Today I want to react to an article that claims that Relational Algebra Is the Root of SQL Problems in which the author hand-waves the following position:
SQL becomes more a hindrance to data manipulation than an efficient tool. SQL’s greatest problem isn’t in the implementation level, but at its theory foundation. The problem can’t be solved by application optimization. Relational algebra isn’t sophisticated enough for handling the complicated data manipulation scenarios.
Then they go on to several arguments from authority to “prove” their point. My reading of the article is that SQL is very hard when you didn’t care to learn it, as most technologies are.
In this article, we’re going to look at the simple examples provided where apparently SQL makes it so much harder to find a solution compared to writing some Java or C++ code. Contrary to the original article, we go as far as to actually writing both the SQL solution and a complete Python solution, so that we can compare.