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Picking the SQL Database For You

A Comparison of SQL Database Flavors: How To Pick The Right SQL Database Flavor For You?

SQL, or Structured Query Language, is a database that has widespread uses with many flavors– which we will explore. As such, in our data-driven world, SQL is fast becoming an essential skill. Therefore, in this article, we will look at the most popular flavors of SQL databases individually and then compare the database flavors together. In addition, we’ll help you figure out the right choice for you; in case you want to learn more about some key basic fundamental query building structure– CRUD Operations.

sql database code
SQL code

Two Types: SQL vs NoSQL

There are two main types of databases: SQL and NoSQL. Before we begin, it’s important to know the differences between the two.

While SQL is a relational database that employs a table-based structure, NoSQL is a non-relational database that employs a variety of data models for accessing, retrieving and modifying database. Moreover, SQL has a predefined database schema, whereas NoSQL has a dynamically defined schema.

Additionally, the most popular flavors are mainly based on SQL rather than NoSQL— only MongoDB makes the cut in the top 5 databases in 2021—with other examples like Elastisearch, DynamoDB not used as often by developers. MongoDB is so popular because of the flexibility in offers in database design and the high performance it delivers.

The Most Popular SQL Database Flavors in 2021:

  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • SQLite
  • MongoDB

Moreover, the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2020 has placed MySQL as the most popular database:

sql database flavors popularity rankings 2021
Stack Overflow
FeaturesMySQLPostgreSQLMS SQLSQLite
SELECT QuerySELECT col1, col2…SELECT col1, col2…SELECT [col1], [col2]…SELECT col1,col2…
Case Sensitive DataNo; WHERE city = ‘London’ and WHERE city = ‘london’ are the sameYes. WHERE city = ‘London’ and WHERE city = ‘london are differentYes. WHERE city = ‘London’ and WHERE city = ‘london are differentYes. WHERE city = ‘London’ and WHERE city = ‘london are different
Natural JoinNoYesNoYes
ORDER ByAllows ORDER BY; NULLs are considered lower than non-NULL valuesAllows ORDER BY; NULLs are considered higher than non-NULL valuesAllows ORDER BY; NULLs are considered lower than non-NULL valuesAllows ORDER BY; NULLs are considered lower than non-NULL values
Inserting Multiple RowsYesYesYesYes
BOOLEAN Data TypeNo; uses TinyInt(1)YesNo; uses BIT(1)No; uses Int
Timestamp FunctionYesYesNoNo
Concatenationconcat(String 1, String 2)String 1 || String 2String 1 + String 2String 1 || String 2
List of DatabasesSHOW DATABASESSELECT datnameFROM pg_catalog.pg_databaseEXEC SP_HELPDB.databases
Dummy TablesNoNoNoNo
Window FunctionsYesYesYesNo; subqueries used.
Key features and syntax comparison of SQL databases


MySQL was created in 1995 to build on the original SQL, as an open source relational database management system (RDBMS). In addition, its queries are run on the MySQL Command Line Interface (CLI) or on MySQL Workbench.

Key Features & Advantages of MySQL:

In addition, MySQL has gained immense popularity for its efficacy, ease of use, performance and powerful execution and database performance:

  • Extremely fast for read-heavy workload
  • Capable of replication
  • Cloud-scalable database

Subsequently, let’s look at some advantages below:

  • Easy to use
  • Low memory leakage; memory efficient
  • Runs on all OS: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.
  • High performance

Disadvantages of MySQL:

MySQL is one of the most used databases around the world. Still, it has some disadvantages you want to keep in mind. Let’s look at some below:

  • It does not handle transaction statements effectively
  • Lack of debugger tools


postgresql release years
Photo by Alibaba-cloud

PostgreSQL, or commonly known as Postgres, is also an open source object-based relational database management system (RDBMS) initially released in 1996. Moreover, its queries are natively run on pgAdmin, its client. In addition, PostgreSQL is a great database language for beginners because of its broad applicability.

Key Features & Advantages of PostgreSQL:

PostgreSQL focuses on SQL compliance; in other words, it is growing into one of the most popular flavor of SQL in recent years:

  • Client-server model architecture
  • Offers geo-location queries
  • Data integrity
  • Support for JSON data types

After that, let’s take a look at some advantages now:

  • Larger data storage for databases
  • Multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) without read locks
  • Creates views that are updatable
  • Creation of user-defined functions, triggers, data types, etc.
  • Runs on all operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux, etc.
  • Robust and powerful
  • Huge community support
  • Compatible with many programming languages like C, Python, etc.

Disadvantages of PostgreSQL:

Despite all these advantages and features, Postgres, like any other language, also has its own disadvantages. Therefore, let’s take a look at some below:

  • PostgreSQL struggles in performance factors
  • It is responsible for more memory utilization of computer
  • Data replication is hard

Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server, or MS SQL, is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft in May 1989. Similarly, its queries are natively run on SQL Service Management System (SSMS). In addition, SQL Server is an important part of the Microsoft Data and Business Intelligence platforms.

Key Features & Advantages of MS SQL:

MS SQL is a language that’s growing in userbase with its widespread use. MS SQL is used by companies like Dell, Yahoo, etc. Therefore, let’s look at some key features:

  • Data compression
  • MS SQL is highly secure
  • Its installation process is streamlined
  • It offers different versions to suit personalized needs

Consequently, MS SQL is one of the most popular database languages today, so it makes sense to see some of its key advantages:

  • Free for developers
  • Useful online documentation
  • Debugging tools on SMSS
  • Great community support
  • Highly secure
  • Easy installation with automatic upgrades
  • Easy maintenance

Disadvantages of MS SQL:

In the end, there is no database language that is perfect. Therefore, let’s explore some disadvantages of MS SQL. In other words, like any other database, MS SQL also has negative factors that may affect your choice:

  • Performance tuning is hard
  • There can be a bit of learning curve
  • May be overwhelmed with the huge number of features offered alongside


SQLite is a RDBMS built in C library with its primary use being in mobile applications. Unlike other databases. it is not based on client-server architecture, but rather makes use of the embedded architecture.

Key Features & Advantages of SQLite:

SQLite is gaining popularity for its features, customer service and quality. Let’s see its key features in the list below:

  • Configuration doesn’t exist– no installation required
  • Has an easy to use API

SQLite has a lot of advantages that we will look at now. Let’s see what these benefits are below:

  • Runs on multiple OS: Windows, Linux, Mac OS etc.
  • Installation not required
  • Server-less database
  • Flexible and fast database
  • Uses less amount of memory on runtime

Disadvantages of SQLite:

In the end, SQLite has the following disadvantages that we will look at now:

  • Performance compromised because of file system configuration
  • Write operations are recorded
  • Database file size is smaller (15MB)


MongoDB is a document-based database, unlike all the others on this list. As a result, it uses JSON-documents for storing data instead of tables. In addition, you can start writing query from its official editor available at this link.

Key Features & Advantages of MongoDB:

MongoDB is the most popular non-relational database because of these features:

  • Data stored in JSON-documents
  • Indexing used for traversal
  • Horizontally scalable database

In addition, the following are its advantages:

  • Flexible database schema, dynamically defined
  • High speed of access time
  • Easy to setup environment

Disadvantages of MongoDB:

After that, let’s look at some disadvantages:

  • JOINS not allowed
  • Data size is limited in MongoDB

The Right SQL Database Flavor For You Is…

sql database graph question ranknig
A graph from Datacamp

In fairness, it’s difficult to choose one database generically, since each database serves a goal or purpose.

SELECT e.emp_name, AVG(s. salary) AS average_salary
FROM employees AS e
LEFT JOIN salary AS s
ON e.emp_id = s.empid
GROUP BY e.emp_name
ORDER BY s.salary;

For instance, this code example above shows that the syntax is actually quite similar. However, it can be seen because the query output is same for MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite, there is not much syntactical differences.

However, Microsoft SQL Server is the one that consists of the most differences between all of them.

In other words, the right database for me may not necessarily fit or be the right one for you. As a result, each database is optimized for a specific purpose or need. Therefore, how do you know which database fits for you?

Above all, which database can you learn or base your backend in?
Then, let’s explore some key factors in helping you determine the right SQL database flavor for your needs.

Speed Of Databases:

  • MySQL is fast for concurrent activities
  • PostgreSQL is quite fast
  • Microsoft SQL Server is slower
  • SQLite is fast but not the fastest as compared to others
  • MongoDB is extremely fast for data retrieval since it uses indices to traverse

Performance Of Databases:

  • MySQL has limited performance optimization
  • PostgreSQL is responsible for high performance database
  • Microsoft SQL Server offers high performance and data compression
  • SQLite runs smoothly
  • MongoDB has a great performance because it relies on jsons

Database Sizes Of Databases:

  • MySQL supports limited size database in some scenarios.
  • PostgreSQL supports large database
  • Microsoft SQL Server supports large databases
  • SQLite supports big databases, but with limited file size
  • MongoDB supports large databases

Eventually, you need to ask yourself what factors matter most in your needs before you can aptly choose.

Which Database Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for a fast, high performance database that will be easy to use, MySQL may be the right choice. But, if you’re working on a much larger database or complex queries— PostgreSQL may be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you are working with highly sensitive data, then the security, integrity and sturdiness of Microsoft SQL Server may be the perfect choice for your needs. Similarly, if you want fast, portable, and reliable database that runs on multiple operating systems, SQLite may be great.

Furthermore, if your business and data requirements are evolving over time and you need to scale accordingly, the document-based database, MongoDB could be a wonderful selection.

Conclusion to Comparison of SQL Flavors:

SQL consists of multiple flavors of databases used around the world with varying popularity. In addition, these flavors of databases carry plenty of similar traits and syntactically are akin.

Similarly, we proceeded to look at the top 5 databases in the world today individually and then compared the results together; it’s hard to pick one generically since each database serves a goal or purpose.

In conclusion, I hope you will find this post useful. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, like the post if you learned something new here. Subscribe to our blog. Stay updated on all related content. Lastly, let us know your thoughts about this post in the comments. Thanks for reading. Stay safe and stay healthy.

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CRUD Operations: Understanding The Role in MySQL

SQL RDBMS are widely popular for usage in web apps for its database. It is open source and relies on tables to store data.
MySQL and CRUD operations

SQL, Standard Query Language, is a language used to query relational databases efficiently and manage data in an effective manner. CRUD operations form the backbone or core of MySQL.

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that is open source and quite popular around the world because it is fast, reliable, flexible, quick processing, and has great community support backing it.

MySQL is used for a wide range of purposes, including data warehousing, e-commerce, and logging applications. The most common use for MySQL, however, is in web databases, or WordPress (wp) to be more precise.. 

In addition, we have recently posted an article on MySQL Master-Slave Server Replication, so don’t forget to read it if you like and follow this one. Since we know some of the major benefits and uses for context, let’s move on. Today, we’ll look at the CRUD operations in MySQL

What are CRUD Operations in MySQL?

CRUD stands for Create, Read, Update, Delete; in other words, CRUD operations refer to the most important operations in MySQL– basic data manipulation in the database. We implement these foundational queries to work with data from the database. In this article, we’ll look at the procedure to writing CRUD queries in MySQL with an IDE called POPSQL (pronounced pop-sicle). We consider CRUD queries a form of the DML (Data Manipulation Language), when working with MySQL.

Setting up the MySQL Workspace with PopSQL

First of all, let’s decide on the workspace editor/ide. There are a plethora of options available like MySQL Workbench, DataGrip, VS Code etc, but I have chosen the ide that I love for this post. Therefore, to get started with the workspace, head to the PopSQL website and download the ide. However, you can use any editor/ide you wish because the queries itself won’t change.

Before moving on, I’d like to let you know why we chose this particular ide for this blog. In other words, I want to share a few benefits of PopSQL: it is not only fast and efficient, but also extremely powerful with a beginner friendly UI.

We’ll have to establish connection with localhost and use a database to start working.

creating a database in mysql and establishing connection on popsql

What is the Create Operation in MySQL and What is its Role?

The Create operation is responsible for creating data objects in SQL like databases, tables, views etc. In addition, it allows the RDBMS to store data by providing the containers– tables. Similarly, this data can later be accessed by a different operation. Create command itself is only responsible for creating objects like tables and the columns under which you may later enter data to your pleasing.

Understanding the CREATE Operation and its Syntax

Here’s the syntax.

CREATE DATABASE database_name;

CREATE TABLE table_name (column_name data_type constraint(s));

first_name varchar(50),
last_name varchar(50) NOT NULL

Let me try and break down this syntax in a way that will be easier to digest for you, the beginners. The key things to notice here… the casing of the words, the text outside the bracket, the text inside the bracket and a semi colon at the end.

The only thing you need to understand about the case-sensitivity of SQL or MySQL is that it doesn’t care what case you use like C or Java or other programming languages. However, it is tradition to write SQL keywords like the one we are studying– CREATE- in caps to differentiate the keywords and the table and column names at a glance, to make the code more readable.

The second thing to takeaway is the word table_name. For instance, when we write CREATE TABLE, it makes sense to provide an appropriate name for the new table for the database storage.

After this, we open parentheses and start defining the columns in our new table. Similarly, there is a proper format/syntax for the column definition as well — column_name column_datatype constrains. In addition, we write down a name for the column, its datatype (date, char, varchar, number, int etc) and the character limit. After that, you write down any constraints you may want to implement on your column(s).For instance, if you want your salaries to be higher than the minimum wage or if you want your column to not accept blank or NULL values.

Here is how to create a database:

create database

Here is how to write the query to create a table in MySQL.

create table query in mysql to understand crud and its role

What is the READ Operation and What Does It Do?

The Read operation is perhaps the most used one for database retrieval purposes. It primarily makes use of the SELECT keyword. Read retrieves data contents from the database objects, like tables. Read command only affects data in the output; it doesn’t change the data in the database itself.

What is the SELECT keyword?

Select is a keyword in MySQL that retrieves the list of columns from a table in the database. It has six clauses:

  • select: specify the column name(s)
  • from: specify the table name(s)
  • where: specify the condition to apply on individual records
  • group by: specify the column name(s) to group query results
  • having: specify the condition on the grouped records
  • order by: specify the column name(s) to sort query results


SELECT col_name FROM table_name WHERE (condition) GROUP BY col_name HAVING (condition2 - only on x columns) ORDER BY col_name ASC/DESC
insert data into mysql table to be able to retrieve it for select statements. We retrieve data using select queries in mysql

The Update Statement

Update is a SQL keyword that modifies the data of one or more rows in a table. In addition, it modifies the data in a table or the structure of the table(ALTER keyword). Let’s look at two keywords involved with Update:

  • UPDATE: modifies the data contents in database objects, like tables.
  • ALTER: modifies the object structure. For instance, if you wish to add a new column to an existing table later on… Alter allows you to make that change. In addition, it is especially effective when you start working on a database that pre-exists and you need to make some changes.

However, we’ll mainly focus on the Update keyword today.


UPDATE table_name
SET column1 = value1, column2 = value2
WHERE condition;

ALTER table_name
ADD COLUMN column_name data_type;
update keyword of mysql crud operations to modify data and structure of tables

The DELETE statement

The Delete operation in MySQL removes content from a database objects, like tables or views. It deletes the data in one row or the whole table if a condition is not specified. It employs two relevant keywords:

  • DELETE: used for the contents of the table i.e. to remove the data existing.
  • DROP: used for the structure of objects like tables i.e. to drop a table means to delete it from the database, including all its contents.

The main difference also arises in memory storages, whereby delete only removes the content of a table, drop completely erases the table from the database, leading to memory optimization.


DELETE FROM table_name;

DELETE col_name FROM table_name;

DROP table_name;
delete keyword in mysql a part of crud operation to remove content of tables
delete keyword demonstration that deletes all of the contents in the table

Conclusion to Understanding CRUD operations in MySQL:

Maintaining a sound understanding of CRUD operations in MySQL, or SQL itself, is one of the most important things you can do as a beginner because this proves fruitful down the road… when you have this major concept stored in the back of your heads, you will not be confused writing these fundamental queries.

The best way to use CRUD operations in MySQL is with stored procedures, which are automated processes. This allows us to increase the efficiency and lower the time spent writing the same queries repeatedly.

In conclusion, I hope you find this post useful. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and like the post if you learned something new. Subscribe to our blog to stay updated on all things related.

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