Difference Between MySQL And SQL (With Definitions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 17 December 2022

Published 13 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most businesses across different industry sectors use databases for storing, organising, accessing and protecting their data. If you want a technology job involving databases, it is essential to know about MySQL and SQL. By understanding how they are different and how they complement each other, you can successfully use them in various applications and computing platforms. In this article, we explain more about MySQL and SQL and the difference between MySQL and SQL, discuss whether MySQL or SQL is better and whether you should learn MySQL or SQL first and share the differences between MySQL, SQL and Oracle.

What Is The Difference Between MySQL And SQL?

MySQL derives from SQL, and they complement one another. The main MySQL and SQL differences are as follows:

  • MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS), while SQL is a query language.

  • MySQL is readily available for download and installation and requires an understanding of how databases work, while it is necessary to learn SQL to use it effectively.

  • MySQL uses SQL to query a database, while SQL can work with MySQL, IBM Db2, Amazon Aurora, PostgreSQL and other relational databases.

  • MySQL is useful for storing existing data in an organised way in a database, while SQL statements are useful for accessing, updating, deleting and manipulating the data in a database.

  • MySQL is open source and has community support, while SQL is not open source.

  • MySQL undergoes frequent changes and updates, while SQL's standardised syntax and formats rarely change.

  • MySQL can support multiple storage engines, while SQL can only support a single storage engine.

  • MySQL uses the integrated MySQL workbench tool to design and build databases, while SQL does not support any such common software.

  • MySQL allows the use of binaries during runtime to manipulate and modify database files, while SQL does not allow third-party applications and other external processes to manipulate data directly.

Related: What Are the Different Database Types?

What Is SQL?

SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a relational database language that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 1986 and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) in 1987 have confirmed to be the standard query language in the industry. Developed by Microsoft, it is similar to natural language and is easy to learn. SQL has broad uses. If you work with relational databases, you must know SQL for accessing, extracting, organising, updating, inserting, deleting and manipulating the data in them. SQL is compatible with MySQL, SQL Server, MS Access and many other databases.

A relational database system contains one or more tables with columns showing attributes and rows containing their data. You can store extensive amounts of data in these tables. You can write many combinations of SQL statements to access and manage data in databases and perform a range of tasks. The major SQL commands are SELECT, INSERT, DELETE, WHERE, CREATE TABLE, CREATE INDEX, ALTER TABLE, ALTER DATABASE, GRANT, REVOKE and UPDATE. They are not case sensitive but may require a semicolon at the end in some database systems. With SQL, you can do the following:

  • Create new databases

  • Migrate existing databases

  • Create new tables

  • Create stored procedures

  • Create views

  • Set user permissions

  • Write database applications

  • Write web applications

  • Manage database security

  • Share data with multiple users

  • Offer multiple views of the database

  • Support client-server architecture

  • Get answers to queries in seconds

  • Undertake data analysis

  • Offer IT support

  • Develop data-driven websites

Related: What Is SQL? Definition and Benefits

What Is MySQL?

Developed by Oracle, MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses SQL as its base and has multiple uses across various applications and computing platforms. A database is a tabular structure that can collect and store a vast amount of data. A relational database is a digital data storage facility that can collect, organise and store data in tabular rows and columns and which follows the logical structure of the relational model for maintaining the data element relationships.

MySQL uses storage engines like CSV, Merge, MyISAM, MEMORY, InnoDB, Federated and Archive for tables. Since MySQL is open source, you can install and use it for free and also modify it as you require. You can also get a commercial license for its premium support services. If you have any issues using it, you can ask the open-source MySQL community and get the needed support. MySQL is compatible with Windows, Linus, UNIX, Solaris, FreeBSD and other operating systems and platforms. With MySQL, you can do the following:

  • Store data in a database

  • Use SQL statements to access and manipulate the data

  • Provide security and ensure the integrity of the stored data

  • Integrate the relational databases with websites and computing platforms

  • Use the MySQL workbench tool to integrate with SQL

  • Create data models and databases with the MySQL workbench

  • Store and manipulate data with the MySQL workbench

  • Reverse and forward engineer databases with the MySQL workbench

  • Build and maintain web applications, B2B services and more.

Related: MySQL Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Is SQL Or MySQL Better?

There can be various either/or arguments in the debate of whether SQL or MySQL is better. Both have different uses, and they can complement one another. You can use one or both according to your database requirements for efficiency, speed, security and scalability. If you are looking for a flexible database with extensive applications, you may want to consider MySQL. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established SQL as the standard language for relational database management systems.

MySQL is cost-effective since it is open-source, and you can use it for free. Additionally, it is compatible with a wide range of client-server architectures and technologies and supports a wide range of programming interfaces and backends. You can use it with all the main computing platforms such as Windows, Mac OS and Linux. It can make use of third-party migration tools and established Oracle tools to move data to and from various on-premise and cloud-based storage systems easily. You can deploy it in centralised or distributed virtual environments or as portable standalone libraries.

Related: Important DBMS Interview Questions and Answers To Ace Your Meeting

Should I Learn SQL Or MySQL First?

It is essential to know the difference between SQL and MySQL to decide which you should learn first. As a structured query language, SQL is useful in programming to manage and process data stored in a relational database management system (RDBMS). MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS). So, MySQL is a system, and you need to know SQL to communicate with and navigate that system. By learning SQL first, you may find it easier to learn to use MySQL. Both SQL and MySQL comply with the ANSI/ISO standard.

You can also use SQL with other relational databases. Alongside the SQL standard, many of these databases use their proprietary extensions. Since the syntax is generally similar, apart from a few minor changes, you may find them easy to understand too. Learning SQL can give you many advantages. Here are some of them:

  • SQL is interactive and easy to understand, even if you are new to programming.

  • SQL is easier to learn than Java, C++, C and many other programming languages.

  • If you are a developer, using SQL is likely to be practical, convenient and fast.

  • SQL can assist with managing vast quantities of structured data.

  • Using simple SQL commands, you can query millions of data rows.

  • With a single SQL query, you can undertake a large number of transactions.

  • SQL makes the data retrieval process fast and efficient.

  • You can standardise the data in the databases.

  • You can insert, manipulate and delete data in seconds with SQL.

  • You can perform calculations and other Excel functions using SQL.

  • SQL's portability enables it to write programs for applications, operating systems and servers.

  • You can gather and combine data from numerous sources for data analysis.

  • You can create and manage servers using SQL.

  • You can use SQL for developing some Big Data systems.

  • Hive, Spark SQL and Impala tools translate SQL queries to Map Reduce code for the Big Data platform.

  • Since many businesses use Microsoft environments, knowing SQL is a sought-after skill across industries.

What Is The Difference Between SQL, MySQL And Oracle?

The differences between SQL, MySQL and Oracle are as follows:

  • Purpose: SQL is a structured query language, MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS), and Oracle is a close source relational database management system (RDBMS).

  • Implementation language: SQL uses C++, while MySQL and Oracle use C and C++.

  • License: a commercial license is necessary to use SQL and Oracle. It is not a requirement for using MySQL.

  • Developer: Microsoft developed SQL, while the Oracle Corporation developed MySQL and Oracle.

  • Release year: Microsoft released SQL in 1989, while the Oracle Corporation released MySQL in 1995 and Oracle in 1980.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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