Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I hate point-by-point rebuttals, but here goes mine anyway ;)

> 1. It's old. There have been many, many advancements in programming languages since its inception in the mid-80s, none of which have made it into the language itself.

It's even older than that (around 1979), but being old isn't an argument in itself.

> 2. objects/interfaces/functions/monads, Stored procedures

Not the job of a database

> 3. There's no vendor-agnostic way to write unit tests.

As compared to alternative NoSQL database code that isn't portable at all? Agree though that the testing culture in SQL land could be improved.

> 4. The code itself is ugly.

Entirely a subjective matter. Programming != poetry.

> 5. Over time SQL tends towards becoming unmaintainably complex

If queries are complex in a language that is already very compact compared to equivalent procedural code, then chances are they're complex because the business problem is irreducibly complex, and another langauge won't save you here.

> 6. There's no type checking.

Of course there is! You can't insert character data into number columns for example (SQLite handles this a bit different though), and will receive proper type-related error message on eg. date functions.

> 7. There's no standardized library sharing framework like RubyGems or Python's pip.

What exactly would a stdlib (of table definitions?) be useful for? The standard is the SQL language itself. Maybe the state of portable SQL scripting could be improved by eg. lifting the syntax of eg. Oracle SQLPlus, also implemented by DB/2 since a couple years, or another syntax into the ISO SQL standard.

> 8. IDE support is limited, and is mainly limited to basic code formatting.

Last I checked, IDE support for SQL was quite good on Eclipse, including autocompletion. When you assemble SQL from strings in your app, there's a limit to what an IDE can do.

> 9. Refactoring is dangerous

SQL/relational algebra has a very powerful construct known as "views" - a consistent relational interface for your apps to work against. Refactoring is as good or bad as you make it to be.

I think SQL works well for its problem domain and agree with everything you said.

> It's even older than that (around 1979), but being old isn't an argument in itself.

I wanted to add an additional comment on this point. What is it with old automatically equalling bad? I definitely appreciate where improvements can be made, but I think as an industry we incorrectly think there is something wrong with an old/mature technology. Throwing things away just because they are old hinders progress since we're constantly rewriting tested, working code. I'll get off my soapbox now.

> What is it with old automatically equalling bad?

That's not what was said. What was said that it's old and that it hasn't benefited from decades of research on languages and the way programmers are most productive.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact