Transact-SQL

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What Does Transact-SQL Mean?

Transact-SQL (T-SQL) is Microsoft’s proprietary version of ANSI SQL for its SQL Server relational database.

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Structured Query language (SQL) is the most widely-used relational database query language, and its standardized version — designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) — is known as ANSI SQL. However, most vendors also implemented proprietary SQL versions with added features.

Techopedia Explains Transact-SQL

T-SQL fully supports ANSI SQL and augments the language with several features, e.g., Control-of-Flow language, local variables and enhancements to the UPDATE and DELETE statements.

Examples of control-of-flow language include the following:

  • BEGIN and END keywords to mark a block of transactions.
  • WAITFOR to wait for a certain event or time of day to run a transaction.
  • RETURN to immediately return from a stored procedure or function.

T-SQL is critical to SQL Server because each SQL Server database action actually sends the database a series of T-SQL statements. Performed actions are first translated into T-SQL statements, even when using the graphical interface.

T-SQL statements may be run in the main access tool for SQL Server and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), or in sqlcmd, the dedicated command-line tool. This operation is similar to how the MS-DOS environment is used for running Windows OS commands.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.