Database Interfaces

There are as many database interfaces for Python as there are databases …


  • ODBC (generic)

  • ADO (generic)

  • MySQL

  • Oracle

  • PostgreSQL

  • Informix

  • SQLite


  • BerkeleyDB

  • MongoDB

⟶ People want a common interface


  • Programming interface for SQL databases

  • In fact only a recommendation for database interface authors

    • … but there’s the BDFL

Defines what a database interface has to have …

  • Connection: initial point of all database operations

  • Cursor: context of a database operation. More than one cursor possible.

  • Data types: e.g. sqlite3.Date(1966,6,19)

Caveat: Transaction Lifetime

DBAPI module use the underlying database’s “native interface” ⟶ transaction semantics is not portable across different databases

Neutral (DBAPI 2.0) Definition

  • One connection has at most one transaction ⟶ transaction lifetime dictated by connection

  • Once a cursor is created, a transaction is started

  • The connection methods commit() and rollback() close a transaction

  • A cursor’s .execute() method creates a transaction if one does not exist

  • Deleting a connection triggers a transaction’s rollback() method

    • Don’t forget connection.commit()!

Caveat: Isolation

  • Modifications on different cursors of the same connection are generally visible to each other

  • Not all databases implement strong isolation among different connections

  • Isolation level settings are specific to database implementations