SQLite is a rather new form of an open sourced relational database management system. It was designed by D. Richard Hipp in the year 2000 while working for General Dynamics under contract of the United States Navy. SQLite implements most of the SQL standard, but has many other features that make SQLite stand out.
Design & Features
SQLite is a completely serverless process. Unlike other types of databases that require a server to interact with to get results, SQLite reads and writes directly to ordinary disk files. This means the tables, triggers, and views are all contained on a single disk file. The main advantage to this is that there is nearly no configuration or servers to install, setup, or configure to get the database running. It is usually embedded in an application and gets deployed with the application. There is no separate installer for SQLite to work.
SQLite is easier to setup and great for rapid application development. Because of this, it is the default database option for the popular Ruby on Rails framework. (For information on Ruby on Rails, please visit this page on the Wiki)
SQLite vs. MySQL or SQL Server
SQLite primarily differs from MySQL or SQL Server in that it is generally smaller, easier to setup, and great for testing environments. SQLite currently only allows for one user to write to the database, but a future version is set to support multiple users. MySQL would most likely be a better fit for a production database, but the downside is that there are far more things to configure and setup. SQLite can be thought of as ready “out of the box”.
SQLite is generally a lot faster than SQL Server, in part because it is more efficient and agile. If someone is planning on doing hundreds of writes per second to the database for example, SQL Server could be a better option. SQLite really shines in small, to medium sized applications.
SQLite and Ruby on Rails
SQLite3 (version 3) is the default database setup for all ruby on rails applications. This allows for a super easy setup with no configuration needed. When a Ruby on Rails app is deployed, the database is deployed with the application. Developers around the world are now able to get up and running with minimal configuration or setup. Because of this, nearly tens of thousands of rails applications are live today, and are being used in some of the biggest companies in the world.
SQLite is backed by the help of many sponsors which include Bloomberg, Nokia, Oracle, Mozilla, and Adobe. Many companies such as Skype, Google, and Apple use the SQLite technology behind a lot of their applications.
More information can be found on the SQLite homepage at http://www.sqlite.org including documentation, SQL syntax, and to download the latest version. Currently SQLite is in version 3.7.8.