SQL As Understood By SQLite


sql-statement ::= ALTER TABLE [database-name .] table-name alteration
alteration ::= RENAME TO new-table-name
alteration ::= ADD [COLUMN] column-def

SQLite's version of the ALTER TABLE command allows the user to rename or add a new column to an existing table. It is not possible to remove a column from a table.

The RENAME TO syntax is used to rename the table identified by [database-name.]table-name to new-table-name. This command cannot be used to move a table between attached databases, only to rename a table within the same database.

If the table being renamed has triggers or indices, then these remain attached to the table after it has been renamed. However, if there are any view definitions, or statements executed by triggers that refer to the table being renamed, these are not automatically modified to use the new table name. If this is required, the triggers or view definitions must be dropped and recreated to use the new table name by hand.

The ADD [COLUMN] syntax is used to add a new column to an existing table. The new column is always appended to the end of the list of existing columns. Column-def may take any of the forms permissable in a CREATE TABLE statement, with the following restrictions:

The execution time of the ALTER TABLE command is independent of the amount of data in the table. The ALTER TABLE command runs as quickly on a table with 10 million rows as it does on a table with 1 row.

After ADD COLUMN has been run on a database, that database will not be readable by SQLite version 3.1.3 and earlier until the database is VACUUMed.