Modern SQL: Beyond Relational

Since 1999, SQL is not limited to the relational model anymore.

Back then ISO/IEC 9075 (the “SQL standard”) added arrays, objects and recursive queries. In the meanwhile the SQL standard has grown five times bigger than SQL-92. In other words: relational SQL is only about 20% of modern SQL.0

If you can spare 15 minutes I’d like to tell you this story in this video. Alternatively on YouTube.

Recorded at the DataNatives-Conference in Berlin 2018.

On modern-⁠ I explain old and new SQL features and show which products support them. Take this example.

BigQueryabeDb2 (LUW)cfMariaDBfMySQLOracle DBdgPostgreSQLSQL ServerdfSQLiteWith clauseWith recursive clauseOver (…)from … for system_time …
  1. Without column list: WITH name AS (SELECT…)
  2. Without column list: WITH RECURSIVE query_name AS (SELECT…)
  3. Without keyword recursive • No join in recursive branch—use comma-join (,)
  4. Without keyword recursive
  5. Without DDL (automatically) • Only FOR SYSTEM_TIME AS OF
  6. Some minor omissions and variations
  7. Alternative syntax. E.g. no for system_time

Click on one of the features on the left hand side, e.g. “With clause”, to see how long the tested databases support this feature.

If you want to start right away I’d recommend the articles about the pivot method, the extract expression and the with clause for the beginning. These are among the most popular articles on modern-⁠

You can’t catch up on 20 years of SQL evolution in one day. Subscribe the newsletter via E-Mail, Twitter or RSS to gradually catch up and to keep modern-⁠ on your radar.

About the Author

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Markus Winand provides insights into SQL and shows how different systems support it at Previously he made, which is still actively maintained. Markus can be hired as trainer, speaker and consultant via

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  1. “Pages of specification” is as pointless as “lines of code”. Yet it might give you an impression about the growth.

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