The majority of IT professionals who have spent any amount of time around databases are familiar with structured query language, perhaps better known by its acronym of SQL. It is the computer language most commonly used to interact with databases and is a de-facto prerequisite for individuals who aspire to work with them.
SQL is an important skill to have in a number of different roles within an IT department. Database administrator (DBA) is one that immediately comes to mind and a working DBA must possess a firm understanding of SQL. Database developers, as well as data analysts and data scientists, also need to know the language to perform their functions in an organization. SQL also touches other areas of an IT environment. For example, data management professionals using Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) require at least a basic knowledge of SQL to obtain information from TSM’s databases
There are many different implementations of SQL that all trace their lineage to the ANSI SQL specifications. Vendors add proprietary constructs and functionality to modify SQL so it performs more efficiently with their particular database offerings. These additions to the language can be very useful in getting things done on an individual platform. Unfortunately, they do introduce further complexity to database teams struggling with the difficulty of supporting multiple database platforms simultaneously. It’s a rare DBA who is responsible for only one flavor of SQL in today’s IT landscape.
The Challenges of Writing SQL Queries
Let’s face it. No one was raised with SQL, or any programming language, as their mother tongue. Anyone who has spent the time and effort required to learn SQL has done so to accomplish personal or professional goals. Since we weren’t born speaking SQL, it can be difficult to master the syntax and subtleties of the language. Unless you are some sort of coding savant, queries are not going to roll off your keyboard with the ease of an essay or limerick.
Even the most experienced and skilled SQL coders will come up against arcane and little-used aspects of the language which force them to consult reference materials to complete their queries. No matter how well-versed a DBA is in the multiple platforms they support, navigating the differences in the SQL implementation can result in lost productivity. And then there’s that issue of matching the double quotes or was that single quotes? Yea, exactly.
A beleaguered DBA welcomes all the help they can get to make them more efficient and increase productivity. Making it easier to construct the queries they need for interacting with their databases is a great place to start. More thought can be put into the abstract nature of the query and the information it can obtain rather than the actual code with which it is performed.
An Effective Tool for Writing SQL Queries
Aqua Data Studio is a comprehensive SQL IDE that provides many features designed to increase the efficiency of your database team. The tool supports a wide range of database platforms including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and IBM Db2. Support is also provided for cloud databases such as Amazon Redshift and Microsoft Azure SQL. Two features, in particular, are specifically focused on assisting with the building and analyzing of SQL queries. Let’s take a look at the benefits Aqua Data Studio can offer your team.
Visual Query Builder
Using the Aqua Data Studio’s Visual Query Builder tool lets you construct SQL queries without knowledge of the statements’ syntax. You can develop queries without typing any SQL statements with this tool and a connection to a database server. The GUI will present you with selections so you can tailor your query to the available data. SQL properties such as JOINs, Operators, Aliases, and indexes can be combined visually to enable more intuitive and powerful query writing. Use a simple drag and drop method to create a JOIN in an SQL query. An index manager helps optimize your queries and your work can be saved and exported for future use by yourself or colleagues.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this software component. It does assist with analyzing queries but is much more powerful than its title implies. Using a database connection, the tool executes SQL queries and returns the results in different modes to facilitate analysis. Query results can be saved to various formats like HTML, CSV or Excel. Advanced capabilities enable faster and more efficient creation of SQL queries. You can automate the insertion of frequently used statements and create simple abbreviations for long SQL statements. Queries can be formatted for readability and the autocompletion feature speeds up development and saves keystrokes. Parameterized scripts enable you to reuse scripts with different input values.
Aqua Data Studio will help you tame SQL query writing and consistently save time which can be better spent on planning and optimization. It might be just the thing to get you out of the office with all your work done on time every night. Sounds like a winning proposition in any language.