For questions concerning the SQL Standard itself (also known as the ANSI or ISO SQL Standard) including writing queries that conform to that standard. This tag is NOT to be used for questions about SQL Server Standard Edition.
SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a special-purpose programming language designed for managing data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS), or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system (RDSMS).
Originally based upon relational algebra and tuple relational calculus, SQL consists of a data definition language and a data manipulation language. The scope of SQL includes data insert, query, update and delete, schema creation and modification, and data access control. Although SQL is often described as, and to a great extent is, a declarative language (4GL), it also includes procedural elements.
SQL was one of the first commercial languages for Edgar F. Codd's relational model, as described in his influential 1970 paper, "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks." Despite not entirely adhering to the relational model as described by Codd, it became the most widely used database language.
SQL became a standard of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1986, and of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1987. Since then, the standard has been revised to include a larger set of features. Despite the existence of such standards, though, most SQL code is not completely portable among different database systems without adjustments.