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Data Definition Language (DDL)

Definition - What does Data Definition Language (DDL) mean?

A data definition language (DDL) is a computer language used to create and modify the structure of database objects in a database. These database objects include views, schemas, tables, indexes, etc.

This term is also known as data description language in some contexts, as it describes the fields and records in a database table.

Techopedia explains Data Definition Language (DDL)

The present database industry incorporates DDL into any formal language describing data. However, it is considered to be a subset of SQL (Structured Query Language). SQL often uses imperative verbs with normal English such as sentences to implement database modifications. Hence, DDL does not show up as a different language in an SQL database, but does define changes in the database schema.

Commonly used DDL in SQL querying are:

  • CREATE: This command builds a new table and has a predefined syntax. The CREATE statement syntax is CREATE TABLE [table name] ([column definitions]) [table parameters]. CREATE TABLE Employee (Employee Id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, First name CHAR (50) NULL, Last name CHAR (75) NOT NULL).

  • ALTER: An alter command modifies an existing database table. This command can add up additional column, drop existing columns and even change the data type of columns involved in a database table. An alter command syntax is ALTER object type object name parameters. ALTER TABLE Employee ADD DOB Date.

  • DROP: A drop command deletes a table, index or view. Drop statement syntax is DROP object type object name. DROP TABLE Employee.
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