagine how long it would take to find a specific piece of data on any company database, with potentially thousands of tables, if you didn’t have SQL commands.
It’s a massive time-saver, and using SQL can save you time, and make it easier to have so much information stored in one database.
SQL Is Standard
SQL means Structured Query Language, and while it is not lone, it is also the standard, using SQL is standard among pretty much every user.
However, in spite of it being an ANSI and ISO standard, there is more than one version of the SQL language out there.
Yet, in order for SQL to be completely compliant with the standards set by ANSI, it must support a bare minimum of all the major commands.
These commands include the following; select, update, delete, insert, where, and so on. And these commands must also all be supported in a similar manner as well.
A Little History Lesson
Of course, talking about what SQL has to offer you can help you get used to using it and understand why it is needed.
However, to truly understand it and what Structured Query Language is we want to talk about where this came from and why it is used.
So, we already know the acronym, so we can skip ahead.
SQL was developed by IDM’s Donald Chamberlain, as well as Raymond Boyce, back in 1970.
At first, it was known as SEQUEL or Structured English Query Language. However, if you know anything about how the business world works, you won’t be surprised to learn that there were a few trademark problems.
It was for this reason that the acronym was shortened to SQL instead.
In its beginning, SQL was made and specially developed for IBM, Relational Software Inc., who we now know as Oracle. But, they released it nine years on, in 1979.
It has been released in the market since then, and from its mainstream inception in 1979 it quickly became the standard code of use in pretty much every RDMS (Relational Database Management System) out there.
SQL was actually named as being the standard language to use by the ANSI and the IOS in 1986 and 1987.
Okay, there are many other programming languages out there, we all know that but SQL is the most used one, and that is why it is Standard.
There are, however, many companies that require program developers to incorporate specialized proprietary extensions unique to whatever specific program they use.
But, even when this is the case, the programmer still needs to have at least a basic knowledge of SQL and its coding techniques, commands, and so on.
It is safe to say that what IBM made here is something that became a sort of groundwork for programming database language. Because even where something else is needed, SQL is still the skeleton requirement.
Again… It Is Standard
The Basics Of SQL
To briefly explain, SQL functions by providing a neat way for a programmer and computer users to obtain the sought information from any particular database using code and commands that resemble traditional English language.
On its base level, it only has a few commands such as; select, delete, insert, update, modify, and so on. However, there are many other commands too.
It is used widely, from government databases, on the more drastic side of things, to e-commerce sites used by independent sellers, on the other side.
It has grown in use, thanks to the continuing requirement for its use by many companies and corporations.
We keep mentioning one word here, standard.
You came here to find out what SQL stands for, and the S in this acronym means structured, although with how commonly it is used you might expect it to mean Standard.
There are many query languages out there, as we have noted, SQL is not alone.
However, it is the structure of the query language that makes it work, that makes this programming functional and so heavily used.
But, let’s not also forget that it is standardized in use through hundreds and thousands of companies and people.
So, what does it mean?
We hope you know now.