SQL is 46 years old - here’s 8 reasons we still use it today

The whole survey is a fascinating foray into the brains of developers and the global software industry.

But one thing struck us: SQL is the second-most common programming language, used by 50% of all developers (Web, Desktop, Sysadmin/DevOps, Data Scientist/Engineer) and beaten only by JavaScript - a language half the age of SQL.

That’s quite an achievement for a 46 years of old, especially at the exponentrial rate so common in software and technology. sql server dba online training helps you to learn more effectively.

And yes, it’s true C and C++ are both nearly as old or older than SQL, but even combined they still aren’t as prevalent as SQL is today.

So why do we still use SQL?i

The simple fact that both arrived early in the life of computing, and that for 90% of the time they just work, means databases have become a ‘solved problem’ you no longer need to think about.

It’s like how MailChimp has become synonymous with sending email newsletters. If you want to work with data you use RDBMS and SQL. In fact, there usually needs to be a good reason not to use them. Just like there needs to be a good reason not to use MailChimp for sending emails, or Stripe for taking card payments.

But people do use other other email automation software and payment solutions, just like people use NoSQL databases. Yet even with other database technology available, albeit less mature technology, SQL still reigns and reigns well.

So, finally, here are 8 reasons we still use SQL 43 years after it was first cooked up.

1. Simple mathematics

SQL was designed specifically for data so–surprise, surprise–it excels at accessing and organizing data.

Reason one: SQL is damn good at what it does.

2. Battle-tested

RDBMS have been around for a while so they’ve been used in many, many different scenarios. From pre-web offline databases to heavily-modified SQL databases playing a central role in global apps like Facebook - RDBMS and SQL are battle-tested and have proven to be reliable after countless millions of hours running in production.

There’s a lot to be said for software that just works, especially when you’re dealing with data and databases where losses, corruption, or failure are catastrophic. Edge cases often benefit from mature solutions with numerous plans patterns for backups, change management, and operational rigor.

Hence a SQL database is nearly always the best choice.

3. Knowledge and community

When things are around for a while a general body of knowledge is built up around them. SQL is no different. Over the years a vast array of shared SQL knowledge in the form of documentation, thriving communities, and plenty of technical talent has developed.

Such a vast body of information with an active community around it does a lot to keep a technology around. Because the community is so active and the documentation so extensive, people and businesses gravitate towards the technology. Because people gravitate towards the technology the community grows and the level of knowledge deepens and is shared with new adopters.

Over the years, this is what’s happened with SQL.

4. Simplicity

As far as languages go, SQL is easy to learn. It can take just a few days to learn the limited number of functions one can use to run queries and return data. Simple.

Even roles that are traditionally non-technical such as marketing, C-level executives, and non-technical product managers are known to learn basic SQL to support their roles.

Deeply understanding the relational database systems that SQL runs on is another thing. But for a vast majority of simple data queries, SQL is great.

5. Ubiquity

With half of developers using SQL and RDBMS it’s safe to say the language and technology is ubiquitous. This is no bad thing. As mentioned above, knowledge and community thrives in this situation. And due to its simplicity, SQL is almost common knowledge among developers and those they work with. sql dba course along with real time projects.

This means skill sets easily transfer between companies and industries, which means talent is readily available, which in turn fuels knowledge creation and community growth.

The ubiquitous nature of SQL databases has formed a beneficial circular model for growth and its fantastic.

6. Open Source and interoperability

Generally, SQL isn’t completely interoperable. Vendors aren’t known for following the same standards, largely due to differing syntax. However, SQL syntax varies only slightly between vendors so it’s still possible to reuse SQL with some modification. But this isn’t ideal and some vendors would rather their syntax wasn’t reusable.

7. Why code when you can use SQL?

SQL is made for joining data, filtering data, selecting columns and so on. Doing these things in your own custom code instead of relying on SQL and the database software leads to writing unnecessary lines of code with no added value.

Here’s an example. Let’s say we need data to create a “California revenue Q3” report.

You can create this report by writing one line of SQL that magically:

Fetches users from the California table Sorts the data Totals the data Orders the data so you can show one column that says “California revenue Q3 2017”

This is what the one line of SQL would like look:

SELECT SUM(Value_USD) AS California_Revenue_Q3 FROM Transactions WHERE Location = 'California' AND DATEPART(q, Date) = 3 AND YEAR(Date) = 2017;

And if we wanted to break it down by location the SQL would be as follows:

SELECT Location, SUM(Value_USD) AS Revenue_Q3 FROM Transactions WHERE DATEPART(q, Date) = 3 AND YEAR(Date) = 2017 GROUP BY Location ORDER BY Location;

And if we wanted the top five areas by revenue:

SELECT TOP 5 Location, SUM(Value_USD) AS Revenue_Q3 FROM Transactions WHERE DATEPART(q, Date) = 3 AND YEAR(Date) = 2017 GROUP BY Location ORDER BY SUM(Value_USD) DESC;

To run these queries in other languages would be complicated, time-consuming, and take far too much code. SQL was purposely designed to slice data and it does it well. Not to mention that it’s more efficient to bring the computation to the data, rather than bringing the data to the computation.

8. SQL/RDBMS and NoSQL/DBMS databases play different roles

Databases are tools. They’re not all hammers. You have wrenches, screwdrivers, saws, spanners, etc. Each does a different job and solves a different problem. There are SQL, key value, time series, blockchains, embedded, and more. Each type of database is good at something and bad at others.

Relational databases are fantastic when you need to express relationships in a system when you can’t foresee all possible permutations of data combination, aggregation, or usage. And, honestly, most systems fall into this category. Plus the SQL language itself offers a user-friendly way to organize data in the way you need it.

SQL/RDBMS are just one of many tools for a specific job - and just so happen to be a perfectly feasible tool for many jobs. And when consistent data integrity is essential (for example, in finance), they are the best.

SQL databases have their drawbacks and aren’t the best choice for certain jobs. But for a vast majority of cases they simply blow every other NoSQL solution out of the water. sql dba traininghelps you to learn more skills and techniques.

And if you’re going to get riled up about scale, realistically only a tiny percentage will ever need to worry about scaling a RDBMS - you’re not Facebook or Google. You can still have millions of users with a SQL database and have no issues.