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Structured Query Language (SQL) is a standard computer language for relational database management and data manipulation. SQL is used to query, insert, update and modify data. Most relational databases support SQL, which is an added benefit for database administrators (DBAs), as they are often required to support databases across several different platforms.
First developed in the early 1970s at IBM by Raymond Boyce and Donald Chamberlin, SQL was commercially released by Relational Software Inc. (now known as Oracle Corporation) in 1979. The current standard SQL version is voluntary, vendor-compliant and monitored by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Most major vendors also have proprietary versions that are incorporated and built on ANSI SQL, e.g., SQL*Plus (Oracle), and Transact-SQL (T-SQL) (Microsoft).
One of the most fundamental DBA rites of passage is learning SQL, which begins with writing the first SELECT statement or SQL script without a graphical user interfaces (GUI). Increasingly, relational databases use GUIs for easier database management, and queries can now be simplified with graphical tools, e.g., drag-and-drop wizards. However, learning SQL is imperative because such tools are never as powerful as SQL.
SQL code is divided into four main categories: