An easy-to-use lightweight SQLite 3 library written in Objective-C for Mac OS and iOS 4+ that will build SQL statements and manage database connections, plus an active record based ORM.
Objective-C Shell

Objective-C SQL Query Builder

This Objective-C SQLite project is a lightweight library that offers more than just a set of SQLite wrapper classes. It is divided up into five parts. The first part consists of a set of Objective-C classes that handle communications with an SQLite database. Inside the "src" folder, these Objective-C classes are further subdivided into five folders. The "db" folder (formerly, the "dao" folder) contains an SQLite wrapper class that easily manages the database connection. The "ext" folder contains some class extensions. The "sql" folder contains a collection of SQL builder classes that can be used to construct well-formed SQL statements for SQLite via a plethora of convenience methods similar to those found in LINQ. Likewise, the "orm" folder has an assortment of classes that can control and manipulate data within an SQLite database via the Active Record design pattern. And, the "util" folder contains a set of various helper classes. The second part consists of an easy-to-read API, which both documents and diagrams each Objective-C class and XML/DTD file. The third part consists of a BASH script that can be used to generate the necessary ORM models using the SQLite's database schema. The fourth part consists of the database configuration files for the SQLite database connection. The final part has the schema for handling XML to DDL.

All classes are designed to be used in iPhone/iOS applications. The classes in the "ARC" branches are compliant with iOS 5's automatic reference counting. For projects still using Retains, Releases, and Autoreleases (i.e. Pre-ARC) use the classes in the "RRA" branches.

Supported Platforms

  • Mac OS X 10.7+
  • iOS 4.0+


The goal of this project is to make these classes the "de facto" standard for communicating with SQLite databases on iPhone/iOS devices.

With the abundance of third-party libraries for Objective-C, it was apparent that a successful SQLite library needs to be simple to learn and intuitive. It must also be cleanly written with clear naming conventions and must be well-documented for too many SQLite libraries are hard to understand and are not user-friendly. For these reasons, this SQLite library was written.


The following is a short-list of some of the features:

  • Automatic reference counting;
  • Cleanly wraps-up the sqlite3 C based functions.
  • Automatically places the SQLite database in the "Document" directory.
  • Allows for read-only databases.
  • Provides multi-threading support for asynchronous SQLite database calls;
  • Utilizes a PLIST file for configuring SQLite database connections;
  • Allows database privileges to be restricted.
  • Has an easy to use SQLite database connection pool.
  • Capable of executing an SQL statement with one line of code.
  • Able to execute more than one SQL statement at a time.
  • Has a huge collection of SQL builder classes with methods that mimic their SQL statement equivalents.
  • Converts XML to DDL/SQL statements.
  • Helps ensure that SQL statements are well-formed.
  • Supports all major Objective-C datatypes, including NSNull, NSNumber, NSDecimalNumber, NSString, NSData, and NSDate.
  • Sanitizes data using best practices.
  • Handles most complex queries and works with raw SQL statements.
  • Has a powerful SQLite tokenizer.
  • Contains a message digest to hash strings using md2, md4, md5, sha1, sha224, sha256, sha384, and sha512.
  • Has a data access layer (DAL) that offers Object Relational Mapping (ORM).
  • Data access objects (DAO) handle composite primary keys.
  • Via a Bash script, models (i.e. Active Records) can be auto-generated for each table in the SQLite database.
  • Handles foreign keys via true lazy loading.
  • Requires only those Objective-C classes that are absolutely needed.
  • Classes are easily extendible.
  • Has clear API documentation generated via Doxygen.

Getting Started

Using these classes in an Xcode project is easy to do. Here is how:

  1. Download the source code via Github as a tarball (i.e. .tar.gz).
  2. Navigate to the tarball in Finder.
  3. Unarchive the tarball by double-clicking it in a Finder window.
  4. Open an Xcode project.
  5. Right-click on the "Classes" folder and click on the "Add >> Existing Files..." option.
  6. Highlight the files, then click the "Add" button.
  7. Check "Copy items into destination group's folder (if needed)".
  8. Select "Default" for the "Reference Type".
  9. Choose "Recursively create groups for any added folders".
  10. Click "Add".

Required Files

A lot of work has gone into making the classes in this repository as independent as possible; however, a few dependencies just can't be avoided. To make life easier, the following SDK import files have been created to make the implementation process as painless as possible:

  • ZIMDaoSdk.h
  • ZIMSqlSdk.h
  • ZIMOrmSdk.h

Based on which SDK is needed, only those classes listed (i.e. imported) in the SDK import file are needed to be added to the respective Xcode project.

Required Frameworks

To use these Objective-C classes in an Xcode project, add the following framework:

  • libsqlite3.dylib


All classes are heavily documented using HeaderDoc. You can get familiar with each class by simply looking at the API or by opening its respective ".h" file. Similarly, all XML/DTD files are documented using DTDDoc. You can also find more information on this repository's Wiki.

Tutorials / Examples

Checkout this SQLite repository's Wiki for a handful of examples. There, you will find examples on how to make an SQLite database connection and how to build DCL, DDL, DML, and TCL commands (including Create, Read, Update, and Delete (CRUD) statements). The Wiki also has tutorials on how to use Object Relational Mapping (ORM) and how to generate the necessary models (i.e. active records).

Further Assistance

If you need further assistance in implementing these classes, you can always send an email to with any questions that you may have about this repository. Any frequently asked questions (FAQ) will be posted on this repository's Wiki.

You can also seek assistance via the blogs. A great Web site for community assistance is Stack Overflow.

Reporting Bugs & Making Recommendations

Help debug the code in repository by reporting any bugs. The more detailed the report the better. If you have a bug-fix or a unit-test, please create an issue under the "Issues" tab of this repository and someone will follow-up with it as soon as possible.

Likewise, if you would like to make a recommendation on how to improve the code in this repository, take the time to send a message so that it can be considered for an upcoming release. Or, if you would like to contribute to the development of this Objective-C SQLite repository, go ahead and create a fork.

You can also email any bug-fixes, unit-tests, or recommendations to

Known Issues

Usually, code is not posted to this SQLite repository unless it works; however, there are times when some code may get posted even though it still contains some bugs. When this occurs, every attempt will be made to list these known bugs in this README (if they are not already listed under the "Issues" tab).

At the current time, there are no known bugs. However, the "XML to DDL" schema processing is still being developed.


This Objective-C SQLite project is updated frequently with bug-fixes and new features. Be sure to add this repository to your watch list so that you can be notified when such updates are made. You can also request email notifications regarding updates by emailing

Future Development

This project is under heavy development. There are development plans to add:

  • Improved functionality to parse "XML to DDL" schema and raw SQLite statements into their SQL builder class equivalents;
  • More utilities (e.g. classes to handle validation, filtering, imports, exports, pagination, partitioning, and migration);
  • A database encryption layer for password protecting an SQLite database;
  • Unit-tests; and,
  • Additional tutorials and examples.

Help expand this list with your feedback.

License (Apache v2.0)

Copyright 2011-2015 Ziminji

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use these files except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at:

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.