In the world of web development, every application needs a reliable way to store and manage data. Up until now, our journey with Flask has been smooth, but we've been using a makeshift "in-memory database" – essentially a couple of Python dictionaries that lose all their data when the app stops. It's time to level up and switch to a robust data storage solution that persists between app restarts.
This is a part of REST APIs with Flask and Python in 2023 Course
In this article, we'll explore the world of relational databases and introduce you to SQLAlchemy, a powerful Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) library. We won't be making any changes to our API, but we'll completely revolutionize the way we store data, making it more reliable and efficient.
Before diving into the details, you might wonder why we're choosing SQLAlchemy over writing raw SQL queries. Here's why:
Cleaner Code: SQLAlchemy simplifies our code, making it more elegant and concise. Instead of writing complex SQL queries, we'll work with Python objects, which are more intuitive.
Multi-threading Support: Building a web application often involves handling multiple user requests concurrently. SQLAlchemy gracefully manages the complexities of multi-threading for us.
Table Creation and Schema Definition: SQLAlchemy takes care of creating tables and defining their structure, sparing us from manual SQL table setup.
Database Migrations: When our application evolves, SQLAlchemy, with the help of tools like Alembic, assists in smoothly migrating our database schema without causing data loss.
Code Shortening: SQLAlchemy streamlines database-related code, resulting in shorter, more maintainable scripts.
Let's begin our journey by adding the necessary libraries to your Flask project. Update your
requirements.txt file with the following lines:
Flask-SQLAlchemy is an extension for Flask that bridges the gap between SQLAlchemy and Flask applications. It facilitates the integration of SQLAlchemy's powerful ORM capabilities into your Flask project.
In this article, we've laid the foundation for a significant upgrade to our Flask application's data storage capabilities. SQLAlchemy, backed by Flask-SQLAlchemy, will empower us to work with databases effortlessly, opening up possibilities for building more sophisticated and robust web applications.
In the next part of our series, we'll delve deeper into the practical aspects of setting up SQLAlchemy and using it to connect our Python objects to database tables. Stay tuned for a hands-on guide that will take your Flask app to the next level in terms of data management and efficiency.
So, buckle up and get ready to supercharge your Flask app with the magic of SQLAlchemy!
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