query languages

« Back to Glossary Index

What are query languages?

Query languages are programming languages for searching a database or dataset, changing its contents, or retrieving information. ANSI SQL is the best known and most widely used query language, but the Big Data revolution introduced many more specialized query languages – especially for NoSQL databases. While early query languages required database expertise to use, the interfaces have evolved and made it possible for anyone to access database information.

The main types of query modes are the menu (choose from a prescribed list), the fill-in-the-blank technique (use keywords in the search feature) and the structured query. The structured query is often used with relational databases and has a formal syntax that is considered a programming language.

Another of the query languages is natural language, which is seen as the most flexible and is allowed in some commercial database management software. This natural query language looks for action words and synonyms, and identifies the names of file, records and fields.