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SQL stands for Structured Query Language. This is the universal way to talk to databases. It's a simple elegant language that does what we call CRUD- create, read, update and delete data to and from databases. That's it's sole purpose. It's not an application development language. The application development languages use SQL to communicate with databases. Therefore, it's a universal way to talk to databases, that's a real plus in that. You have one common denominator in your development platform.
You talk to databases the same way and whether you're talking to MySQL database or Microsoft SQL Server or Access, we use SQL to communicate with all of these. So let's look at an example of a SQL statement and to see what an elegant and simple language it is. This is what's known as a Select Statement. You are saying SELECT and the star (*) there means All. So it's all fields from the table that you will declare. FROM would be from employees. Let's say you have a table in your database it's about employees. So it's telling the database to pull the information from that table.
A WHERE clause means where employee name, this would be a field in that table, equals Fred. So Select All From employees where the name is Fred, and it's just that simple and elegant of a language. Now it can get very powerful with joins and other things, but that goes beyond what we need to talk about. It's just good to know that it's a powerful, elegant, simple way to communicate universally with databases. Now it is integrated or implemented a little differently in each language, but the SQL is pretty much the same for all. Some databases have made little augmentations to SQL. Microsoft has done that with SQL Server.
But overall a good solid SQL statement is going to work with all databases. Take the time to get acquainted with it. You don't need to learn the language completely but it really helps to know enough about it, to where you can look at a SQL statement and get a good idea of what's being done there. Check with database query builders. Microsoft Access has a excellent query builder that helps you visually build SQL statements and you can see what happens. You check on references online, if you type-in SEQUEL statements or SQL statements or language and Google you will get lot of hits, there are a lot of good references online.
Dreamweaver also has a Record Set Builder that actually creates SQL commands for you. It doesn't get too complex, but it does create simple queries for you and so it is a visual way to create SQL statements there. And most of all I'd highly recommend that you get the book on SQL, it's a small $14-15 book that you can order at Amazon or wherever. It's Sam's Teach Yourself SQL in Ten Minutes by Ben Forta. Great little reference book to have by your computer. What I did with mine is I cut the spine off of it and took it down to an Office Depot and had it spiral bound, so it would open flat on the desk.
It's a great little tool to have right there while you are working, and if you need to build a SQL command or you want to know what the one you are looking at does, the book is right there. It's a quick easy reference.
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