Press Release

Couchbase Announces First Commercial Implementation of SQL++ with N1QL for Analytics

Multi-year collaboration with Couchbase and UC San Diego, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside brings declarative language to the world of NoSQL

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Couchbase Connect SV, September 19, 2018– Couchbase, Inc., creator of the world’s first Engagement Database, today announced another first with the launch of N1QL for Analytics, the industry’s first commercial query language implementation compatible with the SQL++ language framework. SQL++ specifies how to create principled, next generation query languages that bring together the full power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON, helping advance the adoption of document-oriented data and the JSON data format. The development of the SQL++ framework began nearly a decade ago as UC San Diego’s NSF-funded FORWARD project with subsequent contributions and funding from Couchbase and Informatica, and support from UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

As the first commercial implementation of the SQL++ framework, Couchbase N1QL for Analytics serves as the query language for the new Analytics Service that was also announced today as part of the latest release of the Couchbase Data Platform. As a language deriving from SQL++, Couchbase N1QL for Analytics is easy to learn, especially for developers who are familiar with the syntax of SQL due to the similarities. With developers not having to “learn from scratch,” adoption of semi-structured and NoSQL databases by enterprises with existing investments in relational systems becomes a much simpler process.

The road to SQL++ began nearly a decade ago when the limitations of SQL, the most common database query language, were realized, as SQL does not provide a complete and efficient solution for querying JSON or semi-structured data in JSON form. Semi-structured data accounts for 85% of all business data and will continue to grow as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) gain momentum.

To address this gap, Couchbase developed N1QL to provide a comprehensive query language that combines the query power of SQL with the flexibility of JSON data, while independently, UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering Professor, Yannis Papakonstantinou, and his team developed SQL++, a formally-defined, declarative language framework for semi-structured data, specifying a range of possibilities for future languages. Also contributing to the advancement of SQL++ was the NSF-funded AsterixDB project with contributions from UC Irvine and UC Riverside, led by UCI professor Mike Carey. AsterixDB initially had its own query language, AQL, but has now embraced SQL++.

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To learn more about SQL++, download the latest book by Don Chamberlin, one of the principal designers of the original SQL language specification, titled, SQL++ for SQL Users: A Tutorial. Attendees of Couchbase Connect SV this week will receive a complimentary copy for Chamberlin to sign during the closing reception.

“With the SQL++ framework you can make a declarative query language that queries semistructured data, like JSON, while drawing on SQL. Couchbase N1QL for Analytics aligns with the SQL++ framework and the requirements of querying semi-structured data. It is a query language for the new era of big data, because it operates on semi-structured data but is fully declarative, as SQL is, giving you the best of both worlds.”
–Yannis Papakonstantinou, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, UC San Diego

“It’s been very exciting to be part of the community that has been driving the future language of the NoSQL world, and it’s equally exciting to see the fruits of those efforts – especially with the first commercial implementation of SQL++ being derived from the Apache AsterixDB query engine. Since the turn of the millennium, enterprises have been asking for declarative queries on semi-structured data. And today, it’s here.”
–Mike Carey, Bren Professor, UC Irvine

“We started the journey to develop a SQL for JSON some four years ago. Our mission was to not develop yet another query language, but preserve and advance one of the most important contributions of the relational systems: SQL for flexible data model in JSON. We called it N1QL, which is short for non-1st normal form query language – essentially for JSON. Hundreds of enterprises have developed mission critical apps using N1QL and got the attention of like minded academics and database experts. With the launch of N1QL for Analytics, we have advanced and refined N1QL to be the first commercially available implementation of SQL++.”
–Ravi Mayuram, SVP of Engineering and CTO, Couchbase

About Couchbase

At Couchbase, we believe data is at the heart of the enterprise. We empower developers and architects to build, deploy, and run their most mission-critical applications. Couchbase delivers a high-performance, flexible, and scalable modern database that runs across the data center and any cloud. Many of the world’s largest enterprises rely on Couchbase to power the core applications their businesses depend on. For more information, visit

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