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Data Manipulation Language

Definition of Data Manipulation Language

Data Manipulation Language (DML) is a subset of SQL (Structured Query Language) used for retrieving, inserting, modifying, and deleting data in databases. It enables users to manage and manipulate data in a relational database management system (RDBMS). The primary commands of DML include SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. These commands allow users to perform operations on data stored in tables and are crucial for maintaining and updating database contents.

Origin of Data Manipulation Language

The origin of Data Manipulation Language can be traced back to the 1970s with the development of SQL by IBM researchers. SQL was designed to interact with relational databases, which organize data into tables. As relational databases grew in popularity, the need for a standardized language to perform operations on these databases became evident. This led to the development of DML as a part of SQL, providing a standardized method for data manipulation across various database systems.

Practical Application of Data Manipulation Language

A practical application of DML is evident in e-commerce platforms. These platforms use DML to manage product inventories, customer information, and order histories in their databases. For instance, when a new product is added to the inventory, the INSERT command is used. The UPDATE command allows for price adjustments or stock updates, while the DELETE command is used to remove discontinued products. SELECT is used extensively to retrieve product information and generate reports, aiding in strategic decision-making.

Benefits of Data Manipulation Language

The benefits of using Data Manipulation Language are significant. It provides a straightforward and efficient way to manage database operations. DML's simplicity and effectiveness in handling complex data sets make it an essential tool for database administrators and developers. It enhances data integrity and consistency by providing controlled access and manipulation of data. Additionally, the standardized nature of DML allows for interoperability across different database systems, making it a versatile tool in the field of database management.


DML is a part of SQL focused specifically on data manipulation. SQL also includes Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Control Language (DCL), which are used for defining database structures and controlling access to data, respectively.

Yes, most database systems support transaction control, which allows DML operations to be rolled back (undone) in the event of an error or data inconsistency.

Virtually all relational database management systems (RDBMS) support DML as part of their SQL implementation, making it a universal language for data manipulation in relational databases.


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