A Brief History of the Relational Model and SQL

The relational model was introduced by Edgar F. Codd in a seminal 1970 paper “A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks” [4]. There, Codd postulated that all data in a database can be represented in terms of sets of tuples, called relations. Codd also invented a form of first-order predicate logic to describe the database queries: tuple relational calculus. Codd’s ideas were revolutionary. For the first time, a database, and a universal way to query it, was described in a succinct, consistent mathematical model. This, naturally, created lots of interest in further research and, importantly, into practical implementation of the relational model. In 1974 Donald Chamberlin and Raymond Boyce published a paper [2], which introduced “a set of simple operations on tabular structures, […] of equivalent power to the first order predicate calculus”. Chamberlin and Boyce felt that the formal relational query languages proposed at the time were too hard to understand for “users without formal training in mathematics or computer programming” and thought that the “predominant use of the language would be for ad-hoc queries” [3]. Initially, the authors did not consider SQL to be a “serious” language. Nonetheless, the great interest in the commercial application of the relational model had pushed IBM to quickly adopt and productize SQL, which was also picked up by their quickly-rising competitor–Oracle. IBM had an overwhelmingly large influence over the tech market at the time, so SQL became a de facto standard for relational databases, and then a proper standard with the publication of the first ANSI standard in 1989 that essentially circumscribed the most prominent existing implementations of SQL. Subsequent versions of the standard continued to be primarily influenced by the commercial vendors. Today, SQL is by far the most widely used database language. But that does not necessarily mean that it represents the best of what we can do. In fact, SQL’s beginnings as a “simple, ad-hoc” language coupled with “design by implementation” from competing vendors had left the language with a baggage of severe issues.


I did not write this, please link below for full article https://edgedb.com/blog/we-can-do-better-than-sql/?utm_content=bufferd02c5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Mike Bennyhoff CEO Bennyhoff Products And Services LLC

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

On one of my first forays into consulting I was recruited by a staffing agency recruiter. The end customer wanted to hire be as a production database administrator for SQL Server. The recruiter aske

One of the areas where I have found success as contract DBA is the mundane task of backups, tuning and installation. Most of my customers have automated backup performance monitoring solutions that

I think the DBA role will be more critical in the coming years. I have bet my business and career on this belief. While, databases are becoming more reliable and require less technical maintenance t