Intro to Databases

This unit covers the fundamentals of dealing with Databases using Python. "Databases", as a general topic, is incredibly broad and complex. It's a science on itself and a discipline expanding decades. This unit assumes you know the basics of Relational Databases; you know about database engines, tables, rows, columns and a little bit of SQL. If that's not the case, and you feel you should learn a little bit more about Relational Databases, you can get started with this Free course from Udacity: Intro to Relational Databases.


Throughout this unit, we'll use SQLite as our Database Engine. Most traditional Relational Database Engines act as Client-Server architectures. That means, you need to install the Database Server, execute it, and then connect from your Python code to it (as a client). That's overly complicated for this unit, as we want to focus mainly in the concepts behind Database work, which can be found in any DB Engine: Postgres, MySQL, Oracle and obviously, SQLite.

Python includes a SQLite library already buitlin. That means that you don't have to install ANYTHING. It works out of the box.

SQLite works by creating files that act as the persistent storage for our database. Our entire database will be contained in a single file which we'll load and save as we're working in our application.

Getting Started with Python and SQLite

You can use a script as simple as the following one to get started:

import sqlite3

db = sqlite3.connect('example.db')

c = db.cursor()

  id integer primary key autoincrement,
  author text not null,
  title text not null,
  isbn text

# Create table

# Insert a row of data
c.execute("INSERT INTO book VALUES (1, 'Edgar A. Poe', 'The Raven', 'X-99')")


results = c.execute('SELECT * FROM book')

for result in results:

Both Python 2 and Python 3 support SQLite, so make sure you check their comprehensive docs.

Other resources

Aside from Intro to Relational Databases (the one recommended before) you can take a look at Using Databases with Python or Database Management Essentials.

If you want to go a lot deeper, you can check any of the following FREE books: