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Sqlite Database

SQLite is a C-language library that uses self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, and transactional SQL engine. Its source code is in the public-domain and can be used for private or commercial use without fees.


SQLite is a relational database management system contained in a C-language Library.

It is an embedded SQL database engine and does not have separate server process.

It is free to use for any purpose and can be downloaded from this link.

Features of SQLite

  • Easy to use
  • Source code is free for any purpose
  • It's self contained; there are no external dependencies
  • No setup or administration required because it's embedded
  • Database is stored in a single-platform disk file
  • Code is 600K or smaller depending on optional features used
  • Supports terabyte-sized databases and gigabyte-sized strings and blobs
  • Faster than direct filesystem I/O
  • Written in ANSI-C, and TCL bindings are included
  • Well-commented and documented source code
  • Comes as a single source-code file that is easy to integrate in a project
  • Works cross-platform for mobile as well as regular computers
  • Comes with a standalone command-line interface (CLI) client to administer SQLite databases
  • Transactions are ACID (atomic, consistent, isolated, and durable); even after crash or power failure
  • Supports all SQL features with advanced capabilities, such as partial indexes, indexes on expressions, JSON, common table expressions, and window functions

SQLite Use Cases

For IoT (Internet of Things)
SQLite is a popular choice as a database engine in mobile phones, handheld devices, portable players, and other electronic gadgets. Since SQLite has a small code footprint, it's more efficient than other database engines in terms of memory, disk usage, and bandwidth -- and it does not require administration.

Application File Format
Instead of using fopen() to write XML, JSON, CSV, or other format by the application, SQLite database code can be used. The trouble of writing and troubleshooting a parser can also be omitted since SQLite can be used. It also supports cross-platform integration, and, finally, all file updates are transactional.

Website Database
Since SQLite stores data in ordinary disk files and does not require further configuration, it's also ideal for small to medium-sized websites.

Stand-in For An Enterprise RDBMS
SQLite can be used for demonstration and testing purposes without setup or configuration hassle.

Data analysis
People with SQL knowledge can employ the sqlite3 command-line shell or third-party SQLite access programs to analyze small to large datasets. Data can also be imported from CSV files to be sliced and diced to generate reports.

Cache for enterprise data
SQLite can be used as a cache (memory storage) of relevant content from enterprise RDBMS to reduce latency.

Internal or temporary databases
Using an SQL database internally gives the program great flexibility since new columns and indices can be added without having to recode every query.

Education and Training
Since SQLite is easy to setup and use, it's excellent for teaching and working solutions can easily be created by students.

SQLite Encryption

By default, SQLite does not support data encryption. However, the database provides hooks to enable encryption.

Several open source and commercial libraries are available that will encrypt a SQLite database. These include:

SQLite vs PostgreSql

SQLite and PostgreSQL are widely used relational database management systems (RDBMS). Both are open-source and free to use, but there are great differences also, as listed below:

Difference SQLite PostgreSQL
Database Model An embedded DBMS. Can run within application. Implements client-server model. Requires a database server to setup and run.
Storage Smaller size (less than 500KB). Larger size (more than 200MB).
Data Types BLOB, NULL, INTEGER, TEXT, REAL Almost any type normally found in SQL.
Portability Stores data in an ordinary disk file in any directory. File can be copied and moved anywhere since it's cross-platform. No portability. Requires export to file and import into another database server.
Functionality Basic feature set that is suited for most common uses. Complete SQL database feature set.
Speed Because of its minimal design and simple operations, it is very fast Fast read operations. Robust speed for complex operations.
Security Does not provide authentication. The database file is accessible to anyone. Robust security features and comprehensive configuration.
Multiple access No support for simultaneous usage. Well-defined user-access levels. Supports simultaneous access by multiple users.
Ease of setup Very easy, even for beginnners More complex due to advanced features and configuration
Reliability N/a Supports ACID properties
Extendabiliy Limited to basic operations. Can be extended with stored procedures.
When to use Small, standalone applications that don't require expansion. Internet of Things devices. Development and testing. Applications that require data integrity, reliability, and custom procedures.
Limitations Can only run a single process at a time and has no support for multi-user access. Only relies on Access Control System on the Operating System. Lack of authentication. Requires more RAM to support concurrency. More complex. Can be difficult for less experienced database administrators.

Advantages of SQLite

  • Serverless, which makes it easier to setup and no configuration is needed
  • Highly portable since it's a file-based system
  • Single-file and lightweight database
  • Open source and available for free
  • Rapid data storage and retrieval
  • Great for development and testing
  • Easy to manage using free tools
  • Supported by almost all popular programming languages
  • Supports all popular operating systems
  • Supports nearly all database capabilities
  • Great community support
  • Reduced cost and complexity

Disadvantages of SQLite

  • Does not provide network access
  • Not built for large-scale applications
  • SQLite can only handle low to medium traffic HTTP requests
  • No user management
  • Not scalable
  • Does not support concurrent transactions on the data
  • Performance of data queries may be limited with large data sets
  • No built-in data encryption methods or techniques

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Last updated on Dec 21, 2023

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