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SQL Syntax


Database Tables

A database most often contains one or more tables. Each table is identified by a name (e.g. "Customers" or "Orders"). Tables contain records (rows) with data.

In this tutorial we will use the well-known Northwind sample database (included in MS Access and MS SQL Server).

Below is a selection from the "Customers" table:

CustomerID CustomerName ContactName Address City PostalCode Country
1

Alfreds Futterkiste Maria Anders Obere Str. 57 Berlin 12209 Germany
2 Ana Trujillo Emparedados y helados Ana Trujillo Avda. de la Constitución 2222 México D.F. 05021 Mexico
3 Antonio Moreno Taquería Antonio Moreno Mataderos 2312 México D.F. 05023 Mexico
4

Around the Horn Thomas Hardy 120 Hanover Sq. London WA1 1DP UK
5 Berglunds snabbköp Christina Berglund Berguvsvägen 8 Luleå S-958 22 Sweden

The table above contains five records (one for each customer) and seven columns (CustomerID, CustomerName, ContactName, Address, City, PostalCode, and Country).


SQL Statements

Most of the actions you need to perform on a database are done with SQL statements.

The following SQL statement selects all the records in the "Customers" table:

Example

SELECT * FROM Customers;
Try it Yourself »

In this tutorial we will teach you all about the different SQL statements.



Keep in Mind That...

  • SQL keywords are NOT case sensitive: select is the same as SELECT

In this tutorial we will write all SQL keywords in upper-case.


Semicolon after SQL Statements?

Some database systems require a semicolon at the end of each SQL statement.

Semicolon is the standard way to separate each SQL statement in database systems that allow more than one SQL statement to be executed in the same call to the server.

In this tutorial, we will use semicolon at the end of each SQL statement.


Some of The Most Important SQL Commands

  • SELECT - extracts data from a database
  • UPDATE - updates data in a database
  • DELETE - deletes data from a database
  • INSERT INTO - inserts new data into a database
  • CREATE DATABASE - creates a new database
  • ALTER DATABASE - modifies a database
  • CREATE TABLE - creates a new table
  • ALTER TABLE - modifies a table
  • DROP TABLE - deletes a table
  • CREATE INDEX - creates an index (search key)
  • DROP INDEX - deletes an index