There is a big buzz around the concept of data now, and there are billions of bytes of data getting generated every minute. However, raw data doesn’t come that handy by its own. There are many data management tools and applications. SQL or Structured Query Language is one of the programming languages which is used to communicate with the databases for creation, deletion, and retrieval of data from it. In this guide, we will go through the details of SQL and how to use it effectively.
The usage of SQL
Nowadays, all types of businesses ranging from the smallest e-com stores to the biggest corporations use data to run operations. These organizations use good database management systems and practices to make use of their data. Due to this increased need, the demand for expert database administration professionals is also on the hype.
Data is considered to be a crucial part of any web applications or mobile applications. You can take the social networking platform of Facebook for example, which holds a huge volume of data including the profiles of billions of users, their posts, connections, and friends, etc. In order to hold all these data, a proper database system like SQL is used, which enables the programmers and administrators to work with the data in hand effectively.
What is SQL?
Software and web applications are usually programmed in any of the language like PHP, Python, or Dot Net whereas databases cannot understand these scripting languages. Here comes the need for a dedicated database programming language, and SQL is the one historically used for this purpose for many decades now. SQL had undergone many structural and syntactical changes over the last several years but remained as the most acceptable and user-friendly database language throughout the times.
Like any other programming language, SQL also has its own markup. So, a programmer should learn SQL markup language too to handle the application databases. Besides being a markup language, another unique feature of database programming is the idea of creating tables. A good database is defined in terms of the tables. Each of the table in a database has a set of columns and rows to represent the data. You can imagine it similar to the library where we used to store the books in different rows.
Commands and database
Many commands are used in SQL to make the database work properly. Here are some of the major SQL commands for top-line activities.
- CREATE DATABASE
- CREATE TABLE
- SELECT (to find the exact data from a table)
- UPDATE (update / edit data)
- DELETE (deletion of tables)
Commands mentioned above are most commonly used in SQL for database manipulations. More complicated the database in hand is, more commands programmers need to use for doing different database-related tasks. If your database is complex, then it is ideal for taking the service of third-party DBA services like RemoteDBA.com to manage use DB better. All these commands are used while writing the queries in order to operate data in various databases. In other terms, while you enter such commands into a database system, the system itself can interpret these and process accordingly. As a result, a new record is created in the database, or a new database itself is created.
Here is an example of the creation of a new database and columns.
The first SQL query will help create a new database. On considering a social media application like Facebook, it may need the creation of databases for the entries like:
- Users – A database to store all information related to the user profiles.
- Interests – A database would contain various interests of the users which can be used to track down the ideal user persona to custom design the marketing strategies.
- Geographic region – A database to hold information about the global locations from where the users access the app.
The query of CREATE TABLE is used to create a table inside the database created. You can further specify the data to be held inside each table and structure your database for best use.
The industries which use SQL database
Databases as essential for all industrial fields, whichever is using a website or online transactions to run the business. Therefore, SQL is also used as the most acceptable database technology field in all the fields where there is a need for a huge volume of business data management. Let’s further look into some of the top industries where SQL usage is most common.
Banking and finance applications including online payment processing need to operate a huge amount of data in a very accurate and secure manner. The databases in such applications store and handle data about various users and financial transactions. Behind all such processes, there is a very complicated and gigantic database functioning. SQL can also meet the additional security requirements needed for banking applications.
Music and entertainment
Music apps like Pandora and Spotify etc. need to handle intensive databases. Among many other requirements, databases will help such apps to store a lot of music libraries and files. This data needed to be operated accurately and quickly, for which SQL is an ideal choice.
As we had seen above, social media is one of the major platforms which has a lot of data processing and storage needs. Apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat use SQL database to store user profiles, posts, and comments. There are separate databases for location information and posts are created every minute.
The top variants of SQL are:
- MySQL – An open-source database that is freely available for individuals and businesses for database management. As being open source, MySQL can be effectively integrated with any open source programming platforms.
- Microsoft SQL Server – it is the bespoke database management system of Microsoft. It is a feature-rich database which can run on all Windows OS.
- PostgreSQL – This also is an open-source database, which is largely used by technology startups now. It also supports various OS like Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
Considering all these factors, you can see that the need for SQL is all around you to effectively drive the databases. From social media portals to mobile phone apps, some version of SQL is running for the data manipulations needs. Even though the technology industry if fast changing over the last couple of decades, SQL remained as one of the most stubborn database programming languages through the times. It is considered to be the essential skill set in the tool belt of any developer across the platforms.