SQL: The Language of Data

If you want to build websites in today’s environment, you have to know how to interact with a database. Databases are used for much more than simply storing financial or numeric information. Take this blog for instance. Not only is each blog post that I create stored in a database, but even the page names and their attributes are stored there as well. Databases serve a wide range of functions. Yes, they do store large amounts of numeric data, but they do so much more. All of your usernames and passwords are stored in databases. All of your Facebook posts and information, such as your likes, comments and FarmVille scores are stored in a database as well. For you to progress in your web development abilities, you must learn how to interact with a database.

There are many different databases on the market, but for the majority of developers, two will be most prominent. The first is Microsoft SQL Server. If you are working with Microsoft’s .NET Framework, SQL Server with be the database of choice. The other prominent database is the open source database MySQL.  WorPress utilizes the MySQL database in their blog CMS. Though these databases differ in many ways, you communicate with them with the same language, SQL.

SQL is the name of the server scripting language used to interact databases. Both SQL Server and MySQL use the SQL language. In order to begin connecting your website to a database, you need to start learning the SQL language.

A good place to start is the w3school SQL Tutorial . This tutorial will give you a basic introduction into the SQL language. You will also want to have access to other SQL resources as you begin to develop your skills. If you will mostly be working with SQL Server, I recommend you bookmark the MSDN Transact-SQL Reference page. If MySQL is your database of choice, the MySQL Reference Manual is a good resource to consult.

Keep this in mind; practice makes perfect. You will not learn the SQL language simply by reading. You have to put what you are reading into practice. Get a copy of either database (versions of each can be freely downloaded) and get start creating some test databases.

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