SQL is the standard language for relational database management systems, and, in the age of mass digitization, its intuitive capabilities in database manipulation have accelerated the programming language into ubiquity for database management processes worldwide. Today, SQL, which stands for Structured Query Language, is standardized by the ISO/IEC 9075 series of standards, which are developed by the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1 for Information Technology.
The “ANSI Standard” for SQL
SQL dates back to the 1970s, when it was first used exclusively by IBM. However, the language become viable after it was formally recognized and developed into the standard ANSI X3.135-1986. This is the first edition of what people have colloquially called the “ANSI standard” for SQL. However, the term ANSI standard is misleading, as ANSI does not develop standards, but instead accredits standard developing organizations (SDOs) in the United States, and it is the committees of these SDOs that develop standard documents. ANSI X3.135-1986 was developed by the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X3.
After the release of the SQL standard, ISO developed a technically identical standard within a few months. These two documents were developed in harmony for years. Today, the international ISO/IEC 9075 standard, which is split into 9 parts, is developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1.
ASC X3 has since become INCITS (the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards), an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization. While ISO/IEC JTC 1 develops the international standard for SQL, INCITS, which was responsible for the standard’s initial publication, adopts these international standards as American National Standards.
The American National Standard adoptions for SQL include:
If you’d like to learn more about the international SQL standard and how SQL came to be, please refer to our post on those subjects.