There is a lot of buzz in the field of programming about data, but you cannot use the raw data for anything useful. Here comes the importance of query languages like SQL or Structured Query Language. It is primarily a programming language which allows communication with an application database to manage and retrieve the data it contains.
All businesses, nowadays, use data to manage their operations and who do it at best have a significant advantage in the competition from small businesses to even the top Fortune 500 corporations complete in this sector to better and comprehensive manage their business data to gain more returns. Databases are used to manage data effectively. With an increasing need for proper database management, there is a huge demand for skilled database administrators also.
Further, we will have a look at the SQL functions.
What is a database?
When a desktop, web or mobile application is programmed using any language like Python, PHP, Android, or Ruby, the backend databases cannot be configured to understand these front-end languages. Databases only understand a specific script of SQL and due to this SQL has become a primary requirement for those who intend to work in web development or mobile development.
Like any other programming like mentioned above, SQL also has its markup. So, a programmer needs to learn SQL markup also to use if for functional purposes. Besides being markup, the other unique features of database programming is tables. A typical database may consist of a large number of tables to keep data in a structured manner. Each of these tables will have a significant number of columns and rows which represents various sets of data. It may be easier for you to visualize this data structure like the stacking of a book library. On the database, we can create different tables to store data like books on the library racks for each retrieval.
What is SQL?
You know that every web application and mobile applications contain tons of data. Say, for example, Facebook has profile information of millions of their users and also the information related to their posts and activities. To hold all these data in structured manner, they need a database. An appropriate database system is used to hold all these data. Among the existing databases, SQL has a significant advantage which lets the programmers to closely and effectively work with data.
There are some quick SQL commands which you should know to work with the database. While working with databases, the primary commands are:
- CREATE DATABASE
- CREATE TABLE
- SELECT – to choose and extract data from a database.
- UPDATE – to make some database adjustments of edits.
- DELETE –delete specific tables or entire database.
These are some baseline commands as specified by RemoteDBA.com. Usually, the business databases tend to be more complicated, and there are actually a huge number of commands to better manage such databases. When you enter such commands, the database management system can interpret the commands and process it accordingly. The results could be the creation of a new row in the database or even creation of a new database.
Some examples of such commands are:
To create a new database with a name:
CREATE DATABASE dadatabse_name
New table with a name:
CREATE TABLE table_name (
column 1 data_type,
column 2 data_type,
column 5 data_type );
Running these commands, you can create a new database and then create its tables with the desired number of columns under it by specifying the data types.
Usage of SQL
SQL is now used in almost all technology fields where there is a need to manage a significant amount of data. Say for example:
Finance – Banks and banking applications which handles a lot of payments processing and financial transactions use SQL database management at a big range. Behind every financial process, there is a complicated database. Financial database systems also have significant security requirements which also poses a high risk of compliance in the SQL code set.
The music industry – You can see many applications for music streaming like Pandora or Spotify also has intensive databases management needs. These types of database-rich applications store huge libraries of music tracks and run this data to meet the customer queries.
Social media – As we discussed above, web applications like Instagram or Snapchat, etc. too choose SQL in order to store user profiles and customer data such as the bio, demographics, etc and update their database every minute when a new user creates a profile or make a post. Database records are sent from one user to another for that user to retrieve the message and read it later too.
Logistics, healthcare, FMCG and all sectors use SQL database management systems, and you can see it is being used to drive databases effectively. From your PCs to mobile apps, every device may be running some format of SQL for data saving or retrieval. As SQL is universally applicable, you can see that this database programming platform is a highly useful tool for every developer to gain some knowledge in.
Some key database systems
A standard database system is a set of programs which allow a developer or an administrator to manage with the help of a user interface. Database systems now have ready to use templates, constructors, and retrieval tools. These features make the tasks of database programmers easy. Database management can be automated using these tools, and the primary tasks database cleanup can be done from time to time without the need for manual interference.
Let’s have an overview of three of the top SQL databases. These systems are actually considered as top based on the popularity scores by users.
Oracle is one of the top among leading SQL databases. Oracle is used in a variety of industries across the globe, but it is more popular for online transactions processing and data warehousing.
MySQL is an open-source system for database management which can be accessed by individual developers and businesses for free. MySQL is largely used by small businesses and beginners for there business database management as there is no licensing or renewal fee.
#3 Microsoft SQL Servers
It is the bespoke DBMS of Microsoft, the world’s leading brand in Information Technology products and services. SQL Server runs effectively on different versions of Windows OS. It is used in different consumer software and also some Windows-based web servers. This consists of a larger user base.
Choosing a database system for your purpose may be challenging sometimes as each of the above has its own strengths and weaknesses. If you are in doubt, then the first choice is to go for the open-source, free options like MySQL or PostgreSQL. If the requirement is specific and demands more tools, one can think of Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server, etc.