SQL: Fields and columns, what's in a name?

Yet another awesome image from Rawpixel

Old PC style databases and tools (like Access and DBase) and most 4GL databases tended to use the words Record and Field to describe the layout of tables. Relational SQL databases use the terms Row and Column. I endlessly hear discussions about if there's a difference, and where that lies.

Some will argue, for example, that a field is a data value within a single record or row. That would make a field more like a cell in Excel, than a column in Excel.

My take on this is that if I hear someone use "Record" and "Field", I don't lose the plot and want to correct them. I know what they meant, and that's all that matters.

The one exception to this though, is in training.

If you are teaching people to use SQL, please don't use Record and Field and instead use Row and Column. Using standard terms when teaching is important.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.