back to article First among SQLs

Legend has it that Edgar 'Ted' Codd got the idea for SQL while attending a 'Sky at Night' spin-off lecture. Patrick Moore, pointing at the blackboard, said: 'Select a star from the table'. 'That's it!', cried Codd, and ran out the door to follow up his inspiration forthwith, missing a good discussion of vulcanoids. Though born …

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  1. Mage Silver badge
    Heart

    I'm looking forward to the sequel

    It may be weird and arcane, illogical an d not really a programming language as we know it, but it's far better than the alternatives.

    It is indeed very unpleasant to swap btween DB2, Oracle, MySQL and MS-SQL even on a fresh project, never mind trying to port a large one.

    And ODBC and VB6 + IIS on MS-SQL and you'll really want to start over to use PHP, Java and MySQL. :(

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      If you ever feel like SQL is bad...

      You should check something called MUMPS. Now *that* is absolute terror!

      1. Jon Gaul

        MUMPS

        Ah MUMPS isn't so bad, you can at least be very... concise! :)

  2. J. Cook Silver badge
    Boffin

    Thank you for the laugh, good sir.

    Although I am well aware that it probably was not intended as a humorous article.

    1. Trixr Bronze badge
      WTF?

      Erm

      Are you pulling our legs? It's -supposed- to be humour. Also, Verity is not a "good sir".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    MY god...

    a stob article that was actually good.

  4. Steve the Cynic

    Levels of indirection

    There is one problem that cannot be solved by adding layers of indirection: "The code is too big to fit into the ROM."

    1. jai
      Megaphone

      imbecile!!!

      Stob articles are always good - you're just not reading them right!

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Levels of indirection

      Not true. Read Brooks' Mythical Man Month and learn of the IBM minion who took a bloated terminal handler and reduced its memory footprint by replacing it with an interpreter and a script.

  5. John 62
    Megaphone

    SHOUTY, SHOUTY!

    I) USING ALL CAPS SHOWS THAT THE CODE IS NOT YOUR implementation_language.

    II) THE MORE CAPS IN THE CODE, THE LESS YOU WANT TO HAVE OF IT. A GOOD IDEA WITH SQL.

    III) MAYBE SQL SHOULD BE LIKE XML: YOU CAN READ IT AND EDIT IT IN NOTEPAD, BUT IF YOU'RE DOING REAL WORK, YOU SHOULDN'T BE LETTING MERE TEXT EDITORS ANYWHERE NEAR IT. JUST ASK THE SCHOOL little bobby tables GOES TO.

  6. alyn

    ...but why?

    the sub-heading of COBOL? What has that got to do with SQL?

    P.S. J. Cook - I believe Verity is a girlie not a sir,. at least I have always assumed so.(I have not seren the proof)

  7. danny_0x98

    Moore Contemplations And More

    So, us USians finally began viewing - oh wait, this is the 21st century, make that consuming - the Moffat Doctor Who over the weekend. Thus, twice in 48 hours, I have seen reference to a certain Patrick Moore. I have very little idea what he does, but I induce that it's on television and either he or his phenomenon is rather comical to smart people.

    But isn't that the wonder of life? Another pop cultural reference to track down! That's better than street-cars in Los Angeles for a variety of reasons.

    Long-time fan of Ms Stob and it's always a pleasure to find her work.

    1. Cazzo Enorme

      Here, let me Google that for you ...

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=patrick+moore

  8. Daedalus Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Acro-nots

    Neither Fortran (FORmula TRANslation) nor Algol (ALGOrithmic Language) are acronyms, so don't write them as such.

    1. Alan Esworthy

      Tsk, tsk

      You missed the joke.

    2. Robert Synnott

      RE: Acro-nots

      Ah, yes, but you see, they both originated in the dark days before the invention of lower-case letters.

    3. Personne

      @Daedalus: Acro-nots

      Actually, both /are/ acronyms, same as "laser" and "radar". Whether an acronym is all caps depends on house style and on the acronym itself (e.g. "NATO", usually -- though not by the Guardian -- "scuba", never).

  9. Andy Dingley

    Old-ish terminology?

    A little outdated surely? "true-ish" has been deprecated in favour of the 2.0 term, "truthiness"

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Best Verity piece in a long time

    Or is that she does not publish so often? Time to check the archives, I may have been missing something.

  11. joe_bruin
    Flame

    the crux of the issue

    But the article avoids the main point of contention in the SQL world (no, not Mysql versus Postgres or Oracle vs. everything else); whether it is pronounced "sequel" or "S Q L".

  12. JamMak
    FAIL

    Darwin & Date

    If only they could have saved us from SQL's maddifying inconsistencies. Although how difficult these days to imagine a database world without NULL.

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      SQuirreL!

      I've seen worse abominations than pronouncing SQL as Sequel: One "IT guru" claimed that he was a "seequa server" expert. Huh?

    2. Doogs

      Pronunciation

      That would be "Squirrel"...

    3. DigiPants

      Null, a love song

      I don't care what they say - I won't stay in a world without NULL.

    4. ReaderOfTheRegister
      Headmaster

      No contention

      The SQL standard says that it's pronounced "S.Q.L". Go look it up.

  13. Shaun Roe
    Boffin

    shouty shouty

    SQL IS NOT TOO_BAD.

    {

    for $realHeadache in doc("querying")

    let $us_try :=XQuery

    return

    <ouch/>

    }

  14. Martin
    Pint

    Brilliant!

    Ms Stob's ability to write a spoof is unparallelled - they are laugh-out-loud funny even when (as in my case) you know precious little about the subject being spoofed.

    Please accept a virtual beer.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "For example"

    Pity you couldn't squeeze MySQL's geothingy stuff in there...

    And for the record:

    . Verity Stob is neither a sir nor a girlie, but a lady.

    . Verity Stob is always good, if you think otherwise, you missed the joke.

    . Verity Stob is always funny, if you think otherwise, you missed the joke.

    Buy a copy of "The Best of Verity Stob", you might find a sense of humour.

  16. RichardB

    For a lovable sql book

    Look no further than the Manga Guide to Databases.

    Seriously.

  17. Liam Proven
    FAIL

    £2 coin

    I think you'll find that's a *two* pound coin. One of these:

    http://i667.photobucket.com/albums/vv35/merlincove/2407901915_4d84759310.jpg

    As in this fine explanation:

    http://momscancer.blogspot.com/2007/08/coin-of-realm.html

    Otherwise, though, a very splendid article, rich in win and low in lossage, as I believe the children say.

  18. Gene Poole

    The pick n mix

    was always just inside the front door of my local branch of Woolies; no wonder the little ruffians used to steal it. I, of course, never entertained such ideas.

  19. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    It's onomatopoeic, surely?

    I believe "SQL" is properly pronounced "squeal", for reasons that ought to be obvious to anyone who uses it (or, worse, has to read someone else's). This is handy for the popular SQL cheers, eg:

    "LEFT JOIN! RIGHT JOIN! INNER JOIN! TRIG'!

    Denormalize your tables and SQL like a pig!"

  20. Paul Johnson
    Go

    Cobol? SQL?

    First of all, why the Cobol reference? Yes, SQL is embeddable in Cobol, but the article never touched on that.

    'Proper SQL' - what's that then? The opposite of 'improper SQL' perhaps?

    Mainframe-derived SQL was/is/should probably be written in CAPS, whereas *nix-derived SQL should probably be lower case. Mixed case? Ugh! Windows-derived SQL? Who cares.

    Why mix database design/normalisation and SQL as topics? The two only come together after mucho-arguing when it's time to finally, like, lay down a schema. Even then the modern-fangled way is to use a modelling tool to do the doing, often in complete ignorance of DBMS-specific best practices . Pah!

    Is S.Q.L. (never, ever, ever 'sequel', that's a follow-up) even a language? Not in my book.

    Triggers - dangerous? Agreed. Also often expensive. They don't get a look-in on big-data MPP systems.

    Remember, neat SQL is efficient SQL ;-)

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