Languages and Programming Interfaces
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Crucial to the dominance of the relational database was the almost universal adoption of the SQL language as the mechanism for querying and modifying data. SQL is not a perfect language, but it has demonstrated sufficient flexibility to meet the needs of both non-programming database users and professional database programmers. Programmers embed SQL in programming languages, while non-programmers use SQL either explicitly within a query tool or implicitly when a BI tool uses SQL under the hood to talk to the database. Prior to the introduction of SQL, most IT departments labored with a backlog of requests for reports; SQL allowed the business user to “self-serve” these requests.