Terminology: DynamoDB vs SQL

The more people I talk to about DynamoDB, whether it be online, or general conversation, I find in most cases do no adopt DynamoDB Terminology.

Initially,  I didn’t think to much of it – synonyms after all right?

Giving it more thought, I feel it is a little more than that. I feel lack of adoption of terminology, may also indicate traditional relational thinking.

I could be wrong, but regardless, I thought it was worth a post to compare DynamoDB terminology to SQL.

SQL DynamoDB
Table Table
Row Item
Column Attribute
Primary Key Partition Key
Composite Primary Key Partition and Sort Key
Local Secondary Index or Global Secondary Index


The big one that bugs me is the Column vs Attribute.

DynamoDB is schema-less. In SQL, you typically define columns at table creation time, where as in DynamoDB, attributes are not owned at the table level, but at the item level.

This is a big difference. This flexibility should be leveraged as it is very powerful.

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