SQLite vs SQL

SQLite is a software library that provides a relational database management system (RDBMS). It is a C library that implements a lightweight, disk-based database that doesn’t require a separate server process, allowing for a simple and self-contained database engine.

SQL (Structured Query Language), on the other hand, is a standard language for managing and manipulating relational databases. It is used to perform various operations such as querying data, updating data, and managing database structures.

While SQLite uses SQL as its primary language for interacting with the database, there are some specific syntax considerations and features that differentiate SQLite’s implementation from other relational database systems. Here are some key points to consider when comparing SQLite language syntax to general SQL syntax:

Data Types

SQLite has a less strict approach to data types. In SQLite, data types are associated with values, not columns. This means that a column can store values of any data type, and the data type of a value is associated with that specific value.
SQLite supports dynamic typing, allowing you to store any type of data in any column. For example, you can store an integer in a column defined as TEXT.

Table Creation

In SQLite, the AUTOINCREMENT keyword is used for an auto-incrementing primary key, but it is often optional. SQLite allows the use of INTEGER as a primary key with the AUTOINCREMENT property implicitly.
Some database systems use sequences or other mechanisms for auto-incrementing columns, but SQLite simplifies this process. In SQL Server database, the IDENTITY keyword is used for the same purpose.

Data Integrity

Both SQLite and SQL enforce data integrity through the implementation of constraints such as primary keys, foreign keys, unique constraints, and check constraints. These constraints help maintain the accuracy and consistency of the data within the database.


SQLite uses a lightweight transaction mechanism, supporting transactions with the BEGIN TRANSACTION, COMMIT, and ROLLBACK statements.
Unlike some other database systems, SQLite does not support nested transactions. Transactions are either committed or rolled back as a whole.


Both SQLite and SQL provide indexing mechanisms to optimize query performance. Indexes allow for faster data retrieval by creating a data structure that facilitates quick access to specific rows in a table.


SQLite follows a file-based locking mechanism, allowing multiple processes to read from the database simultaneously but restricting write access to a single process at a time.
Other relational database systems might use more sophisticated concurrency control mechanisms, such as multi-version concurrency control (MVCC).


SQLite and SQL support the principles of database normalization, which is the process of organizing data to reduce redundancy and dependency. This helps maintain data consistency and integrity by eliminating data anomalies.

Date and Time Functions

SQLite provides a set of date and time functions that might have subtle differences or variations compared to other database systems.
The specific functions available and their behavior might differ slightly from the standard SQL.


SQLite uses the LIMIT and OFFSET clauses for pagination, but the syntax might vary compared to other databases. For example, in SQLite, the LIMIT clause comes after the OFFSET clause.

Syntax for NULL Handling

SQLite uses the IS NULL or IS NOT NULL syntax for handling NULL values, similar to standard SQL.

It’s important to note that while SQLite might have some syntax variations, it generally adheres to standard SQL conventions. Developers familiar with SQL(SQL tutorial) can easily adapt to using SQLite, and the differences are often subtle and related to SQLite’s focus on simplicity and lightweight design.