16 Sept 2023

Working with Python and Databases

Python is a popular programming language that is widely used for developing applications in a variety of domains, including web development, data analysis, machine learning, and more. One of the key requirements for many applications is the ability to interact with databases. In this blog, we will explore how to work with Python and databases.

Databases are used to store and manage large amounts of structured data. There are several types of databases, including relational databases, NoSQL databases, and graph databases. In this blog, we will focus on relational databases, which are the most commonly used type of database.

Relational databases store data in tables, where each row represents a record and each column represents a field in that record. The tables are related to each other through the use of keys, which are used to establish relationships between the tables.

Python has several libraries that make it easy to work with databases, including SQLAlchemy, psycopg2, and mysql-connector-python. In this blog, we will focus on SQLAlchemy.

SQLAlchemy is a Python library that provides a set of tools for working with databases. It allows developers to interact with databases using an object-oriented approach, making it easier to write complex database queries and manage database connections.

To use SQLAlchemy, you first need to install it. You can do this using pip, the Python package manager. Open up a terminal or command prompt and type the following command:

pip install sqlalchemy

Once you have installed SQLAlchemy, you can start using it to interact with databases.

Connecting to a Database The first step in working with a database in Python is to establish a connection to the database. SQLAlchemy supports a wide variety of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, and more.

To connect to a database, you first need to create a connection string. The connection string contains information about the database, such as the database type, the host name, the port number, and the database name. Here is an example connection string for a MySQL database:


To connect to the database, you can use the create_engine() function, which is provided by SQLAlchemy. Here is an example of how to connect to a MySQL database using SQLAlchemy:

from sqlalchemy import create_engine

engine = create_engine('mysql://username:password@hostname:port/database')

Executing SQL Queries

Once you have established a connection to the database, you can start executing SQL queries. SQLAlchemy provides several ways to execute SQL queries, including the execute() method, which allows you to execute any SQL query as a string.

Here is an example of how to execute a simple SQL query using SQLAlchemy:

result = engine.execute('SELECT * FROM users')
for row in result:

This code executes a SELECT query that retrieves all rows from the users table. The result of the query is stored in a result object, which can be iterated over to access the individual rows.

Using ORM

SQLAlchemy also provides an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) tool, which allows you to interact with the database using Python objects. The ORM tool maps database tables to Python classes, and database rows to Python objects.

Here is an example of how to define a Python class that maps to a database table using SQLAlchemy ORM:

from sqlalchemy import Column, Integer, String
from sqlalchemy.ext.declarative import declarative_base

Base = declarative_base()

class User(Base):
    __tablename__ = 'users'

    id = Column(Integer, primary_key=True)
    name = Column(String)
    email = Column(String)

    def __repr__(self):
        return "<User(name='%s', email='%s')>" % (self.name, self.email)

This code defines a Python class called User that maps to a database table named 'users'. The class defines three columns: id, name, and email. The id column is defined as the primary key, and the other columns are defined as strings.

The repr() method is defined to provide a string representation of the User object, which is useful for debugging.

Once you have defined your Python classes, you can use them to interact with the database. Here is an example of how to create a new User object and add it to the database using SQLAlchemy:

from sqlalchemy.orm import sessionmaker

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

new_user = User(name='John Doe', email='[email protected]')

This code creates a new User object with the name 'John Doe' and email '[email protected]'. The session.add() method is used to add the new user to the session, and the session.commit() method is used to save the changes to the database.

Here is an example of how to retrieve all User objects from the database using SQLAlchemy:

users = session.query(User).all()
for user in users:

This code uses the session.query() method to retrieve all User objects from the database. The .all() method is used to return all rows in the table as a list of User objects. The code then iterates over the list of users and prints each user object.


In this blog, we have explored how to work with Python and databases. We have learned how to connect to a database using SQLAlchemy, execute SQL queries, and use the ORM tool to interact with the database using Python objects. SQLAlchemy is a powerful and flexible library that makes it easy to work with databases in Python. With its rich set of features and intuitive API, SQLAlchemy is a great choice for any Python developer looking to work with databases.