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SQL For Dummies®, 7th Edition by Allen G. Taylor

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Chapter 3. The Components of SQL

SQL is a special-purpose language designed for the creation and maintenance of data in relational databases. Although the vendors of relational database management systems have their own SQL implementations, an ISO/ANSI standard (revised in 2008) defines and controls what SQL is. All implementations differ from the standard to varying degrees. Close adherence to the standard is the key to running a database (and its associated applications) on more than one platform.

Although SQL isn't a general-purpose programming language, it contains some impressive tools. Three languages within a language offer everything you need to create, modify, maintain, and provide security for a relational database:

  • The Data Definition Language (DDL): The part of SQL that you use to create (completely define) a database, modify its structure, and destroy it when you no longer need it.

  • The Data Manipulation Language (DML): The part of SQL that performs database maintenance. Using this powerful tool, you can specify what you want to do with the data in your database — enter it, change it, or extract it.

  • The Data Control Language (DCL): The part of SQL that protects your database from becoming corrupted. Used correctly, the DCL provides security for your database; the amount of protection depends on the implementation. If your implementation doesn't provide sufficient protection, you must add that protection to your application program.

This chapter introduces the DDL, DML, and ...

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