I love working with databases. When I look at data, I see database tables, stored procedures, and everything that goes with them. Even when I look at everyday things – like this book sitting on my coffee table – I see various parts of it and how it would fit in a database. Author, title, ISBN number, publisher, page count… and that’s just to start. My mind is just geared to see databases and the various relationships that belong to the tables.

My first database project was a freeware address storage app written in Visual Basic 3 with Access as its database. My first experience with databases in the business world was dealing with the ones in my internship right out of high school. For part of that internship, I had to make sure that the data in the database matched the spec sheets. For another part, I worked with a consultant on a VB 6 app that talked to a Microsoft SQL Server database. Towards the end of the internship, the Oracle DBA invited me to his cube to show me how Oracle works.

All of my internships in college dealt with some type of database work. From the one I mentioned above to making FoxPro programs Y2K compliant to upgrading Access forms to VB6/MS SQL, I always had some kind of database experience. Even in my student worker position in college, I co-wrote an inventory system using PHP/MySQL. Getting into the real world, I eventually took on database administration of MS SQL servers, and I am developing apps that work with MS SQL.

Anyhow, enough about my passion for databases and back to the CodeMash Countdown. Today’s spotlight is on SQL – structured query language.

Language: SQL

Website: http://www.itl.nist.gov/fipspubs/fip127-2.htm (FIPS Standard for Database Language SQL)

A Little About SQL

This language is used for manipulating databases. Originally developed by IBM for their System R database system, SQL became the standard language for relational databases. SQL is standardized by both the ANSI and ISO systems.

Although there are standards in place, vendors have added their own features for their implementations, so not all SQL queries can be used across multiple database systems. For example, MySQL has a LIMIT clause that can be extremely useful when developing queries for paged data; however, there is no LIMIT clause in Microsoft SQL Server.

Some of the big database systems out there that use SQL include: Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Where will this be seen at CodeMash?

You will see SQL in use at the CodeJam at the Precompiler. We are using MySQL as our database.

As for the CodeMash presentations, check out “Well, Isn’t that Spatial… (SQL Server 2008 Spatial Data)”, presented by Jason Follas.

Where can I learn more about SQL?

For a generic SQL tutorial, check out Webucator’s SQL Tutorial.

If you are using Oracle, check out the Oracle/SQL Tutorial.

If you are working with Microsoft SQL Server, check out the SQL Server Developer Center on MSDN.

For MySQL, check out tizag.com’s MySQL Tutorial.

Finally, for PostgreSQL, check out the tutorials found in the official PostgreSQL documentation.

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