What is SQL anyway?

SQL is short for: “Structured Query Language.” SQL is the language of relational databases… databases like MySQL, Oracle, MS SQL Server and many others.

SQL allows you to ‘talk’ to a relational database – that means being able to manage the data being stored in the database.

SQL is a computer language that has been around since the 1970’s and it is now a standard that is used in every relational database. It has become so popular that SQL (or an SQL-like language) is used even in some databases that are not relational.

Learning SQL

SQL is not too hard to learn and was orginally designed so that even non techies could use it. So have faith!

That said, advanced SQL can be complex and tricky and as such, there are people out there who are highly paid experts in this area – especially when you take into account the extensions/additions to SQL that you see in databases like Oracle.


Fortunately for us PHP nerds, we don’t need to become SQL gurus to effectively use SQL (and MySQL) in our PHP work. To get us going, all we need to learn is the four basic SQL commands:

  1. insert
  2. select
  3. update
  4. delete

Before we get into the details about the four basic SQL statements, you might want to watch this video tutorial that introduces you to SQL.

The Big Four SQL Statements

  • Insert

    One great thing about SQL is that the commands/statements are self describing. So in this case, the ‘insert’
    command allows you to insert new data into a database.

    SQL Insert video tutorial.

  • Select

    The ‘select’ command allows you to select (pull out) specific pieces of information from a database.

    SQL Select statement video tutorial.

  • Update

    The ‘update’ command allows you to update records/information already in the database.

    SQL Update statement video tutorial.

  • Delete

    The ‘delete’ command allows you delete information in the database. Like all the other commands you can tweak the command
    so as to target specific data in the database. Anyway, we will look at that a little later.

    SQL Delete statement video tutorial.


Just post them on the PHP forum.

Much more to come…

Stefan Mischook

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