Python Database Programming: SQLite (tutorial)

In this tutorial you will learn how to use the SQLite database management system with Python. You will learn how to use SQLite, SQL queries, RDBMS and more of this cool stuff!

Related courses

Pyton Database

Python Database
Python Database.
Data is retrieved from a database system using the SQL language.
Data is everywhere and software applications use that. Data is either in memory, files or databases.

Python has bindings for many database systems including MySQL, Postregsql, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server and Maria DB.

One of these database management systems (DBMS) is called SQLite.  SQLite was created in the year 2000 and is one of the many management systems in the database zoo.

SQL is a special-purpose programming language designed for managing data held in a databases. The language has been around since 1986 and is worth learning. The is an old funny video about SQL

SQLite

SQLite
SQLite, a relational database management system.
SQLite is the most widely deployed SQL database engine in the world. The source code for SQLite is in the public domain.

It is a self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. The SQLite project is sponsored by Bloomberg and Mozilla.

Install SQLite:

Use this command to install SQLite:

$ sudo apt-get install sqlite

Verify if it is correctly installed. Copy this program and save it as test1.py

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
 
import sqlite3 as lite
import sys
 
con = None
 
try:
    con = lite.connect('test.db')
    cur = con.cursor()    
    cur.execute('SELECT SQLITE_VERSION()')
    data = cur.fetchone()
    print "SQLite version: %s" % data                
except lite.Error, e:   
    print "Error %s:" % e.args[0]
    sys.exit(1)
finally:    
    if con:
        con.close()

Execute with:

$ python test1.py

It should output:

SQLite version: 3.8.2

What did the script above do?
The script connected to a new database called test.db with this line:

con = lite.connect('test.db')

It then queries the database management system with the command

SELECT SQLITE_VERSION()

which in turn returned its version number. That line is known as an SQL query.

SQL Create and Insert

The script below will store data into a new database called user.db

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
 
import sqlite3 as lite
import sys
 
con = lite.connect('user.db')
 
with con:
 
    cur = con.cursor()    
    cur.execute("CREATE TABLE Users(Id INT, Name TEXT)")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(1,'Michelle')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(2,'Sonya')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(3,'Greg')")

SQLite is a database management system that uses tables. These tables can have relations with other tables: it’s called relational database management system or RDBMS.  The table defines the structure of the data and can hold the data.  A database can hold many different tables. The table gets created using the command:

    cur.execute("CREATE TABLE Users(Id INT, Name TEXT)")

We add  records into the table with these commands:

    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(2,'Sonya')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(3,'Greg')")

The first value is the ID. The second value is the name.  Once we run the script the data gets inserted into the database table Users:

SQL Table
SQL Table

SQLite query data

We can explore the database using two methods:  the command line and a graphical interface.

From console: To explore using the command line type these commands:

sqlite3 user.db
.tables
SELECT * FROM Users;

This will output the data in the table Users.

sqlite> SELECT * FROM Users;
1|Michelle
2|Sonya
3|Greg

From GUI: If you want to use a GUI instead, there is a lot of choice. Personally I picked sqllite-man but there are many others. We install using:

sudo apt-get install sqliteman

We start the application sqliteman. A gui pops up.

sqliteman
sqliteman

Press File > Open > user.db.  It appears like not much has changed, do not worry, this is just the user interface.  On the left is a small tree view, press Tables > users. The full table including all records will be showing now.

sqliteman
sqliteman

This GUI can be used to modify the records (data) in the table and to add new tables.

 The SQL database query language

SQL has many commands to interact with the database. You can try the commands below from the command line or from the GUI:

sqlite3 user.db 
SELECT * FROM Users;
SELECT count(*) FROM Users;
SELECT name FROM Users;
SELECT * FROM Users WHERE id = 2;
DELETE FROM Users WHERE id = 6;

We can use those queries in a Python program:

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
 
import sqlite3 as lite
import sys
 
 
con = lite.connect('user.db')
 
with con:    
 
    cur = con.cursor()    
    cur.execute("SELECT * FROM Users")
 
    rows = cur.fetchall()
 
    for row in rows:
        print row

This will output all data in the Users table from the database:

$ python get.py 
(1, u'Michelle')
(2, u'Sonya')
(3, u'Greg')

Creating a user information database

We can structure our data across multiple tables. This keeps our data structured, fast and organized.  If we would have a single table to store everything, we would quickly have a big chaotic mess. What we will do is create multiple tables and use them in a combination. We create two tables:

Users:

SQL Table
SQL Table

Jobs:

SQL Table
SQL Table

To create these tables, you can do that by hand in the GUI or use the script below:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
 
import sqlite3 as lite
import sys
 
con = lite.connect('system.db')
 
with con:
 
    cur = con.cursor()    
    cur.execute("CREATE TABLE Users(Id INT, Name TEXT)")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(1,'Michelle')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(2,'Howard')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Users VALUES(3,'Greg')")
 
    cur.execute("CREATE TABLE Jobs(Id INT, Uid INT, Profession TEXT)")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Jobs VALUES(1,1,'Scientist')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Jobs VALUES(2,2,'Marketeer')")
    cur.execute("INSERT INTO Jobs VALUES(3,3,'Developer')")

The jobs table has an extra parameter, Uid. We use that to connect the two tables in an SQL query:

SELECT users.name, jobs.profession FROM jobs INNER JOIN users ON users.ID = jobs.uid

You can incorporate that SQL query in a Python script:

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
 
import sqlite3 as lite
import sys
 
 
con = lite.connect('system.db')
 
with con:    
 
    cur = con.cursor()    
    cur.execute("SELECT users.name, jobs.profession FROM jobs INNER JOIN users ON users.ID = jobs.uid")
 
    rows = cur.fetchall()
 
    for row in rows:
        print row

It should output:

$ python get2.py
(u'Michelle', u'Scientist')
(u'Howard', u'Marketeer')
(u'Greg', u'Developer')

You may like: Databases and data analysis

MySQL with Python

In this tutorial you will learn how to use a widely used database management system called MySQL in Python.  You do not need any previous knowledge of MySQL to use this tutorial, but there is a lot more to MySQL than covered in this short introductory tutorial.

Related course
SQL Tutorial: Learn SQL with MySQL Database -Beginner2Expert

MySQL tutorial
Data is stored in a collection of tables with each table consisting of a set of rows and columns. This is similar to how data is stored in SQLite.   To interact with the data stored in tables we use a special-purpose programming language called SQL.

Step 1: Install MySQL
First you must install a MySQL driver, use the specific installation method below.

On Windows:
Install MySQLdb using the installer.

On Linux:
Install MySQLdb using:

sudo apt-get install python-mysqldb
yum install mysql-python

depending on your version.

On Mac:
Follow the installation instructions from stackoverflow

MySQL server has to be running before going to the next step.

Step 2: Setup the database

Make sure you have database access, from the command line type:

mysql -u USERNAME -p

MySQL will then ask your password.  Type these commands:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE pythonspot;
mysql> USE pythonspot;

We go on the create the table:

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS examples (
  id int(11) NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT,
  description varchar(45),
  PRIMARY KEY (id)
);

Then we can insert data into the table (these are SQL queries):

INSERT INTO examples(description) VALUES ("Hello World");
INSERT INTO examples(description) VALUES ("MySQL Example");
INSERT INTO examples(description) VALUES ("Flask Example");

You can now grab all records from the table using a SQL query:

mysql> SELECT * FROM examples;
+----+---------------+
| id | description   |
+----+---------------+
|  1 | Hello World   |
|  2 | MySQL Example |
|  3 | Flask Example |
+----+---------------+
3 rows in set (0.01 sec)

Step 3: Getting the data from Python
You can access the database directly from Python using the MySQLdb module.

#!/usr/bin/python
import MySQLdb
 
db = MySQLdb.connect(host="localhost",  # your host 
                     user="root",       # username
                     passwd="root",     # password
                     db="pythonspot")   # name of the database
 
# Create a Cursor object to execute queries.
cur = db.cursor()
 
# Select data from table using SQL query.
cur.execute("SELECT * FROM examples")
 
# print the first and second columns      
for row in cur.fetchall() :
    print row[0], " ", row[1]

Output:

1   Hello World
2   MySQL Example
3   Flask Example

ORM with SqlAlchemy

An object relational mapper maps a relational database system to objects.  If you are unfamiliar with object orientated programming, read this tutorial first. The ORM is independent of which relational database system is used. From within Python, you can talk to objects and the ORM will map it to the database. In this article you will learn to use the SqlAlchemy ORM.

What an ORM does is shown in an illustration below:

ORM Object Relational Mapping
ORM Object Relational Mapping. We communicate with the database using the ORM and only use Python objects and classes.

Related courses

Creating a class to feed the ORM
We create the file tabledef.py. In this file we will define a class Student. An abstract visualization of the class below:

class
Class definition

Observe we do not define any methods, only variables of the class. This is because we will map this class to the database and thus won’t need any methods.

This is the contents of tabledef.py:

from sqlalchemy import *
from sqlalchemy import create_engine, ForeignKey
from sqlalchemy import Column, Date, Integer, String
from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base
from sqlalchemy.orm import relationship, backref
 
engine = create_engine('sqlite:///student.db', echo=True)
Base = declarative_base()
 
########################################################################
class Student(Base):
    """"""
    __tablename__ = "student"
 
    id = Column(Integer, primary_key=True)
    username = Column(String)
    firstname = Column(String)
    lastname = Column(String)
    university = Column(String)
 
    #----------------------------------------------------------------------
    def __init__(self, username, firstname, lastname, university):
        """"""
        self.username = username
        self.firstname = firstname
        self.lastname = lastname
        self.university = university
 
# create tables
Base.metadata.create_all(engine)

Execute with:

python tabledef.py

The ORM created the database file tabledef.py.  It  will output the SQL query to the screen, in our case it showed:

CREATE TABLE student (
	id INTEGER NOT NULL, 
	username VARCHAR, 
	firstname VARCHAR, 
	lastname VARCHAR, 
	university VARCHAR, 
	PRIMARY KEY (id)
)

Thus, while we defined a class, the ORM created the database table for us. This table is still empty.

Inserting data into the database
The database table is still empty. We can insert data into the database using Python objects. Because we use the SqlAlchemy ORM we do not have to write a single SQL query. We now simply create Python objects that we feed to the ORM.  Save the code below as dummy.py

import datetime
from sqlalchemy import create_engine
from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker
from tabledef import *
 
engine = create_engine('sqlite:///student.db', echo=True)
 
# create a Session
Session = sessionmaker(bind=engine)
session = Session()
 
# Create objects  
user = Student("james","James","Boogie","MIT")
session.add(user)
 
user = Student("lara","Lara","Miami","UU")
session.add(user)
 
user = Student("eric","Eric","York","Stanford")
session.add(user)
 
# commit the record the database
session.commit()

Execute with:

python dummy.py

The ORM will map the Python objects to a relational database. This means you do not have any direct interaction from your application, you simply interact with objects. If you open the database with SQLiteman or an SQLite database application you’ll find the table has been created:

Data in database table.
Data in database table.

Query the data
We can query all items of the table using the code below. Note that Python will see every record as a unique object as defined by the Students class. Save the code as demo.py

import datetime
from sqlalchemy import create_engine
from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker
from tabledef import *
 
engine = create_engine('sqlite:///student.db', echo=True)
 
# create a Session
Session = sessionmaker(bind=engine)
session = Session()
 
# Create objects  
for student in session.query(Student).order_by(Student.id):
    print student.firstname, student.lastname

On execution you will see:

James Boogie
Lara Miami
Eric York

To select a single object use  the filter() method. A demonstration below:

import datetime
from sqlalchemy import create_engine
from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker
from tabledef import *
 
engine = create_engine('sqlite:///student.db', echo=True)
 
# create a Session
Session = sessionmaker(bind=engine)
session = Session()
 
# Select objects  
for student in session.query(Student).filter(Student.firstname == 'Eric'):
    print student.firstname, student.lastname

Output:

Eric York

Finally, if you do not want the ORM the output any of the SQL queries change the create_engine statement to:

engine = create_engine('sqlite:///student.db', echo=False)