SQL and the Future

by Asim K
In his 1998 journal article from The Future of SQL, Craig S. Mullins describes the future of SQL as bright – and although this seems like an optimistic statement, the truth is that it is the present that Mullins was worried about. Mullins begins by explaining why in the 90s SQL had been so successful saying that it’s an abstract and in-depth language that is used to query and provide structure to data. If you know English, then you’ll be able to grasp onto SQL pretty easily – a lot more easily than COBOL, C, or Python source code – which gives SQL the advantage because users can be more productive in a shorter amount of time. He also explains the natural flexibility of SQL, saying that there is more than one way to do one thing and it could be equally as efficient. The “threat of the present” is that SQL was at the time under threat by XML and that SQL was limited in what it could do vs XML. Same goes for Java. The future, Mullin says, is fuzzy logic in congruence with SQL, saying that applying rough human logic to SQL code would help SQL expand and become even more than it was in the 90s. A few of these examples are given in the article (see: citation). Mullin ends by stating that infrastructure is needed in the IT community and SQL provides that infrastructure like nothing else does.

As far as this article goes, Craig S. Mullins is nothing short of a prophet in the sense that he was able to correctly suggest about a decade and a half ago what SQL would become: the leading infrastructure of databases and the heart of data inside the IT community. SQL has indeed grown since Mullin published this journal and it will continue to grow (though, not exactly through fuzzy data like Mullin had suggested) but in means that are beyond the limited vision he portrayed in 1998. SQL now has the future of cloud computing, shared data, and a language that is constantly being updated to keep up with the Big Data that is constantly being produced at a constantly faster rate. Only time will tell what cloud computing could lead to.

Mullin CS, (1998). The Future of SQL. Computing News and Review. 8 (1), pp.

2 thoughts on “SQL and the Future

  • November 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Great Article. SQL’s use of English as it’s language does make learning SQL very easy. Without ever knowing SQL, one can understand what is happening within each SQL statement. Also, I never knew XML was ever a threat to SQL- because SQL had limited features. Now days SQL is way ahead of XML in the amount of features provided and the amount of users.

  • November 19, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Interesting article. Having experience in both C++ and Java, its easy to say that SQL is much more straightforward. The keywords almost exactly let you know what’s going on, its just a matter of ordering everything correctly. I also like what he said about their being more than one way to write code for a certain task. This helps create diversity among programmers and definitely helps the drive towards make the code more and more efficient.

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