Free Resources Around the SQL Standard

Picture of ISO/IEC 9075:2011 CD

We all love open source software. Wouldn’t it be great if international standard documents such as the SQL standard would be open too?

While they are public—as opposed to secret—the SQL standard is not free—as in beer.

If you really want to get a copy of the standard, you have to bite the bullet. The best advice I have is to check the prices in the various stores of the member bodies (ANSI, DIN, …) around the globe. In particular your local one might have a better price in your local currency.

However, the freely accessible information on this website and on this page in particular might be good enough for your purpose. So check it out!


A new part was added: 9075-16:2023 Property Graph Queries (SQL/PGQ).

The other parts were also updated. Most notably several additions to JSON functionality.

The new digital artifacts can be downloaded here. The link goes to part 2, but you can navigate to the other parts from there.

Dedicated article on SQL:2023

Recommended reading: SQL:2023 is finished: Here is what’s new


A new part was released in June 2019: 9075-15:2019 Multi-dimensional arrays (SQL/MDA).

Recommended documents:


What’s new in SQL:2016?

ISO released some highly relevant technical reports for free:

Also note that I’ve written about the following features: listagg.

Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2.

SQL:2016 validator:


Recommended articles (PDF):

Part 1 can be downloaded free of charge from ISO

ISO released a free technical report on “SQL Support for Time-Related Information” (covers temporal tables).

Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2 and Part 4.

Drafts of all parts are linked as “SQL:20nn Working Draft Documents” at


Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2.


Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2 (alternative source).


The full content of the book “SQL-99 Complete, Really” is available online and for free at the In total conflict to its title, the book only covers Core SQL:1999.

Online validator at

Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2 (alternative source).


A draft of the standard text is available at

Browsable BNF grammar of Part 2 (alternative source).


The standard is available as FIPS 127 at

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  1. I’m concluding that the 2017 paper is an earlier version of the ISO TR due to the striking similarity of the table of contents.

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