SQL (also pronounced sequel, which stands for structured query language) is an industry-standard language for describing operations that you want a database server to execute. Upon receiving the SQL instructions, the database server performs the requested operations, and if those operations return a result set, that result set is returned to the client who issued the instructions.
This chapter is the first of three designed to introduce you to using SQL with ADS (Advantage Database Server). This chapter begins with a look at the basic grammar of Advantage SQL, including keywords, references, operators, literals, SQL scalar functions, and parameters. It also describes the use of three query-related utilities: the Advantage Query Builder, the Native SQL Utility, and the ODBC SQL Utility.
Chapter 10 introduces you to the basic classes of SQL statements, and shows you some of the more common SQL queries that you can use in your applications. Chapter 11 discusses how to obtain metadata using SQL queries, as well as how to control data dictionaries and their objects.
If you are a seasoned SQL developer, you will probably want to quickly scan this chapter to learn the specifics of Advantage SQL and see the available SQL utilities. You may then want to skip to Chapter 11.
If you are new to SQL programming, these chapters will get you started. Note, however, that these chapters merely provide an introduction. A thorough discussion of SQL would take several volumes. Consequently, if you want to get the most out of SQL, you may want to consider picking up a good book on SQL, such as SQL: The Complete Reference, Second Edition, by James R. Groff and Paul N. Weinberg (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2002).