Where do you start when studying a new database engine? There are so many choices, the most popular of which is MySQL but this isn’t always the best one to go with.
There is never one single book to rule them all. However there are often “best” books that I could recommend based on prior experience and goals.
This list breaks down the best SQLite books covering what they teach and how they teach. As long as you have an idea of what you want to learn I guarantee you’ll find something in this list.
Absolute beginners may be looking for the best recommendation to get started. My answer is Using SQLite only because it’s short, direct, and very easy to understand. It also targets developers + DB admins so it’s the perfect choice for everyone.
However if you also need to learn the SQL language along with SQLite then I’d alternatively recommend The SQL Guide to SQLite. Both are excellent choices for beginners and you cannot go wrong either way.
Currently in its 2nd edition we have The Definitive Guide to SQLite. This is one of the better intro books that spends a lot of time covering the history, culture, purpose, and behavior of a SQLite application.
The authors teach you how to structure data models and how these can be accessed through various languages. I do think this book works well regardless of your preferred use, because the authors focus more on SQLite rather than a specific implementation. Perl, Python, Java, and PHP(among others) are all covered.
You’ll learn web development for SQLite on a web server and how to connect into it for enterprise/mobile applications.
But this book is not an “ultimate guide” to the whole process. It merely holds your hand through some common examples to help you understand how SQLite is used in the real world. A good choice for beginners who have no idea where to start.
Using SQLite by Jay Kreibich is a fantastic choice for anyone who wants to build database-structured applications. Desktop, mobile, web, or whatever they’re all fair game.
What I like most about this book is how it teaches you the proper way to do something. You’ll be given examples and specific instructions that help you understand why something works and how to do it right.
A good portion of the book covers the SQL language and you’ll learn a bit about data modeling. Towards the end you’ll get into modules for SQLite for even better performance.
This is certainly a beginner’s book and it can help any novice get up to speed working with SQLite. However this is not only made for beginners, and I think even intermediate-level SQL developers & DBAs could learn a thing or two from this title.
Here’s another O’Reilly book that actually doesn’t target SQLite in it’s rawest form. However it does cover all the fundamentals of SQL as a language, something that’s vital both for devs and DBAs to understand.
Getting Started with SQL runs 134 pages but it is undeniably the best book you can get for learning SQL. It does seem short but the writing style gets right to the point.
This can almost act as a desk reference if you’re just getting into SQL and need a quick primer along the way. In my experience SQL is less off-putting than programming languages because it’s easier to read. But understanding what you’re doing and how to build a workflow is the tricky part.
I can’t say this book will make you a master SQL expert. But it can take a complete novice and give them more than enough knowledge to feel competent punching SQL commands into the CLI for a SQLite database.
This book combines an intro to SQL along with an intro to SQLite in 500+ pages. It gets you started with the basic setup, implementation, and understanding of a SQLite engine on a local server.
But you’ll also learn crucial concepts behind RDBMS and how these relational databases work with SQL.
The SQL Guide to SQLite is very, very basic. This is targeted for the complete novice who has never even opened the command line once in their life. This is partially why it’s so dense.
Anyone who already understands SQL should not pick up this book. Yes it does cover SQLite but there are better books oriented solely towards SQLite such as Using SQLite by Kreibich. That’s a much better title for SQLite-only readers who don’t need a beginner’s refresher on SQL.
Here’s the first advanced book in this post and it caters towards mobile app developers. Whether you build on iOS or Android there’s plenty of info for both parties in Introducing SQLite for Mobile Developers.
Topics generally cover SQLite from a developer’s perspective, so there isn’t much here in the way of database administration. But if you’re trying to build a mobile app that requires a database this book covers everything you need to know.
The author Jesse Feiler teaches you how to install SQLite from scratch, how to get it setup for a mobile app, and how to connect your app into the database. You also get some tips for improving performance and keeping your app running smoothly.
My biggest gripe with this book is the length. It’s only about 150 pages so if you’re looking for a comprehensive iOS/Android database dev book you might need to look into specific books for those platforms that cover databases.
But for the length this is still a great intro to SQLite and assuming you already know how to develop mobile apps this book will prove incredibly valuable.
Between this book and the previous title by Apress I would definitely recommend this one. Granted it’s made solely for iOS development, so if you’re not building for an Apple environment this won’t help.
But Learning SQLite for iOS is much newer and covers more recent topics about SQLite implementation for iOS apps.
The early chapters dive right into setup and teach you how SQLite works for mobile datasets. This is not a beginner’s book and you will need some knowledge of SQL + Swift/Objective-C programming.
What I like most is how this book covers everything about SQLite. Installation, setup, management, and connections between mobile applications. The authors even expand outside the Swift/Xcode environment bringing in PhoneGap as an alternative solution for iOS development.
This is easily the best book for learning SQLite for iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad app development. If you already know how to build apps but need to learn the database side then this book should already be on your bookshelf.
Much like the prior book covered iOS, this one covers Android and it does so to the same level of detail. Unfortunately this Android title is a few years older than the iOS one. But most of the info still applies to current Android SDK development and SQLite.
Android SQLite Essentials is fairly short with only 130 pages in total. The book has four chapters but it moves from SQLite architecture all the way to the Loader API and Android app security/encryption.
You will need knowledge of Android programming and some SQL programming before picking up this book. It’s made for a relatively advanced audience and should be used solely to improve your knowledge of Java+SQLite for Android app development.
This is yet another short but sweet title and the specificity makes it perfect for a very small group of people. If you fall into the group of Android devs learning SQLite I can’t imagine a better learning resource.
Unfortunately there is no modern SQLite Cookbook and while I do think the world deserves one, this book offers a decent alternative.
SQL Cookbook by Anthony Molinaro comes with 600+ pages packed full of SQL recipes for common code solutions. If you’re a complete beginner with SQL then you’ll eventually need to learn(and possibly master) this language. While this cookbook can’t offer you the raw fundamentals it can offer common solutions for very basic problems and even more advanced ones.
The book covers pitfalls but also offers cool projects like histograms, data aggregation, and other more advanced methods for manipulating data/row info.
The SQL Cookbook is a great companion to add once you’re already somewhat comfortable with SQL. If you start with a beginner’s book like The SQL Guide to SQLite and finish that to completion you’ll be ready for this cookbook.
Getting into SQLite requires tenacity and a willingness to toy around with features. Very few developers start with SQLite so it’s not the most popular database engine of choice.
But it is very lightweight and one of the more powerful tools to have in your arsenal.
If you’re an absolute beginner aspiring to become either a developer or database admin then check out Using SQLite. It should cover all the intro topics you need to feel comfortable with the database.
Other books in this post will help you master topics like the SQL language and SQLite for mobile development. Browse through the list again and pick up a copy of anything that looks valuable to your current stage of learning.