» VIEW ALL POSTS Feb 28 2007   3:25PM GMT

Does anybody really like SQL? Part 2



Posted by: Derek Kuhr
Tags:
Oracle database administration
Oracle development

Following up on a post from last week, our resident SQL guru Rudy Limeback provides some more thoughts on the matter of what’s so bad (or so good) about SQL:

Yes, I SQL, primarily because knowledge of this ubiquitous language allows me to be immediately productive in working with so many different database systems.

Imagine if each time you wanted to obtain information from a different database system, you had to learn a completely different language.

Korean
Tamil
English
Arabic
Chinese

Instead, all that is necessary is to learn the small, inconsequential differences between one database system’s implementation of SQL and the next.

MySQL  
T-SQL  
UDB SQL  
PostgreSQL  
PL/SQL

This is due in no small part to the effort of many people and vendors to define the SQL standard. That so few database systems faithfully support all aspects of the standard is no serious knock against the advantages of having a standard language.

Further, SQL is drop dead simple. There are only a few basic clauses:

SELECT
FROM
WHERE
GROUP BY
HAVING
ORDER BY

As well, you’ll need some simple concepts like INNER and OUTER JOINs, UNIONs, and subqueries. With these basic tools, you can solve even the most
complex data retrieval problems.

That said, it’s a lot like chess. You can learn the basic moves in half an hour, but you need to invest the necessary time to improve your skills. Practice, practice, practice.

It looks like we’re making some progress toward debunking the “SQL sucks” myth!

-Elisa Gabbert

4  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Derek Kuhr
    I understand that T-SQL has no count() expression as in PL/SQL. This does not stike me as inconsequential. Providing support for a third party program that uses an Oracle database to hold it's data (a version using SQL Server is also available), I need the ability to report when a change to the number of records in a critical table has happened so that it can be documented for support purposes. We aren't allowed to change the structure or the implemented procedures and triggers so taking a record count and reporting when that has changed (no output if no change) is critical to my work process. Obviously I am not familiar with T-SQL, but I can't imagine how that would be done without the count() expression. (P.S. - I love SQL...now).
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  • Derek Kuhr
    I use both PL/SQL and T-SQL regularly. Each has its strengths & weaknesses. T-SQL does support the standard count function. However, it lacks the rownum pseudo-column. (You might be thinking of this Mike).
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  • Derek Kuhr
    You set the game. You build the logic. You get thrilled with the results when you achive it. You fine tune it for perfection. You put your whole life into it, make it online and give access to others. What a wonderful feeling ... I love SQL.
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  • Derek Kuhr
    Count() or NO COUNT, Still it is easier to get the count of records via SQL, T-SQL or PL/SQL. Imagine that with a different set of languages...
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