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History of Structured Query Language

SQL or Structured Query Language will be 37 years old next year. According to that we can conclude that it is much older than many other areas of IT technology, such as personal computers or the current operating systems. How it all started?

In 1970 the group of IBM researchers at San Jose Research Center developed a pilot database management system called “System R”. The system was based on one of the key documents in the databases area, published in the same year under the title:

Edgar F. Coode: “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks”.

Execution of all operations on the data in the system “System R” was based on a language called Structured English Query Language, or abbreviated SEQUEL. As the use of the term SEQUEL was already protected and restricted by the British company Hawker Siddeley, the name of the language for database management was reduced to a SQL (Structured Query Language), and as such is kept until now. Although the system of relational database management was based on Coode’s work, it should be noted that the same author did not “invent” the SQL language, but the credit for this goes to two IBM specialists (Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce).

The first commercial systems based on SQL appeared on the market almost a decade later – in 1979. That year, IBM, after intensive testing of the concept introduced in the system “System R”, introduced SQL / DS for System/38 computer, that was presented four years later (1983) as the first known version of the DB2 database, which is even today available at market.

Same year when IBM completed their commercial SQL / DS, another well-known manufacturer of software (Oracle Corporation – at that time Relation Software Inc.) introduced a market system for relational databases (Oracle Version 2). In fact, Oracle surpassed IBM with their commercial version in a few weeks, so today they can be proud of their title as the first commercial producer of relational databases. Over the next few years a number of competitors appeared in the race.Microsoft also began to compete, which after a very intensive development of its version of SQL Server won quite a chunk of the market pie.

Many manufacturers of relational databases added extensions over time to the basics of SQL language so it was necessary to introduce some form of standardization of language. It with first done in 1986 by ANSI’s (American National Standards Institute), and a year later by ISO (International Organization for Standardization). Since the SQL continually evolved over the years, today we can speak about a number of prepared and adopted standards: SQL-86, SQL-89, SQL-92, and the like.

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