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SQL (pronounced as S-Q-L or "sequel") is an acronym for Structured Query Language.

It is a database computer language designed for the retrieval and management of data in relational database management systems (RDBMS), database schema creation and modification, and database object access control management.

SQL is a standard interactive and programming language for querying and modifying data and managing databases. Although SQL is both an ANSI and an ISO standard, many database products support SQL with proprietary extensions to the standard language. The core of SQL is formed by a command language that allows the retrieval, insertion, updating, and deletion of data, and performing management and administrative functions. SQL also includes a Call Level Interface (SQL/CLI) for accessing and managing data and databases remotely.

The first version of SQL was developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s. This version, initially called SEQUEL, was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM's original relational database product, System R. The SQL language was later formally standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1986. Subsequent versions of the SQL standard have been released as International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.

Originally designed as a declarative query and data manipulation language, variations of SQL have been created by SQL database management system (DBMS) vendors that add procedural constructs, control-of-flow statements, user-defined data types, and various other language extensions. With the release of the SQL:1999 standard, many such extensions were formally adopted as part of the SQL language via the SQL Persistent Stored Modules (SQL/PSM) portion of the standard.

Common criticisms of SQL include a perceived lack of cross-platform portability between vendors, inappropriate handling of missing data (see Null (SQL)), and unnecessarily complex and occasionally ambiguous language grammar and semantics.

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