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Managing & Using MySQL, 2nd Edition by Hugh E. Williams, Randy Yarger, George Reese, Tim King

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The SQL Story

IBM invented SQL in the 1970s shortly after Dr. E. F. Codd invented the concept of a relational database. From the beginning, SQL was an easy-to-learn, yet powerful language. It resembles a natural language such as English, so it is less daunting to a nontechnical person. In the 1970s, even more than today, this advantage was important.

There were no casual hackers in the early 1970s. No one grew up learning BASIC or building web pages in HTML. The people programming computers were people who knew everything about how a computer worked. SQL was aimed at the army of nontechnical accountants and business and administrative staff who would benefit from being able to access the power of a relational database.

SQL was so popular with its target audience, in fact, that in the 1980s, Oracle Corporation launched the world’s first publicly available commercial SQL system. Oracle SQL was a huge hit and spawned an entire industry built around SQL. Sybase, Informix, Microsoft, and several other companies have since come forward with their implementations of SQL-based relational database management systems (RDBMSs).

When Oracle and its first competitors hit the scene, SQL was still relatively new and there was no standard. It was not until 1989 that the ANSI standards body issued the first public SQL standard. These days, the standard is referred to as SQL89. That new standard, unfortunately, did not go far enough into defining the technical structure of the language. Thus, even ...

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