© 2010 Ugur Akinci
SQL stands for “Structured Query Language” and is pronounced either as “S-Q-L” or “sequel”. It is the most wide-spread language used around the world today for interacting with relational databases.
If you already know or planning to learn SQL you have a great advantage over those technical communicators who don’t since SQL is the primary source of filtering out and retrieving data from a relational database.
And why is that important? All database publishing projects rely in one form or another on database manipulation and SQL is ideal for such a task.
The reason you should consider database publishing is the enormous need to publish catalogs and directories.
Governments, retail companies, hospitals, doctors, financial institutions, transportation companies, utility companies, and hundreds of other parties do regularly publish catalogs and directories.
Back in the old days, such publications were published by laying out one page at a time. When you needed to change (let’s say) the image of Item 4456 on page 768 you manually redesigned that page by inserting the new image (or text) and prayed hard that the change did not have an impact on all the other pages and pagination. The truth is, such “small” changes more often than not meant re-doing the whole publication.
With “database publishing”, however, all you need to do is make the change in the database and then recompile the whole book. In one second you’ll have a new catalog or directory, complete with correct page numbers, TOC, Index, etc. Everything would update automatically.
The way you filter out the correct data record (corresponding to the components of a page) is through SQL. If you’re considering to make database publishing or “single sourcing” your next career move, you owe it to yourself to at least get familiar with some of the basic commands of SQL.
Here is a great source where you can begin learning SQL for free: