Learning SQL to Get Started with FineReport Faster
1. What is SQL?SQL (Structured Query Language) is a domain-specific language used in programming and designed for managing data held in a relational database management system, or for stream processing in a relational data stream management system. It is particularly useful in handling structured data where there are relations between different entities/variables of the data. SQL was initially developed by IBM and Relational Software, Inc. (now Oracle) in the early 1970s. It became an ANSI standard in 1986 and an ISO standard in 1987. Now the SQL standard has evolved to include an increasing number of features. SQL is designed for a specific purpose: to query data contained in a relational database. First, it introduced the concept of accessing many records with one single command; and second, it eliminates the need to specify how to reach a record, e.g. with or without an index.
2. Why do you need to learn a little about SQL?FineReport connects data sources through various channels. It supports the mainstream relational databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, My SQL, DB2, Sybase, Access, Derby, Postgres, Informix, as well as SQL data sheets or views, or stored procedures, so if you want to do some underlying data processing, you need to know about the database knowledge SQL. SQL is a universal coding language which doesn’t require prior programming experience. But there’re so many resources available for beginners to learn SQL, where should we get started?
3. How to learn SQL by yourself?Here are a few steps you can take to start learning SQL by yourself.
1) Watch TutorialsFirst, we need to spend some time on looking what SQL is and understand how it works. Interactive online courses are a fast and cheap way to start SQL, and you don’t have to install anything on your local workstation. W3Schools, SQLZOO and Codecademy guide you through SQL syntax and basic SQL concepts. They also offer interactive tutorials that let you manage data and build queries to test your SQL knowledge. You may learn the basics of database fundamentals: tables, queries, aggregate functions, constructing advanced database queries and more.And we recommend that you focus on the most commonly used SQL commands to query a table in a database and using SQL to perform calculations during a query, in order to start learning FineReport as soon as possible. Here we introduce some SQL query syntax that will be commonly used in FineReport. The query is the most common operation in SQL. It makes use of the declarative SELECT statement. SELECT retrieves data from one or more tables, or expressions. SELECT is the most complex statement in SQL, with optional keywords and clauses that include:
- FROM: indicates the table(s) to retrieve data from.
- WHERE: includes a comparison predicate, which restricts the rows returned by the query.
- GROUP BY: projects rows having common values into a smaller set of rows.
- HAVING: includes a predicate used to filter rows resulting from the GROUP BY clause.
- ORDER BY: identifies which column[s] to use to sort the resulting data, and in which direction to sort them.
The following example of a SELECT query returns a list of expensive books. The query retrieves all rows from the Book table in which the price column contains a value greater than 100.00. And the result is sorted in ascending order by title.SELECT * FROM Book WHERE price > 100.00 ORDER BY title;
2) Install a SQL DatabaseLearning SQL online has the advantage of a quick head start. But next you need to install a database and create tables to write some SELECT queries. The installation and setup is definitely a tough part for beginners. Anyway, for further practice, you need to download and install a free copy of popular databases like SQL Server in your machine. Now let’s dig into what’s available to help us install a SQL database quickly. There are some step-by-step installation guides of MS SQL Server. How to install SQL Server 2017 and SQL Server Management Studio?
3) PracticeWhen you have successfully installed the database, you can continue your SQL journey. We will share some of the best Microsoft SQL Server learning resources for both beginners and intermediate developers.
- You don’t need to remember too much SQL syntax at first. For beginners, you can query the syntax in practice, and you will naturally master it later.
- Don’t spend too much time learning SQL before learning FineReport. Using FineReport doesn’t require us to be very proficient in SQL, we can just learn some query syntax.