Introduced in 1989, MS SQL Server is a relational database that was developed by Microsoft as an offshoot of the Sybase SQL Server, designed specifically for use with the OS/2 network operating system. Although based originally on IBM’s Structured English Query Language, MS SQL has evolved over the years into more than just a query language system. It now incorporates its own query language, tables, and security systems, with extensions into common programming languages such as C, Python, and HTML. Since its development it has become one of the primary relational databases used in the world.
A database is a logical construct of a series of related records, each comprised of several individual pieces of data knows as “cells”, which are stored in a construct known as a "table". If there are multiple tables in the database they must be related to each other by the use of unique data cells known as “keys”. These keys allow the individual queries to identify relationships of data between tables, leading to MS SQL Server being known as a “Relational Database”.
Though data entry and manipulation of the records in a database are most commonly performed through some kind of a graphical interface “front-end”, the actual operations themselves are carried out through SQL commands. All operations within MS SQL Server take place in the Transact-SQL or “T-SQL” language. No matter what other programs might be communicating with MS SQL Server, they are communicating via Transact-SQL statements.
Though the strings and commands one can use in SQL Server number in the dozens, a small number of them will see use in the majority of T-SQL programming. A few examples are:
These examples only begin to skirt the edges of the full capabilities of MS SQL Server. It is an enterprise-level software, used frequently by universities, banks, and Fortune 500 companies. Anyone who has spent any time working with large sets of electronic data has probably already been exposed to MS SQL Server, whether they are aware of it or not. Its combination of ease of use with almost infinite extensibility means that it will remain a common choice in data management infrastructure for years to come.