Ordered group_concat() in SQLite

I was trying to use group_concat() to glue together some column values into a stiched together Markdown document. My first attempt lookd like this:

select group_concat('## ' || chapter || '
                    
> ' || quote, '
                    
') from highlights order by timestamp

This attempt didn't work, because the order of the elements combined by a group_concat() is undefined:

The group_concat() function returns a string which is the concatenation of all non-NULL values of X. If parameter Y is present then it is used as the separator between instances of X. A comma (",") is used as the separator if Y is omitted. The order of the concatenated elements is arbitrary.

It turns out you can fix this using a subselect:

select group_concat('## ' || chapter || '
                    
> ' || quote, '
                    
') from (select chapter, quote from highlights order by timestamp)

See this explanation by Keith Medcalf on the SQLite forum.

I think it may also be possible to solve this using Window functions. I tried doing this:

select group_concat('## ' || chapter || '
                    
> ' || quote, '
                    
') OVER (ORDER BY timestamp) from highlights

Which almost worked... but it returned one row for each row in highlights, each one with a growing combined result - the result I wanted was in the last returned row.

Created 2022-02-06T15:08:39-08:00 · Edit