The Python Database API (DB-API) defines a standard interface for Python database access modules. It’s documented in PEP 249. Nearly all Python database modules such as sqlite3, psycopg and mysql-python conform to this interface.

Tutorials that explain how to work with modules that conform to this interface can be found here and here.


SQLAlchemy is a commonly used database toolkit. Unlike many database libraries it not only provides an ORM layer but also a generalized API for writing database-agnostic code without SQL.

$ pip install sqlalchemy


Records is minimalist SQL library, designed for sending raw SQL queries to various databases. Data can be used programmatically, or exported to a number of useful data formats.

$ pip install records

Also included is a command-line tool for exporting SQL data.

Django ORM

The Django ORM is the interface used by Django to provide database access.

It’s based on the idea of models, an abstraction that makes it easier to manipulate data in Python.

The basics:

  • Each model is a Python class that subclasses django.db.models.Model.
  • Each attribute of the model represents a database field.
  • Django gives you an automatically-generated database-access API; see Making queries.


peewee is another ORM with a focus on being lightweight with support for Python 2.6+ and 3.2+ which supports SQLite, MySQL and Postgres by default. The model layer is similar to that of the Django ORM and it has SQL-like methods to query data. While SQLite, MySQL and Postgres are supported out-of-the-box, there is a collection of add-ons available.


PonyORM is an ORM that takes a different approach to querying the database. Instead of writing an SQL-like language or boolean expressions, Python’s generator syntax is used. There’s also an graphical schema editor that can generate PonyORM entities for you. It supports Python 2.6+ and Python 3.3+ and can connect to SQLite, MySQL, Postgres & Oracle


SQLObject is yet another ORM. It supports a wide variety of databases: Common database systems MySQL, Postgres and SQLite and more exotic systems like SAP DB, SyBase and MSSQL. It only supports Python 2 from Python 2.6 upwards.