Is sql a Programming Language?


Understand What exactly is SQL?

SQL means “Structured Query Language”. It is used for managing databases. With the help of SQL, we can store, manipulate, and retrieve data. It’s used to query a database. The database is a collection of different records and DBMS (Database Management System) is a group system of programs which helps the programmer to perform SQL operations smoothly.  Hence, SQL is a DBML for relational databases. So, is SQL a programming language?

Different Views of Programmers on SQL as a Language.

1.  SQL in its purest form is NOT a programming language.  —  Ryan Jentzsch (Over 25 years experience in software development)

Ryan Jentzsch contradicts with the fact that SQL is a programming language in its core structure. According to him, it is a query language. In order to qualify as a programming language, it must be able to perform certain tasks (loops) and decision logic or control structures. SQL doesn’t have this. So major DB developers saw this flaw in SQL & made their own server-side SQL based languages. Like Microsoft T-SQL, Oracle PL-SQL, PostgreSQL PL/pgSQL.

Source: Quora

2. SQL is definitely a programming language. Whether it’s “like” C++, is a different question. — Irné Barnard (Programming since the 80s)

Irné says the very basic idea behind SQL is to ensure user to instruct DB system on how it should be organized. what values must be inserted, removed, or updated and from where to obtain those, and finally how to go about combining values already in the database in order to provide more useful to the results.

Source: Quora

BOTH, are absolutely correct in their approaches.


SQL in proper is not a general-purpose programming language. It’s a domain specific language for relational databases. But, when we see languages like Microsoft T-SQL or Oracle PL-SQL, they are like an extension to SQL, it changes the core nature of SQL by introducing loops & conditionals.

SQL might meet some literal definition of a programming language. It depends on how you’re using it. SQL you call it a language or not, but surely its a vital aspect for our programming community.

Thanks, Ryan JentzschIrné Barnard for their wonderful answers you shared on Quora. If you want to view their answers in detail head over this link. And, stay tuned with PinProgram. Let us know in comment section below what do you think is SQL a programming language?

Rajan Bhave

A skilled and knowledgeable computer science student with extensive knowledge of programming and computer applications. Loves to create new things like websites, software and apps.

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