Difference Between SQL and HQL

Processing data turns it into information which then is of significant use. Related data is organized into databases (both hardware and software) for easy management. DBMS(Database Management System) is a software that allows the user to create and manipulate databases.


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The difference between SQL and HQL is that SQL directly works on databases through queries whereas HQL operates on objects and their properties which is then translated into conventional queries to run databases.


To request and extract data from a database by sending queries, we use QL (Query Language). SQL (Structured Query Language) and HQL (Hibernate Query Language) are used to retrieve data from RDBMS (Relational DBMS) that stores data in tabular form.

In our day-to-day life query languages play a vital role in providing the basis for various interfaces like the ATM, web pages, online order processing, accounting, insurance records, etc.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSQLHQL
Full-FormStands for Structured Query LanguageStands for Hibernate Query Language
Type of programming languageTraditional query languageJAVA based OOP query language
ConcernsIt pertains to the relation between two tables or columnsIt pertains two the relation between two objects
User-friendlinessOffers complex interface to new usersProvides user-friendly interface
FeaturesUses tables and columnsUses JAVA classes and variables
Interaction with databaseDirectly interacts with the databaseUses the ‘Hibernate’ interface to interact with the database
SpeedNative SQL is usually fasterNon-native HQL is usually slower since its runtime is based o mapping, but its speed can be increased by setting the right cache size of the query plan

What is SQL?

SQL often referred to as ‘sequel’ or ‘S.Q.L’,  is a database query language that is used to process data from RDBMSs.

SQL is not an OOP (Object-oriented programming language), rather, it directly generates queries and sends requests for data retrieval from RDBMs. It operates on tables and columns where the data is stored and handles all operations in RDBMSs.

It is used as the standard database query language in almost all RDBMSs like MySql, Oracle, MsAccess, etc. The standard SQL commands that are used to interact with the relational databases are SELECT, CREATE, DELETE, INSERT, UPDATE, and DROP.

Unlike other programming languages, SQL cannot be used to develop stand alone programs and can be operated only inside RDBMSs. It is a declarative type of language, i.e.

Its advantage is that the user is not required to write substantial amount of codes, but the users have only partial control over the databases due to the hidden business rules, and it also has a quite complex interface.

mysql database system

What is HQL?

HQL or Hibernate Query Language is an object-oriented query programming language which is written embedded in JAVA code and uses various functions under the JAVA library to convert the entity codes into traditional query codes that can interact with the databases.

This function of conversion is performed by a JAVA framework called ‘Hibernate’ from where HQL derives its name. The meaning of hibernate is to pass a particular time period in resting/inactive state.

It is an ORM (Object Relational Mapping) based framework that transfers data between an application and a relational database in the form of objects.

HQL is very useful if a programmer knows OOP language and wishes to interact with databases, wherein she/he can do so without learning the traditional query language SQL.

Also, it is not suitable for small projects which involve less number of tables since introducing the entire hibernate framework becomes difficult.


Main Differences Between SQL and HQL

  1. Traditional SQL code is longer than the HQL code.
  2. SQL is usually faster than the non-native HQL, however, by setting the correct cache size of the query plan, HQL can be made to operate as fast as SQL.


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=HblnED6bKUgC&oi=fnd&pg=PR25&dq=sql+tutorial+informix+guide&ots=scXEV5CJcB&sig=6QyVATrORJKnQ2Fo0L9xBF62SRM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=n8kFAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA2&dq=hql+tutorial&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=1&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjUlfbE0tfsAhX6wzgGHepLDeAQ6AEwAnoECAIQAg#v=onepage&q=hql%20tutorial&f=false
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