Tool Automatically Converts SQL Queries

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-04-01 Print this article Print

New tool from startup Vembu Technologies is designed to relieve DBAs of the need to port SQL queries.

Startup Vembu Technologies has unveiled an SQL conversion tool thats designed to parse any relational database dialect and automatically convert SQL queries into other SQL dialects. Vembu SwisSQL is an API designed to relieve DBAs (database administrators) of the need to port SQL queries. The idea is to write only one SQL query that can be converted to other database dialects in a heterogeneous database environment. Vembu CEO Sekar Vembu said that the tool is aimed at mitigating portability problems that arise from the fact that relational databases dont completely follow the standard-language SQL—i.e., ANS-89, ANSI-92 and the latest ANSI-99—for querying and updating data.
"Most of them only implement an entry-level ANSI standard," Vembu said. "They all support similar features, but the SQL syntax is often proprietary and does not conform to the ANSI standard. So you have different SQL dialects: Oracle [Corp.] dialect, [Microsoft Corp.] SQL Server dialect, [IBM] DB2 dialect, etc., etc."
These variations plague DBAs, according to Joe Celko, vice president of RDBMS at North Face Learning, a Salt Lake City IT training firm, and the author of various books on database technology. "One of the major problems in SQL is the dialects of the language," he said in a statement. "Even if you attempt to write pure, standard SQL-92, you cannot escape rewriting code from one product to another. They disagree about data types, rounding and truncation, vendor-defined functions, and even their temporal data model. Even worse, sometimes they are just close enough that you cannot see the difference. What looks like the same syntax has different semantics." SwisSQL is offered as an API with a JDBC wrapper interface for J2EE application developers or as a GUI console for DBAs and developers to manually convert SQL from one dialect to another. SwisSQL 1.0 supports Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL and ANSI-SQL databases. Future releases will support Sybase Inc. and SAP databases. Vembu, of Chennai, India, is offering a 30-day free evaluation of SwisSQL, which can be downloaded here. The company is also offering free technical support during the evaluation period. Pricing for a single-developer license for the SwisSQL API is $495. The SwisSQL console GUI costs $145 per user. Latest Stories by Lisa Vaas:
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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