Data Manipulation Language

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Data Manipulation Language (DML) is a family of computer languages used by computer programs database users to retrieve, insert, delete and update data in a database.

Currently the most popular data manipulation language is that of SQL, which is used to retrieve and manipulate data in a Relational database. Other forms of DML are those used by IMS/DLI, CODASYL databases (such as IDMS), and others.

Data manipulation languages were initially only used by computer programs, but (with the advent of SQL) have come to be used by people, as well.

Data Manipulation Languages have their functional capability organized by the initial word in a statement, which is almost always a verb. In the case of SQL, these verbs are:

Each SQL statement is a declarative command. The individual SQL statements are declarative, as opposed to imperative, in that they describe what the program should accomplish, rather than describing how to go about accomplishing it.

Most SQL database implementations extend their SQL capabilities by providing imperative, i.e., procedural, languages. Examples of these are Oracle's PL/SQL and DB2's SQL PL.

Data Manipulation Languages tend to have many different flavors and capabilities between database vendors. There has been a standard established for SQL by ANSI, but vendors still provide their own extensions to the standard while not implementing the entire standard.

There are two types of Data Manipulation languages:

  1. Procedural
  2. Declarative

[edit] See also

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