Couchbase Announces New Query Language N1QL: SQL for JSON

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couchbaseCouchbase, Inc. is adding fuel to the NoSQL fire with its announcement of the beta for Couchbase Server 4.0 and the new query language N1QL: SQL for JSON. N1QL (pronounced Nickel) is the a comprehensive declarative query language that combines the power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON. This makes it faster and easier for developers to build enterprise web, mobile and IoT applications on top of the scalable NoSQL database: Couchbase Server.

With the introduction of N1QL, we are the first NoSQL vendor to offer a query language for NoSQL databases that is based on SQL,” said Bob Wiederhold, CEO Couchbase. “This makes it easy for enterprises to leverage their workforce knowledge and existing investments in the massive SQL eco-system, against the performance and scale of NoSQL. N1QL will accelerate adoption of NoSQL as the standard database for enterprise web, mobile and IoT applications.”

Why SQL for NoSQL?

SQL has been the database industry’s standard query language for more than 40 years; millions of developers around the world building scalable, enterprise applications today are using SQL either directly or indirectly through application development frameworks. By leveraging existing SQL constructs, N1QL will be familiar and easy for developers to adopt.

While SQL delivers strong query power, the rigid schema requirements of traditional databases have been a roadblock to releasing fast, scalable and responsive web and mobile applications. JSON data models remove these limitations, but until now, NoSQL databases have lacked a standard rich query language that is familiar and easy to use. N1QL changes all that by extending SQL – recognized by virtually every developer in the world, to JSON, the industry standard data model for web, mobile and IoT applications.

NoSQL systems have proven their value in the enterprise with ease of development, performance, and scalability, but developers still need a query language that lets them build applications that require complex queries on semi-structured data,” said University of California, San Diego computer science and engineering professor Yannis Papakonstantinou. “UCSD defined SQL++ to provide the industry with specifications for a SQL backwards-compatible declarative language that works on semi-structured data. N1QL is consistent with our specification – it gives developers a fully declarative and SQL-compatible query language to build applications that leverage the agility of JSON. We think N1QL will propel NoSQL adoption just as SQL originally propelled Relational Database Management System adoption.”

N1QL Improves Developer Agility

Developers need agility. They want to build rich applications that utilize a wide variety of data without the rigid limitations of relational databases, but they also want to query the data in ways that SQL has traditionally enabled.
N1QL gives developers access to the full power of SQL to query and transform semi-structured JSON data in anyway the application requires. This includes the ability to build a flexible JSON data model consisting of multiple documents that can be queried via JOINS, and can NEST or UNNEST documents to leverage the relationships among data. There’s no longer a need to create a single document to query JSON data.

Additionally, N1QL is accessible via a developer’s preferred development framework– whether that is Spring, LINQ, Ottoman or something else. Since the application processes query results directly as streams of JSON documents, there is no longer an impedance mismatch, and no need for a complex translation layer.
N1QL delivers all this and more.

N1QL Drives Couchbase Eco-System

N1QL will further accelerate adoption of NoSQL in the enterprise by making access to data stored in Couchbase Server easy and efficient. N1QL has full compatibility with the SQL ecosystem via connectors and standard JDBC / ODBC drivers. This allows enterprises for the first time ever to connect popular ETL, Reporting, and BI tools to Couchbase Server and in turn is building massive momentum in the Couchbase ISV eco-system as companies like Databricks, Looker, Simba Technologies, Informatica, Tableau and Metanautix partner with Couchbase to provide deeper, supported integrations.

N1QL brings the power of SQL to the document data model, which removes one of the biggest barriers to broader enterprise adoption of NoSQL. Until now, developers have had to make a choice when picking a database,” said Ravi Mayuram, SVP Products and Engineering, Couchbase. “They could leverage the power of standard SQL, but be constrained by a rigid relational model, or develop on a flexible JSON data model, but accept data modeling and query limitations. N1QL eliminates that compromise. With N1QL, Couchbase Server adds ease of application development to its proven scalability and performance leadership.”


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