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RDBMS access via IPython

Project description

Author: Catherine Devlin,

Introduces a %sql (or %%sql) magic.

Connect to a database, using SQLAlchemy connect strings, then issue SQL commands within IPython or IPython Notebook.

screenshot of ipython-sql in the Notebook


In [1]: %load_ext sql

In [2]: %%sql postgres://will:longliveliz@localhost/shakes
   ...: select * from character
   ...: where abbrev = 'ALICE'
Out[2]: [(u'Alice', u'Alice', u'ALICE', u'a lady attending on Princess Katherine', 22)]

In [3]: result = _

In [4]: print(result)
charid   charname   abbrev                description                 speechcount
Alice    Alice      ALICE    a lady attending on Princess Katherine   22

In [4]: result.keys
Out[5]: [u'charid', u'charname', u'abbrev', u'description', u'speechcount']

In [6]: result[0][0]
Out[6]: u'Alice'

In [7]: result[0].description
Out[7]: u'a lady attending on Princess Katherine'

After the first connection, connect info can be omitted:

In [8]: %sql select count(*) from work
Out[8]: [(43L,)]

Connections to multiple databases can be maintained. You can refer to an existing connection by username@database:

In [9]: %%sql will@shakes
   ...: select charname, speechcount from character
   ...: where  speechcount = (select max(speechcount)
   ...:                       from character);
Out[9]: [(u'Poet', 733)]

In [10]: print(_)
charname   speechcount
Poet       733

You may use multiple SQL statements inside a single cell, but you will only see any query results from the last of them, so this really only makes sense for statements with no output:

In [11]: %%sql sqlite://
   ....: CREATE TABLE writer (first_name, last_name, year_of_death);
   ....: INSERT INTO writer VALUES ('William', 'Shakespeare', 1616);
   ....: INSERT INTO writer VALUES ('Bertold', 'Brecht', 1956);
Out[11]: []


Connection strings are SQLAlchemy standard.

Some example connection strings:



Query results are loaded as lists, so very large result sets may use up your system’s memory. There is no autolimit by default.

You can set an autolimit by adding this to your file:

c.SqlMagic.autolimit = 1000

You can similarly change the table printing style to any of prettytable’s defined styles (currently DEFAULT, MSWORD_FRIENDLY, PLAIN_COLUMNS, RANDOM): = 'PLAIN_COLUMNS'

You can create and find your file from the command line:

ipython profile create
ipython locate profile

See for more details on IPython configuration.


Once your data is in IPython, you may want to manipulate it with Pandas:

In [3]: import pandas as pd

In [4]: result = %sql SELECT * FROM character WHERE speechcount > 25

In [5]: dataframe = pd.DataFrame(result, columns=result.keys)




Release date: 21-Mar-2013

  • Initial release


Release date: 29-Mar-2013

  • Release to PyPI
  • Results returned as lists
  • print(_) to get table form in text console
  • set autolimit and text wrap in configuration


Release date: 29-Mar-2013

  • Python 3 compatibility
  • use prettyprint package
  • allow multiple SQL per cell

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