SQL extensions

QuestDB attempts to implement standard ANSI SQL. We also try to be compatible with PostgreSQL, although parts of this are a work in progress. This page presents the main extensions we bring to SQL and the main differences that one might find in SQL but not in QuestDB's dialect.

SQL extensions#

We have extended SQL to support our data storage model and simplify semantics of time series analytics.


LATEST BY is a clause introduced to help find the latest entry by timestamp for a given key or combination of keys as part of a SELECT statement.

LATEST BY customer ID and currency
SELECT * FROM balances LATEST BY customer_id, currency
WHERE balance > 800;


SAMPLE BY is used for time-based aggregations with an efficient syntax. The short query below will return the simple average balance from a list of accounts by one month buckets.

SAMPLE BY one month buckets
SELECT avg(balance) FROM accounts SAMPLE BY 1M

Timestamp search#

Timestamp search can be performed with regular operators, e.g >, <= etc. However, QuestDB provides a native notation which is faster and less verbose.

Results in a given year
SELECT * FROM scores WHERE ts IN '2018';

Differences from standard SQL#

SELECT * FROM is optional#

In QuestDB, using SELECT * FROM is optional, so SELECT * FROM my_table; will return the same result as my_table;. While adding SELECT * FROM makes SQL look more complete, there are examples where omitting these keywords makes queries a lot easier to read.

Optional use of SELECT * FROM
-- equivalent to:
SELECT * FROM my_table;

GROUP BY is optional#

The GROUP BY clause is optional and can be omitted as the QuestDB optimizer derives group-by implementation from the SELECT clause. In standard SQL, users might write a query like the following:

SELECT a, b, c, d, sum(e) FROM tab GROUP BY a, b, c, d;

However, enumerating a subset of SELECT columns in the GROUP BY clause is redundant and therefore unnecessary. The same SQL in QuestDB SQL-dialect can be written as:

SELECT a, b, c, d, sum(e) FROM tab;

Implicit HAVING#

Let's look at another more complex example using HAVING in standard SQL:

SELECT a, b, c, d, sum(e)
FROM tab
GROUP BY a, b, c, d
HAVING sum(e) > 100;

In QuestDB's dialect, featherweight sub-queries come to the rescue to create a smaller, more readable query, without unnecessary repetitive aggregations. HAVING functionality can be obtained implicitly as follows:

(SELECT a, b, c, d, sum(e) s FROM tab) WHERE s > 100;