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Mastering Oracle SQL

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Mastering Oracle SQL, 9780596001292 (0596001290), O'Reilly, 2002

SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is the language for accessing a relational database. SQL provides a set of statements for storing and retrieving data to and from a relational database. It has gained steadily in popularity ever since the first relational database was unleashed upon the world. Other languages have been put forth, but SQL is now accepted as the standard language for almost all relational database implementations, including Oracle.

SQL is different from other programming languages because it is nonprocedural. Unlike programs in other languages, where you specify the sequence of steps to be performed, a SQL program (more appropriately called a SQL statement) only expresses the desired result. The responsibility for determining how the data will be processed in order to generate the desired result is left to the database management system. The nonprocedural nature of SQL makes it easier to access data in application programs.

If you are using an Oracle database, SQL is the interface you use to access the data stored in your database. SQL allows you to create database structures such as tables (to store your data), views, and indexes. SQL allows you to insert data into the database, and to retrieve that stored data in a desired format (for example, you might sort it). Finally, SQL allows you to modify, delete, and otherwise manipulate your stored data. SQL is the key to everything you do with the database. It's important to know how to get the most out of that interface. Mastery over the SQL language is one of the most vital requirements of a database developer or database administrator.

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