Version 0.5, March 04, 2017

Peter Summerland <p.summerland@gmail.com>
Albert Graef <aggraef@gmail.com>

This document describes Sql3, a SQLite module for the Pure programming language.


SQLite is a software library that implements an easy to use, self-contained, serverless, zero-configuration, transactional SQL database engine. SQLite is not intended to be an enterprise database engine like Oracle or PostgreSQL. Instead, SQLite strives to be small, fast, reliable, and above all simple. See Appropriate Uses For SQLite.

Sql3 is a wrapper around SQLite’s C interface that provides Pure programmers access to almost all of SQLite’s features, including many that are not available through Pure’s generic ODBC interface.

Simple Example

Here is a simple example that opens a database file “readme.db” (creating it if it does not exist), adds a table “RM”, populates “RM” and executes a query.

pure-sql3$> pure -q

> using sql3; using namespace sql3;

> let dbp = open "readme.db";

> exec dbp "create table if not exists RM (name text, age integer)";

> exec dbp "delete from RM";

> let sp1 = prep dbp "ci" "insert into RM values (?,?)";

> exec sp1 ("Sam",20);

> exec sp1 ("Fred",22);

> let sp2 = prep dbp "ci:i" "select * from RM where age > ?";

> exec sp2 18;

The Sql3 functions, open, prep and exec encapsulate the core functionality of SQLite, and in many cases are all you need to use SQLite effectively.

More Examples

The examples subdirectory of pure-Sql3 contains several files that further illustrate basic usage as well as some of Sql3’s more sophisticated features. These include readme.pure, a short file that contains the examples included herein. If you are using emacs pure-mode you can load readme.pure into a buffer and execute the examples line by line (pressing C-c C-c) (as well as experiment as you go).

SQLite Documentation

SQLite’s home page provides excellent documentation regarding its SQL dialect as well as its C interface. Comments in this document regarding SQLite are not meant to be a substitute for the actual documentation and should not be relied upon, other than as general observations which may or may not be accurate. The best way to use Sql3 is to get familiar with SQLite and its C interface and go directly to the SQLite Site Map for authoritative answers to any specific questions that you might have.

In the rest of this document, it is assumed the reader has some familiarity with SQLite and has read An Introduction To The SQLite C/C++ Interface.

Sqlite3 - The SQLite Command-Line Utility

The SQLite library includes a really nice command-line utility named sqlite3 (or sqlite3.exe on Windows) that allows the user to manually enter and execute SQL statements against a SQLite database (and much more).

This tool is an invaluable aid when working with SQLite in general and with Sql3 in the Pure interpreter in particular. For example, after entering the Pure statements from the Simple Example above, you could start a new terminal, cd to pure-sql3, type “sqlite3 readme.db” at the prompt, and see the effect the Pure statements had on the database:

pure-sql3$> sqlite3 readme.db
SQLite version 3.6.16
Enter ".help" for instructions
Enter SQL statements terminated with a ";"

sqlite> select * from RM;

For bottom up REPL development, sqlite3 and Pure are an excellent combination.


Copyright (c) 2010 by Peter Summerland <p.summerland@gmail.com>.
Copyright (c) 2010 by Albert Graef <aggraef@gmail.com>.

All rights reserved.

Sql3 is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the New BSD License, often referred to as the 3 clause BSD license. Sql3 is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Please see the COPYING file for the actual license applicable to Sql3.


Get the latest source from https://bitbucket.org/purelang/pure-lang/downloads/pure-sql3-0.5.tar.gz.

Unless you already have them on your machine, download SQLite and sqlite3 from the SQLite website and install as indicated. To install Sql3, cd to the pure-sql3 directory, run make, and then run sudo make install (on Linux).

Data Structure

From a client’s perspective, the most important of SQLite’s data structures are the database connection object “sqlite3” and the prepared statement object “sqlite3_stmt”. These are opaque data structures that are made available to users of SQLite’s C interface via pointers, sqlite3* and sqlite3_stmt*. At appropriate times, Sql3 creates “cooked” versions of these pointers that can be used (with care) to call native C functions exposed by SQLite’s C interface.

Sql3 introduces two new data types, “db_ptr” and “stmt_ptr” which refer to the cooked versions of sqlite3* and sqlite3_stmt*, respectively. These two new data types are defined using type, and therefore can be used as type tags in rule patterns or as the first parameter passed to in the typep function. It follows that all db_ptrs are sqlite3* pointers and all stmt_ptrs are sqlite3_stmt* pointers. Thus, using dbp and sp1 from the introductory example:

> typep db_ptr dbp, pointer_type dbp;
1, "sqlite3*"

> typep stmt_ptr sp1, pointer_type sp1;
1, "sqlite3_stmt*"

The converse, of course, is not true, as SQLite knows nothing about Sql3, and db_ptrs and stmt_ptrs carry other information in addtion to the underlying pointers provided to them by SQLite.

Core Database Operations

The core database operations are (a) opening and closing database connections and (b) preparing, executing and closing prepared statements.

Database Connections

Generally speaking, the first step in accessing a database is to obtain a db_ptr that references a database connection object. Once the db_ptr is obtained, it can be used to construct prepared statements for updating and querying the underlying database. The last step is usually to close the database connection (although this is will be done automatically by Sql3 when the db_ptr goes out of scope).

Opening a Database Connection

In Sql3 open constructs a database connection and returns a db_ptr that refers to the connection.

sql3::open (file_path::string [,access_mode::int[,custom_bindings]])

opens a SQLite database file whose name is given by the file_path argument and returns a db_ptr for the associated database connection object created by SQLite.


>  let dbp2 = open "abc.db"; dbp2;
#<pointer 0x992dff8>

If the filename is ”:memory:” a private, temporary in-memory database is created for the connection.

The basic access modes are:

  • SQLITE_OPEN_READONLY - the database is opened in read-only mode. If the database does not already exist, an error is returned.
  • SQLITE_OPEN_READWRITE - the database is opened for reading and writing if possible, or reading only if the file is write protected by the operating system. In either case the database must already exist, otherwise an error is returned.
  • SQLITE_OPEN_READWRITE | SQLITE_OPEN_CREATE - the database is opened for reading and writing, and is creates it if it does not already exist. This is the default value that is used if the flags argument is omitted.

These flags can be combined with SQLITE_OPEN_NOMUTEX SQLITE_OPEN_FULLMUTEX SQLITE_OPEN_SHAREDCACHE SQLITE_OPEN_PRIVATECACHE to control SQLite’s threading and shared cache features. All of these flags are exported by Sql3.

The optional custom_bindings argument allows the user to set up customized binding and fetching behavior for prepared statements associated with the returned db_ptr. (See Custom Binding Types for Prepared Statements)

Failure to Open a Database Connection

If SQLite cannot open the connection, it still returns a pointer to a database connection object that must be closed. In this case, open automatically closes the the connection object and then throws an exception. E.g.,:

> catch error (open ("RM_zyx.db",SQLITE_OPEN_READONLY));
error (sql3::db_error 14 "unable to open database file [open RM_zyx.db]")

Apparently, SQLite does not verify that a file is a valid SQLite database when it opens a connection. However, if the file is corrupted SQLite will return an error when the connection is used.

Testing a db_ptr

You can test any object to see if it is a db_ptr using (typep db_ptr):

typep db_ptr x

returns 1 if x is a db_ptr returned by open, and 0 if it is not.

You can also determine if a db_ptr’s data connection is open.

sql3::is_open dbp::db_ptr

returns 1 if the database connection referenced by dbp is open.

Closing a Database Connection

When a database connection object is no longer needed, it should be closed so that SQLite can free the associated resources.

sql3::close dbp::db_ptr

if the database connection referenced by the db_ptr dbp is open, close it using sqlite3_close; otherwise do nothing.

Before calling sqlite3_close, close finalizes all prepared statements associated with the connection being closed. Sql3 will detect and throw a db_error if an attempt is subsequently made to execute a statement associated with the closed database connection.

> let dbp2_sp = prep dbp2 "ci:" "select * from RM";

> exec dbp2_sp ();

> close dbp2;

> catch error (exec dbp2_sp);
error (sql3::db_error 0 "Attempt to exec on a closed db_ptr.")

If a db_ptr goes out of scope, Sql3 will automatically call sqlite3_close to close the referenced database connection, but only if the connection has not already been closed by close. Thus, for example, it is not necessary to use a catch statement to ensure that Sqlite3 resources are properly finalized when a db_ptr is passed into code that could throw an exception.

When debugging, this activity can be observed by editing sql3.pure, changing “const SHOW_OPEN_CLOSE = 0;” to “const SHOW_OPEN_CLOSE = 1;” and running sudo make install in the pure-sql3 directory. This will cause a message to be printed whenever a db_ptr or stmt_ptr is created or finalized.

N.B. You should never call the native C interface function``sqlite3_close`` with a db_ptr. If the referenced database connection is closed by such a call, a subsequent call to close on this db_ptr (including the call that will automatically occur when the db_ptr goes out of scope) will cause a seg fault.

Prepared Statements

The native SQLite C interface provides five core functions needed to execute a SQL statement.

  • sqlite3_prepare_v2
  • sqlite3_bind
  • sqlite3_step
  • sqlite3_column
  • sqlite3_finalize

Using the C interface, the basic procedure is to prepare a statement using sqlite3_prepare_v2, bind its parameters using sqlite3_bind, step it using sqlite3_step one or more times until it is done and then finalize it using sqlite3_finalize. Each time sqlite3_step returns SQLITE_ROW, use sqlite3_column to fetch the row’s values. Here sqlite3_bind and sqlite3_column represent families of bind and column functions, rather than actual functions, with one member for each of the basic data types recognized by SQLite. Thus, for example, sqlite_bind_double is the function one would use to bind a prepared statement with an argument of type double.

Sql3 encapsulates these procedures in four functions: prep, exec, lexec and finalize.

Constructing Prepared Statements

In Sql3 you can use prep to construct a prepared statement and obtain a stmt_ptr that refers to it.

sql3::prep dbp::db_ptr binding_string::string sql_statement::string

constructs a prepared statement object and returns a stmt_ptr that references it. dbp must be a db_ptr or the rule will not match. sql_statement is the SQL statement that will be executed when the prepared statement is passed to exec.

Basically, prep just passes dbp and sql_statement on to sqlite3_prepare_v2 and returns a sentry guarded version of the sqlite3_stmt* it receives back from sqlite3_prepare_v2. SQL statements passed to prep (and sqlite3_prepare_v2) can have argument placeholders, indicated by ”?”, ”?nnn”, ”:AAA”, etc, in which case the argument placeholders must be bound to values using sqlite_bind before the prepared statement is passed to sqlite3_step. Hence the binding_string, which is used by Sql3 to determine how to bind the prepared statement’s argument placeholders, if any. The binding string also tells Sql3 how to fetch values in the sqlite3_column phase of the basic prepare, bind, step, fetch, finalize cycle dictated by the SQlite C interface.

In the following two examples, the “c” and “i” in the binding strings indicate that (a) a string and an int will be used to bind sp1,(b) an int will be used to bind sp2 and (c) sp2, when executed, will return a result set in the form of a list of sublists each of which contains a string and an int.

> let sp1 = prep dbp "ci" "insert into RM values (?,?)";

> let sp2 = prep dbp "ci:i" "select * from RM where age > ?";

In general, the characters in the type string before the ”:”, if any, indicate the types in the result set. Those that occur after the ”:”, if any, indicate the types of the arguments used to bind the prepared statement object. If the type string does not contain a ”:”, the characters in the type string, if any, are the types of binding arguments.

Sql3 provides the following set of “core” binding types:

Type Pure Argument SQLite Type
b (int, pointer) blob
c string text (utf8)
d double float
i int int
k int or bigint int64
l bigint blob
x expression blob
v variant variant

The “b” or blob type is different from the rest in that the Pure argument is specified as a pair. The first element of the pair indicates the length in bytes of the object to be stored and the second element indicates its location in memory. The “c” type stands for string (as in “char*”), “d” stands for double and “i” stands for int. The “k” type stands for “key” and maps Pure ints and bigints (within the range of int64) to int64 values in the database. This type is useful when dealing with SQLite’s “integer primary keys” and “rowids” both of which are int64. The “l” type, in contrast applies to all bigints (and not to ints) and it maps bigints onto blobs, which are generally meaningless in SQL math expressions. The “n” type can only appear on the binding side of a type string. The “v” type stands for any of “b”, “c”, “d”, “i” or “n”, based on the type of the binding argument. A “v” type will be fetched from SQLite according to the native SQLite column type of the corresponding column. The “x” type is used to store and reconstruct Pure expressions as binary objects, using the val and blob functions provided by the Pure prelude.

Users can define custom binding types and pass them as a third parameter to open. The resulting db_ptr can be used with the custom binding types to construct prepared statements using prep.

Testing a stmt_ptr

You can determine if a given expression is a stmt_ptr using typep.

typep stmt_ptr x

returns 1 if x is a stmt_ptr, otherwise returns 0.

Executing Prepared Statements

In Sql3, the bind, step, column, step, column ... cycle is encapsulated in the exec and lexec functions.

sql3::exec sp::stmt_ptr args

use args to bind the prepared statement referenced by sp, execute it and return the result set as a list. The first parameter, sp must be a valid stmt_ptr or the rule will fail.

The second parameter, args, is a tuple or list of arguments whose number and type correspond to the bind parameter types specified in the call to prep that produced the first parameter sp.

Thus, using sp1 and sp2 defined in the introductory example:

> exec sp1 ("Tom",30);  //insert Tom

> exec sp2 19;          //select age > 19

An error is thrown if the args do not correspond to the specified types.

> catch error (exec sp2 "a");
error (sql3::db_error 0 "\"a\" does not have type int")

If a prepared statement does not have any binding parameters, the call to exec should use () as the binding argument.

> let sp3 = prep dbp "c:" "select name from RM";

> exec sp3 ();

Extra care is required when executing prepared statements that take a blob argument because it must be a pair. In order to preserve the tuple as a pair, binding arguments that include a blob should passed to exec as a list. If passed as a member of a larger tuple, it will be treated as two arguments due to the nature of tuples.

> let blb = (100,ptr);

> (a,blb,c);

> [a,blb,c];

Thus something like “exec stpx [a,blb,c]” would work fine, while “exec stpx (a,blb,c)” would produce a Sql3 binding exception.

Executing Lazily

The exec function returns result sets as eager lists which can sometimes be inefficient or simply not feasible for large result sets. In such cases it is preferable to use lexec instead of exec.

sql3::lexec stmp::stmt_ptr args

same as exec except that it returns a lazy list.


> lexec sp2 19;
["Sam",20]:#<thunk 0xb6475ab0>

Note that no changes to sp2 were required. In addition, for most purposes the lazy list returned by lexec can be processed by the same code that processed the eager list returned by exec.

Executing Directly on a db_ptr

For statements that have no parameters and which do not return results, exec can be applied to a db_ptr.

sql3::exec dbp::db_ptr sql_statement::string

constructs a temporary prepared statement using sql_statement. The SQL statement cannot contain argument placeholders and cannot be a select statement.


> exec dbp "create table if not exists RM (name varchar, age integer)";

Executing Against a Busy Database

SQLite allows multiple processes to concurrently read a single database, but when any process wants to write, it locks the entire database file for the duration of its update.

When the native SQLite C interface function sqlite3_step (used by exec) tries to access a file that is locked by another process, it treats the database as “busy” and returns the SQLITE_BUSY error code. If this happens in a call to exec or lexec, a db_busy exception will be thrown.

You can adjust SQLite’s behavior using sqlite3_busy_handler or sqlite3_busy_timeout.

If the statement is a COMMIT or occurs outside of an explicit transaction, then you can retry the statement. If the statement is not a COMMIT and occurs within a explicit transaction then you should rollback the transaction before continuing.

Grouping Execution with Transactions

No changes can be made to a SQLite database file except within a transaction. Transactions can be started manually by executing a BEGIN statement (i.e., exec dbp “BEGIN”). Manually started transactions persist until the next COMMIT or ROLLBACK statement is executed. Transactions are also ended if an error occurs before the transaction is manually ended using a COMMIT or ROLLBACK statement. This behavior provides the means make a series of changes “atomically.”

By default, SQLite operates in autocommit mode. In autocommit mode, any SQL statement that changes the database (basically, anything other than SELECT) will automatically start a transaction if one is not already in effect. As opposed to manually started transactions, automatically started transactions are committed as soon as the execution of the related statement completes.

The upshot of this, in Sql3 terms, is that unless a transaction is started manually, the database will be updated each time exec is called. For a long series of updates or inserts this a can be very slow. The way to avoid this problem is to manually begin and end transactions manually.

Sql3 provides the following convenience functions all of which simply call exec with the appropriate statement. For example begin dbp is exactly the same as exec dbp "BEGIN".

sql3::begin dbp::db_ptr
sql3::begin_exclusive dbp::db_ptr
sql3::begin_immediate dbp::db_ptr
sql3::commit dbp::db_ptr
sql3::rollback dbp::db_ptr
sql3::savepoint dbp::db_ptr save_point::string
sql3::release dbp::db_ptr save_point::string
sql3::rollback_to dbp::db_ptr save_point::string

Note that transactions created using begin and commit do not nest. For nested transactions, use savepoint and release.

Finalizing Prepared Statements

When a prepared statement is no longer needed it should be finalized so that SQLite can free the associated resources.

sql3::finalize sp::stmt_ptr

finalize the prepared statement referenced by sp, which must be a stmt_ptr previously returned by prep.

Often there is no need to call finalize for a given stmt_ptr because it will be automatically called when the stmt_ptr goes out of scope.

If the stmt_ptr is associated with a database connection that has been closed (which would have caused an exception to be thrown), an attempt to finalize it, including the automatic finalization can occur when stmt_ptr goes out of scope, will cause an exception to be thrown.

> catch error (finalize dbp2_sp);
error (sql3::db_error 0 "finalize: STMT attached to a closed db_ptr.")

Multiple calls to finalize are fine. In contrast, the corresponding native C interface function, sqlite3_finalize will cause a seg fault if called with a pointer to a finalized prepared statement object. This is the main reason why you should never call sqlite3_finalize with a stmt_ptr. If the prepared statement referenced by the stmt_ptr is finalized by such a call, a subsequent call to finalize with the stmt_ptr (including the call that will automatically occur when the stmt_ptr goes out of scope) will cause a seg fault.


Sql3 throws two types of exceptions, one for outright errors and one for database “busy” conditions.

constructor sql3::db_error ec msg

When a Sql3 function detects an error it throws an exception of the form “db_error ec msg” where ec is an error code and msg is the corresponding error message. If ec>0, the error was detected by SQLite itself, and ec and msg are those returned by SQLite. If ec==0, the error was detected by Sql3 and msg is a Sql3 specific description of the error. E.g.,

> db_error_handler (db_error ec msg) = ()
> when
>   source = if ec > 0 then "SQLite" else "Sql3";
>   printf "%s db_error: ec %d, %s\n" (source,ec,msg);
> end;
> db_error_handler x = throw x;

> catch db_error_handler (exec dbp "select * from NO_TABLE");
SQLite db_error: ec 1, no such table: NO_TABLE
constructor sql3::db_busy dbp

Sql3 functions exec and lexec throw exceptions of the form “db_busy dbp”, where dbp is a db_ptr, if they are prevented from executing successfully because the database referenced by dbp is locked (See Executing Against a Busy Database).

SQLite Error Codes

Here is a list, as of January 31, 2011, of SQLite’s error codes.

SQLITE_ERROR        1   /* SQL error or missing database */
SQLITE_INTERNAL     2   /* Internal logic error in SQLite */
SQLITE_PERM         3   /* Access permission denied */
SQLITE_ABORT        4   /* Callback routine requested an abort */
SQLITE_BUSY         5   /* The database file is locked */
SQLITE_LOCKED       6   /* A table in the database is locked */
SQLITE_NOMEM        7   /* A malloc() failed */
SQLITE_READONLY     8   /* Attempt to write a readonly database */
SQLITE_INTERRUPT    9   /* Operation terminated by sqlite3_interrupt()*/
SQLITE_IOERR       10   /* Some kind of disk I/O error occurred */
SQLITE_CORRUPT     11   /* The database disk image is malformed */
SQLITE_NOTFOUND    12   /* NOT USED. Table or record not found */
SQLITE_FULL        13   /* Insertion failed because database is full */
SQLITE_CANTOPEN    14   /* Unable to open the database file */
SQLITE_PROTOCOL    15   /* NOT USED. Database lock protocol error */
SQLITE_EMPTY       16   /* Database is empty */
SQLITE_SCHEMA      17   /* The database schema changed */
SQLITE_TOOBIG      18   /* String or BLOB exceeds size limit */
SQLITE_CONSTRAINT  19   /* Abort due to constraint violation */
SQLITE_MISMATCH    20   /* Data type mismatch */
SQLITE_MISUSE      21   /* Library used incorrectly */
SQLITE_NOLFS       22   /* Uses OS features not supported on host */
SQLITE_AUTH        23   /* Authorization denied */
SQLITE_FORMAT      24   /* Auxiliary database format error */
SQLITE_RANGE       25   /* 2nd parameter to sqlite3_bind out of range */
SQLITE_NOTADB      26   /* File opened that is not a database file */

New error codes may be added in future versions of SQLite. Note that the SQLite names of the error codes are not exported by the Sql3 module.

Advanced Features

Sql3’s advanced features include the ability to implement SQL functions in Pure, convenient access to the SQLite C interface and custom binding types.

Custom SQL Functions

An extremely powerful (albeit complex) feature of the SQLite C interface is the ability to add new SQL scalar or aggregate functions. The new functions can be used in SQL statements the in same way as SQLites’s prepackaged functions. Sql3 hides the complexity and seamlessly integrates all of this functionality, :), into Pure via create_function. This function is used to register both scalar SQL functions and aggregate SQL functions with SQlite.

Scalar SQL Functions

You can add a custom SQL scalar function to SQLite by passing a single Pure function to create_function.

sql3::create_function dbp::db_ptr name::string nargs::int pure_fun

registers a new SQL scalar function of nargs arguments that can be called, as name, in SQL statements prepared with respect to dbp, a db_ptr. When the SQL function is called in a SQL statement, control is passed to pure_fun, a function written in Pure. If nargs is (-1), the SQL function name is variadic, and the arguments will be passed to pure_fun as a single list.

Note that create_function can also register aggregate functions (see Aggregate SQL Functions).

Here is an example of a scalar function that takes two parameters. Note that any kind of Pure “function” can be passed here; local functions, global functions, lambdas or partial applications all work.

> create_function dbp::dbp "p_fn" 2 plus with plus x y = x + y; end;

> let sp4 = prep dbp "cii:"
>           "select p_fn('Hi ',name), age, p_fn(age,10) from RM";

> exec sp4 ();
[["Hi Sam",20,30],["Hi Fred",22,32]]

Here is an example of a variadic function:

> create_function dbp "p_qm" (-1) quasimodo with
>   quasimodo xs = "quasimodo: "+join ":" [str x | x=xs];
> end;

If the SQL function takes no arguments, the corresponding Pure function must, for technical reasons in Pure, take a single dummy argument. E.g.,

> create_function dbp "p_count" 0 counter with
>   counter () = put r (get r+1);
> end when r = ref 0 end;

Here is how count and quasimodo might be used:

> let sp5 = prep dbp "ic:" "select p_count(), p_qm(name,age) from RM";

> exec sp5 ();
[[1,"quasimodo: \"Sam\":20"],[2,"quasimodo: \"Fred\":22"]]

> exec sp5 ();
[[3,"quasimodo: \"Sam\":20"],[4,"quasimodo: \"Fred\":22"]]

Multiple SQL functions can be registered with the same name if they have differing numbers of arguments. Built-in SQL functions may be overloaded or replaced by new application-defined functions.

Generally, a custom function is permitted to call other Sql3 and native SQLite C interface functions. However, such calls must not close the database connection nor finalize or reset the prepared statement in which the function is running.

Aggregate SQL Functions

You can use create_function to register an aggregate SQL function with SQLite by passing a triple consisting of two Pure functions and a start value, in lieu of a single Pure function.

sql3::create_function dbp::db_ptr name::string nargs::int (step,final,start)

registers a new SQL aggregate function of nargs arguments that can be called, as name in SQL statements prepared with respect to dbp, a db_ptr. step and final are curried Pure functions and start is the initial value for the aggregation. The step function is called repeatedly to accumulate values from the database, starting from the given start value, and finally the final function is applied to the accumulated result.

Note that for a single-argument step function, this works exactly as if the functions were invoked as “final (foldl step start values)”, where values is the list of aggregated values from the database.

> create_function dbp "p_avg" 1 (step,final,(0,0.0)) with
>   step (n,a) x = n+1, a+x;
>   final (n,a) = a/n;
> end;

> let sp6 = prep dbp "id:" "select count(name), p_avg(age) from RM";

> exec sp6 ();

Accessing the Rest of SQLite’s C Interface

The db_ptrs returned by open and stmt_ptrs returned by prep are sentry guarded versions of the actual pointers to the data base connection objects and prepared statement objects returned by their corresponding native C interface functions sqlite3_open_v2 and sqlite3_prepare_v2. This makes it easy to call almost any external function in SQLite’s C interface directly, passing it the same db_ptr or stmt_ptr that is passed to Sql3’s functions, such as prep or exec.

For example, you can override SQLite’s default behavior with respect to a busy database as follows:

> extern int sqlite3_busy_timeout(sqlite3*, int);

> sqlite3_busy_timeout dbp 10;

This sets a busy handler that will “sleep and retry” multiple times until at least 10 milliseconds of sleeping have accumulated. Calling this routine with an argument less than or equal to zero turns off all busy handlers.

Another example is to query the number of database rows that were changed, inserted or deleted by the most recently completed SQL statement executed on a given database connection:

> extern int sqlite3_changes(sqlite3*);

> exec sp1 ("Harvey",30);

> sqlite3_changes dbp;

As a final example, in this case using a stmt_ptr, you can determine name assigned to a column in a result using sqlite3_column_name:

> extern char *sqlite3_column_name(sqlite3_stmt*, int);

> exec sp2 29;

> sqlite3_column_name sp2 1;

In order to call a native C function you must first make it accessible using an extern statement.

Please note also that directly calling a function provided by the SQLite C interface can be dangerous, as is the case with any call from Pure code to an external C function. Sql3 users should be especially careful in this regard because using a db_ptr or a stmt_ptr in calls to certain native C interface functions, including in particular sqlite3_close and sqlite3_finalize, will corrupt data held by the db_ptr or stmt_ptr, leading to undefined behavior. The reason for this restriction is that Sql3 uses sentries to insure that the resources associated with a db_ptr or a stmt_ptr are automatically finalized by SQLite when they go out of scope. In addition, the sentries carry internal information used by Sql3 for other purposes.

Custom Binding Types for Prepared Statements

You can add your own binding types for preparing and executing prepared statements by specifying a third argument to open. The third argument must be a list of “hash rocket pairs” in which the left side is a character for the custom binding type and the right side is a list with three members. The second and third members of the list are functions that map objects from the new type to one of the Sql3 core types and back, respectively. The first member of the list is the character for the Sql3 core types referenced by the mapping functions.

The file sql3_user_bind_types.pure in the examples subdirectory shows how this might be done for a couple of user defined types. The example script deals with dates and certain Pure expressions as bigints and native Pure expressions, while the database stores these as utf-8 text. The following snippets show parts of the script that are relevant to this discussion:

const custom_binds = [

d1 = str_to_day "2010-03-22";

db = open ("abc.db", SQLITE_OPEN, custom_binds);
stm1 = prep db "cts" "insert into TC values(?,?,?)";
exec stm1 ["Manny", d1, s_expr];
stm3a = sql3::prep db "t:" "select t_date from TC";
stm3b = sql3::prep db "c:" "select t_date from TC";

Executing stm3a and stm3b from the interpreter shows that TC’s date field is stored as a string, but returned to the Pure script as a bigint.

> sql3::exec stm3a ());

> sql3::exec stm3b ());

The character designating the custom type must not be one of the letters used to designate Sql3 core binding types.

Threading Modes

SQLite supports three different threading modes:

  1. Single-thread. In this mode, all mutexes are disabled and SQLite is unsafe to use in more than a single thread at once.
  2. Multi-thread. In this mode, SQLite can be safely used by multiple threads provided that no single database connection is used simultaneously in two or more threads.
  3. Serialized. In serialized mode, SQLite can be safely used by multiple threads with no restriction.

SQLite can be compiled with or without support for multithreading and the default is to support it.

In many cases, single-thread mode might be appropriate if only because it is measurably faster. This might be the case, for example, if you are using SQLite as the on-disk file format for a desktop application.

If your version of SQLite was compiled with support for multithreading, you can switch to single-thread mode at runtime by calling sqlite3_config() with the verb SQLITE_CONFIG_SINGLETHREAD.

If you must use threads, it is anticipated that Sql3 probably will not impose an additional burden. Hopefully, you will be fine if you apply the same precautions to a db_ptr or stmt_ptr that you would apply to the underlying sqlite* and sqlite_stmt*s if you were not using Sql3. It is strongly advised however that you look at the underlying Sql3 code to verify that this will work. Since everything that is imposed between the raw pointers returned by the SQlite interface and the corresponding db_ptr and stmt_ptrs is written in Pure, it should be relatively easy to determine how Sql3 and your multithreading strategy will interact. See Is SQLite threadsafe? , Opening A New Database Connection and Test To See If The Library Is Threadsafe.