Storing a Python dict as JSON in SQLite using SQLAlchemy

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Tags: sqlite python


I use this approach in a web app I am writing to save user-defined templates and data that have arbitrary column names and values. Saving it as JSON feels good to me. If the project grows I’ll probably move over to Postgres, which also also supports JSON columns.

Example code

Neither a small, nor simple example, but this is a way to feed a column in SQLite a dict and getting it stored as JSON using SQLAlchemy v1.3. I am using the declarative system for mapping up the database.

from sqlalchemy import create_engine, Integer, JSON, Column, Sequence
from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker
from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base

EntityBase = declarative_base()

class Item(EntityBase):
    __tablename__ = "items"
    id = Column(Integer, Sequence("item_id_seq"), primary_key=True, nullable=False)
    information = Column(JSON, nullable=True)

# Setup a database connection. Using in-memory database here.
engine = create_engine("sqlite://", echo=True)

Session = sessionmaker(bind=engine)
session = Session()

# Create all tables derived from the EntityBase object

# Declare a new row
first_item = Item()
first_item.information = dict(a=1, b="foo", c=[1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13])

# Insert it into the database

# Get all saved items from the database
for item in session.query(Item).all():
    # <class 'dict'>
    print(, item.information)
    # 1 {'a': 1, 'b': 'foo', 'c': [1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13]}


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