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Really? Still Fighting About SQL vs. NoSQL?

I was quite surprised to see a recent Slashdot post titled "SQL vs. NoSQL: Which is Better?" My first thought was: "Really? Hasn't this already been settled?" The politically correct answer to the question, of course, goes along the lines of: "Neither is better. They are separate tools. As with all tools, each addresses specific problems and should be used by programmers according to their needs ...." And so on.

I haven't combed through the 300-plus comments on the post yet, but I'm willing to bet a bunch of them pretty much say the same thing.

The post references an extensive Slashdot article by experienced programmer Jeff Cogswell, who writes: "Tech pros debate the merits of SQL vs. NoSQL. It's a fight worth examining on the programming level."

So this gets down to the nuts-and-bolts of the programming aspect, kind of a different take. He discusses using the two in Node.JS, in C# and much more. He likes MongoDB, but concludes basically with my politically correct (and I thought, by now, universally accepted) answer above, which I wrote before reading his article. He writes:

So I use both. For some projects, I use Oracle, MySQL, or SQL Server (yes, I've used all three on different projects) for clients who have large amounts of data that fit well into a tabular structure, and who will be doing queries that pull back thousands of records per query. (Think financial applications.) For software that's more oriented towards pulling individual objects (such as an online organizer tool, or an online content management system that I'm presently working on), I opt for something like MongoDB.

Now I look at the post comments and the very first one reads: "SQL and NoSQL are different, with different use cases."

Well, duh!

So why are we still debating this issue? Please take a look at the post and Cogswell's article and share what you think. Does focusing on the coding add anything to the debate? Comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 08/07/2012 at 12:52 PM


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Reader Comments:

Mon, Jan 14, 2013 Ed UOB

"NoSQL is a specialised subset of SQL, with an additional query language." No it's not, as this post and the article it refers to note, NoSQL is a different tool altogether, with different goals that solve different problems. Their overlap is that they both store data. So does a filing cabinet but it's not a subset of SQL...

Mon, Dec 3, 2012 christi parks

Hello, i would like to ask that what is the benefits of sql training, what all topics should be covered and it is kinda bothering me … and has anyone studies from this course http://www.wiziq.com/course/125-comprehensive-introduction-to-sql of SQL tutorial online?? or tell me any other guidance... would really appreciate help… and Also i would like to thank for all the information you are providing on sql training.

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 Tom sitting in a chair

Not having spent any time at all with NoSQL (just no opportunity or spare time), I do wonder about one thing. When first developed by Codd, one of the goals (and features) of SQL was that the results were mathematically provable to be correct. Is this feature also avialble in NoSQL?

Tue, Aug 14, 2012

It's still being debated because there are still people out there with NoSQL hammers and think that all data problems look like nails.

Tue, Aug 7, 2012

NoSQL is a specialised subset of SQL, with an additional query language.

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