History & Standardization of SQL



In the ’60′s database software required the use of complex mainframe machines that were difficult to maintain and run. Information technologists worked around the clock monitoring, updating, and manually uncorrupting these machines

Each mainframe ran different software from different manufacturers. IBM pulled ahead in software development internationally with efforts of software aimed at database management. The problem was that each mainframe ran a different type of “language”.

Enter SQL, the new standard for any database program: Structured Query Language. SQL bridged the barriers between mainframes and allowed large corporations to network their efforts. SQL was introduced in the 1970′s and quickly gained international popularity. SQL allows a programmer to tell a program exactly what data to retrieve and how to display it.



n        IBM Sequel language developed as part of System R project at the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory

n        Renamed Structured Query Language (SQL)

n        ANSI and ISO standard SQL:

l          SQL-86

l          SQL-89

l          SQL-92

l          SQL:1999 (language name became Y2K compliant!)

l          SQL:2003

n        Commercial systems offer most, if not all, SQL-92 features, plus varying feature sets from later standards and special proprietary features.

l          Not all examples here may work on your particular system.


The most recent standardization of SQL is SQL:2006, though SQL:2006 is ultimately concerned with the relationship between SQL and XML and not the further development of SQL itself.

When considering SQL syntax and functionality today, the SQL-92 and SQL:1999 standards are typically used, as they were the last major updates to SQL that were concerned with bettering the language, rather than extending it into arguably unnecessary territory.

SQL:2003 also contains some less well-known but still important parts of SQL, including window functions and standardized sequences, along with some initial XML-related features. Notably, SQL:2003 also removed the BIT and BIT VARYING data types, which were overwhelmingly poorly implemented and underused.


 Year     Name   Comments
 1986  SQL-86   First SQL standard (ratified in 1987)
 1989  SQL-89   Minor revision
 1992  SQL-92   Major revision (also called FIPS 127-2)
 1999  SQL:1999   Minor revision
 2003  SQL:2003   Introduced window functions- standardized sequences- and XML-related features
 2006  SQL:2006   Extended SQL-XML integration










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