Writing a Python SQL engine from scratch

Oct 20, 2023


When I first started writing SQLGlot in early 2021, my goal was just to translate SQL queries from SparkSQL to Presto and vice versa. However, over the last year and a half, I've ended up with a full-fledged SQL engine. SQLGlot can now parse and transpile between 18 SQL dialects and can execute all 24 TPC-H SQL queries. The parser and engine are all written from scratch using Python.

This post will cover why I went through the effort of creating a Python SQL engine and how a simple query goes from a string to actually transforming data. The following steps are briefly summarized:


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