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a zero hassle wrapper for sqlite


a zero hassle wrapper for sqlite

var dblite = require('dblite'),
    db = dblite('');
// Asynchronous, fast, and ... 
db.query('SELECT * FROM table', function(err, rows) {
  // ... that easy! 

More in the related blogpost and here too :-)

build status



Version 0.7.5 forces -noheader flag if there is no explicit -header flag so that no matter what, headers will not be used.

This will eventually overwrite the .sqliterc but will make the library behavior more consistent across platforms.

Please check issue 35 to know more.

Previously, in sqlite3 version 3.8.6 you need a "new line agnostic" version of dblite, used in dblite version 0.6.0.

This breaks compatibility with older version of the database cli but this problem should have been fixed in 0.7.0.

// old version 
var dblite = require('dblite');
// 3.8.6 version 
var dblite = require('dblite').withSQLite('3.8.6+');
// new version, same as old one 
var dblite = require('dblite');

It seems that sqlite3 version 3.8.8+ introduced a new line \n on Windows machines too so the whole initialization is now performed asynchronously and through features detection.

This should fix the annoying EOL problem "forevar"

The What And The Why

I've created dblite module because there's still not a simple and straight forward or standard way to have sqlite in node.js without requiring to re-compile, re-build, download sources a part or install dependencies instead of simply apt-get install sqlite3 or pacman -S sqlite3 in your *nix system.

dblite has been created with portability, simplicity, and reasonable performance for embedded Hardware such ARM boards, Raspberry Pi, Arduino Yun, Atmel MIPS CPUs or Linino boards in mind.

Generally speaking all linux based distributions like Arch Linux, where is not always that easy to node-gyp a module and add dependencies that work, can now use this battle tested wrap and perform basic to advanced sqlite operations.


To install dblite simply npm install dblite then in node:

var dblite = require('dblite'),
    db = dblite('/folder/to/file.sqlite');
// ready to go, i.e. 
  'SELECT * FROM users WHERE pass = ?',
  function (err, rows) {
    var user = rows.length && rows[0];

By default the dblite function uses sqlite3 as executable. If you need to change the path simply update dblite.bin = "/usr/local/bin/sqlite3"; before invoking the function.


Right now a created EventEmitter db instance has 3 extra methods: .query(), .lastRowID(), and .close().

The .lastRowID(table, callback(rowid)) helper simplifies a common operation with SQL tables after inserts, handful as shortcut for the following query: SELECT ROWID FROM ``table`` ORDER BY ROWID DESC LIMIT 1.

The method .close() does exactly what it suggests: it closes the database connection. Please note that it is not possible to perform other operations once it has been closed.

Being an EventEmitter instance, the database variable will be notified with the close listener, if any.

Understanding The .query() Method

The main role in this module is played by the db.query() method, a method rich in overloads all with perfect and natural meaning.

The amount of parameters goes from one to four, left to right, where left is the input going through the right which is the eventual output.

All parameters are optionals except the SQL one.

db.query() Possible Combinations

db.query(SQL, callback:Function)
db.query(SQL, params:Array|Object)
db.query(SQL, fields:Array|Object)
db.query(SQL, params:Array|Object, callback:Function)
db.query(SQL, fields:Array|Object, callback:Function)
db.query(SQL, params:Array|Object, fields:Array|Object)
db.query(SQL, params:Array|Object, fields:Array|Object, callback:Function)

All above combinations are tested properly in this file together with many other tests able to make dblite robust enough and ready to be used.

Please note how params is always before fields and/or callback if fields is missing, just as reminder that order is left to right accordingly with what we are trying to do.

Following detailed explanation per each parameter.

The SQL:string

This string accepts any query understood by SQLite plus it accepts all commands that regular SQLite shell would accept such .databases, .tables, .show and all others passing through the specified info listener, if any, using just the console as fallback otherwise.

var dblite = require('dblite'),
    db = dblite('./db.sqlite');
// will call the implicit `info` console.log 
/* will console.log something like:
     echo: off
  explain: off
  headers: off
     mode: csv
nullvalue: ""
   output: stdout
separator: ","
    stats: off
// normal query 
db.query('INSERT INTO test VALUES(null, ?)', ['some text']);
db.query('SELECT * FROM test');
// will implicitly log the following 
// [ [ '1', 'some text' ] ] 

This library heavily relies on strings and it normalizes them through special escaping which aim is to make passed data safe and secure which should be goal #1 of each db oriented API.

Please do not pass datamanually like INSERT INTO table VALUES (null, '') and always use, specially for any field that contains strings, the provided API: INSERT INTO table VALUES (null, '@email') and {emaiL: ''}. These kind of operations are described in the following paragraphs.

The params:Array|Object

If the SQL string contains special chars such ?, :key, $key, or @key properties, these will be replaced accordingly with the params Array or Object that, in this case, MUST be present.

// params as Array 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = ?', [1]);
// params as Object 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = :id', {id:1});
// same as 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = $id', {id:1});
// same as 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = @id', {id:1});

The fields:Array|Object

By default, results are returned as an Array where all rows are the outer Array and each single row is another Array.

db.query('SELECT * FROM test');
// will log something like: 
  [ '1', 'some text' ],     // row1 
  [ '2', 'something else' ] // rowN 

If we specify a fields parameter we can have each row represented by an object, instead of an array.

// same query using fields as Array 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test', ['key', 'value']);
// will log something like: 
  {key: '1', value: 'some text'},     // row1 
  {key: '2', value: 'something else'} // rowN 

Parsing Through The fields:Object

SQLite Datatypes are different from JavaScript plus SQLite works via affinity. This module also parses sqlite3 output which is always a string and as string every result will always be returned unless we specify fields parameter as object, suggesting validation per each field.

// same query using fields as Object 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test', {
  key: Number,
  value: String
// note the key as integer! 
  {key: 1, value: 'some text'},     // row1 
  {key: 2, value: 'something else'} // rowN 

More complex validators/transformers can be passed without problems:

// same query using fields as Object 
db.query('SELECT * FROM `table.users`', {
  id: Number,
  name: String,
  adult: Boolean,
  skills: JSON.parse,
  birthday: Date,
  cube: function (fieldValue) {
    return fieldValue * 3;

The params:Array|Object AND The fields:Array|Object

Not a surprise we can combine both params, using the left to right order input to output so params first!

// same query using params AND fields 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = :id', {
  id: 1
  key: Number,
  value: String
// same as... 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = ?', [1], ['key', 'value']);
// same as... 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = ?', [1], {
  key: Number,
  value: String
// same as... 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = :id', {
  id: 1
}, [
  'key', 'value'

The callback:Function

When a SELECT or a PRAGMA SQL is executed the module puts itself in a waiting for results state.

Update - Starting from 0.4.0 the callback will be invoked with err and data if the callback length is greater than one. function(err, data){} VS function(data){}. However, latter mode will keep working in order to not break backward compatibility. Update - Starting from 0.3.3 every other SQL statement will invoke the callback after the operation has been completed.

As soon as results are fully pushed to the output the module parses this result, if any, and send it to the specified callback.

The callback is always the last specified parameter, if any, or the implicit equivalent of console.log.bind(console). Latter case is simply helpful to operate directly via node console and see results without bothering writing a callback each .query() call.

Extra Bonus: JSON Serialization With fields:Array|Object

If one field value is not scalar (boolean, number, string, null) JSON.stringify is performed in order to save data. This helps lazy developers that don't want to pre parse every field and let dblite do the magic.

// test has two fields, id and value 
db.query('INSERT INTO test VALUES(?, ?)', [
  {name: 'dblite', rate: 'awesome'} // value serialized 
// use the fields to parse back the object 
db.query('SELECT * FROM test WHERE id = ?', [123], {
  id: Number,
  value: JSON.parse // value unserialized 
}, function (err, rows) {
  var record = rows[0];
  console.log(; // 123 
  console.log(; // "dblite" 
  console.log(record.value.rate); // "awesome"" 

Automatic Fields Through Headers

Since version 0.3.0 it is possible to enable automatic fields parsing either through initialization (suggested) or at runtime.

var dblite = require('dblite'),
    // passing extra argument at creation 
    db = dblite('', '-header');
db.query('SELECT * FROM table', function(err, rows) {
  rows[0]; // {header0: value0, headerN: valueN} 
// at runtime 
  .query('.headers ON')
  .query('SELECT * FROM table', function(err, rows) {
    rows[0]; // {header0: value0, headerN: valueN} 
  .query('.headers OFF')

In version 0.3.2 a smarter approach for combined headers/fields is used where the right key order is granted by headers but it's possible to validate known fields too.

var db = require('dblite')('', '-header');
db.query('SELECT 1 as one, 2 as two', {two:Number}, function(err, rows) {
  rows[0]; // {one: "1", two: 2} // note "1" as String 

In this way these two options can be supplementary when and if necessary.

Handling Infos And Errors - Listeners

The EventEmitter will notify any listener attached to info, error, or close accordingly with the current status.

db.on('info', function (data) {
  // show data returned by special syntax 
  // such: .databases .tables .show and others 
  // by default, it does the same 
db.on('error', function (err) {
  // same as `info` but for errors 
  // by default, it does the same 
db.on('close', function (code) {
  // by default, it logs "bye bye" 
  // invoked once the database has been closed 
  // and every statement in the queue executed 
  // the code is the exit code returned via SQLite3 
  // usually 0 if everything was OK 
  console.log('safe to get out of here ^_^_');

Please note that error is invoked only if the callback is not handling it already via double argument.

The close event ensures that all operations have been successfully performed and your app is ready to exit or move next.

Please note that after invoking db.close() any other query will be ignored and the instance will be put in a waiting to complete state which will invoke the close listener once operations have been completed.

Raspberry Pi Performance

This is the output generated after a make test call in this repo folder within Arch Linux for RPi.

npm test
> dblite@0.1.2 test /home/dblite
> node test/.test.js
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
create table if not exists
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
100 sequential inserts
100 records in 3.067 seconds
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
1 transaction with 100 inserts
200 records in 0.178 seconds
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
auto escape
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
auto field
fetched 201 rows as objects in 0.029 seconds
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
auto parsing field
fetched 201 rows as normalized objects in 0.038 seconds
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
many selects at once
different selects in 0.608 seconds
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
db.query() arguments
[ [ '1' ] ]
[ [ '2' ] ]
[ { id: 1 } ]
[ { id: 2 } ]
passes: 5, fails: 0, errors: 0
¥ · £ · € · $ · ¢ · ₡ · ₢ · ₣ · ₤ · ₥ · ₦ · ₧ · ₨ · ₩ · ₪ · ₫ · ₭ · ₮ · ₯ · ₹
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
erease file
passes: 1, fails: 0, errors: 0
          15 Passes

If an SD card can do this good, I guess any other environment should not have problems here ;-)


Here a list of probably common Q&A about this module. Please do not hesitate to ask me more, if necessary, thanks.

  • How Does It Work? dblite uses a spawned version of the sqlite3 executable. It could theoretically work with any other SQL like database but it's tested with sqlite3-shell only

  • Does It Spawn Per Each Query? this is a quick one: NO! dblite spawns once per each database file where usually there is only one database file opened per time.

  • How About Memory And Performance? Accordingly with node manual:

    These child Nodes are still whole new instances of V8. Assume at least 30ms startup and 10mb memory for each new Node. That is, you cannot create many thousands of them.

    Since dblite spawns only once, there is a little overhead during the database initialization but that's pretty much it, the amount of RAM increases with the amount of data we save or retrieve from the database. The above Raspberry Pi Benchmark should ensure that with most common operation, and using transactions where possible, latency and RAM aren't a real issue.

  • Why Not The Native One? I had some difficulty installing this node-sqlite3 module due node-gyp incompatibilities with some ARM based device in both Debian and ArchLinux. Since I really needed an sqlite manager for the next version of polpetta which aim is to have a complete, lightweight, and super fast web server in many embedded hardware such RPi, Cubieboard, and others, and since I needed something able to work with multiple core too, I've decided to try this road wrapping the native, easy to install and update, sqlite3 shell client and do everything I need. So far, so good I would say ;-)

  • Isn't params and fields an ambiguous choice? At the very beginning I wasn't sure myself if that would have worked as API choice but later on I've changed my mind. First of all, it's very easy to spot special chars in the SQL statement. If present, params is mandatory and used, as easy as that. Secondly, if an object has functions as value, it's obviously a fields object, 'cause params cannot contains functions since these are not compatible with JSON serialization, neither meaningful for the database. The only case where fields might be confused with params is when no params has been specified, and fields is an Array. In this case I believe you are the same one that wrote the SQL too and know upfront if there are fields to retrieve from params or not so this is actually a non real-world problem and as soon as you try this API you'll realize it feels intuitive and right.

  • Are Transactions Supported? ... YES, transactions are supported simply performing multiple queries as you would do in sqlite3 shell:

  db.query('BEGIN TRANSACTION');
  for(var i = 0; i < 100; i++) {
    db.query('INSERT INTO table VALUES(?, ?)', [null, Math.random()]);

The test file has a transaction with 100 records in it, have a look.

  • Can I Connect To A :memory: Database? well, you can do anything you would do with sqlite3 shell so YES
var db = dblite(':memory:'); // that's it! 


The usual Mit Style, thinking about the WTFPL though ... stay tuned for updates.

Copyright (C) 2013 by WebReflection

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal
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furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
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