The SQL Standard is SQL:2016

Now the words “SQL Standard” mean ISO/IEC 9075 Information technology — Database languages — SQL … 2016″ or more briefly SQL:2016. I am no longer a member of the committee, I don’t have the latest copy, but I believe these are the notable changes.

The LIST_AGG function

The example I’ve seen (credit to Markus Winand) is


and the result is supposed to be: take each “val” value and concatenate it with the previous one, separating by “,” as specified.
Notice a similarity to GROUP_CONCAT() in MySQL/MariaDB

GROUP_CONCAT([DISTINCT] expr [,expr ...]
             [ORDER BY {unsigned_integer | col_name | expr}
                 [ASC | DESC] [,col_name ...]]
             [SEPARATOR str_val])

So I think we can say this is functionally equivalent to SQL:2016, it would just have to be tweaked a bit to be exactly equivalent.

Polymorphic Table Functions

You’ve probably heard of “flexible schemas” as opposed to “fixed schemas”. To me it means the name and the data type can accompany the data instead of being fixed by the CREATE TABLE statement. You still need to figure out the metadata when you retrieve, though, so a Polymorphic Table Function (PTF) is one way of doing so. The functions have to be user-defined. I’m not in love with PTFs, but I keep putting off my description of a better idea.


I talked about JSON with respect to MySQL in a previous post.

The news I have seen subsequently is that MariaDB 10.2 has some JSON functions but I can’t say yet whether they’re better than MySQL’s implementation.

Meanwhile Oleg Bartunov is working on a JSON change for PostgreSQL,
and explicitly referencing SQL:2016.

Advantage PostgreSQL.

Row Pattern Matching

I think the main thing here is that the Oracle-like MATCH_RECOGNIZE is coming in. It’s vaguely related to the windowing functions, and MariaDB is way ahead of MySQL with respect to windowing functions, so if this feature ever appears I’d expect it to appear first in MariaDB.

Temporal Tables

Actually the big temporal things were introduced in SQL:2011, but clarifications came subsequently, so I could count this as a “post-2011 standard feature”. In this respect I see that MariaDB intends to add AS OF / temporal tables” based apparently on the work of Alexander Krizhanovsky, and Mr Krizhanovsky has talked about those clarifications — so I think we can hope for system versioning or something like it soon.

, April 27, 2017. Category: Standard SQL.

About pgulutzan

Co-author of four computer books. Software Architect at MySQL/Sun/Oracle from 2003-2011, and at HP for a little while after that. Currently with Ocelot Computer Services Inc. in Edmonton Canada.