Open Source Databases for Mobile Application Development

Choice of Open Source Databases for Mobile Application Development

Data is there in various formats and structures now, which is considered to be the lifeblood of the business world now. Data is there in varying volumes, getting generated every moment in our everyday lives. Productive data management is the biggest challenge for information technology management professionals now, for which one need to choose the right DBMS (database management system).

Organizations across the world now have a wide range of choices in terms of DBMSs. The biggest information technology corporations like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Amazon, Google, SAP, Rackspace, etc. offer high-end database solutions to address the users’ varying requirements. Unlike the conventional SQL databases, many providers now put forth their NoSQL database solutions to effectively handle unstructured data.

When it comes to storage of big data, they offer cloud-related data storage solutions, which can hugely cut down the cost involved in database administration. According to a Gartner study, about 92% of the available DBMS application’s revenue now comes from commercial software. New data is also finding a way to this open-source database spectrum, in which many new-age developers opt for more convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Open source and cloud databases

Open source and cloud databases are largely adopted now as these offer many benefits in terms of the database management needs of organizations of all sizes. As we can see, over the last decade, the DBMS space had been noticeably impacted by open source software and the SaaS (Software as a Service) model. Adoption of database software like MySQL and MariaDB etc. is now saving a lot of money and time for the organizations in terms of licensing and maintenance fees.

Over the last few years, different open-source databases have grown to a mature stage and adding to cost and time savings, they can offer many competent features, like tweaking and scaling data. Apart from acting as a strong backbone to enterprises for data storing, managing, and manipulating day-to-day business operations, open-source and cloud-based database management systems are becoming a solid choice for mobile application developers.

Mobile app databases

We can see how people are addicted to the mobile wave lately over the last decade. Mobile operating systems like Android and iOS have mainly gained in popularity and surpassed the Windows OS across the globe. As the mobile operating systems and hardware are becoming more powerful and simpler, the new-age smartphones are as smart and powerful as any other computing device. So, data generation and computation from mobile phones are also at an all-time high.

Databases are considered as the obvious way to sort and manipulate data. To start with, the mobile application databases are handled on the cloud’s server-side. Mobile devices only communicate with them over the network.But as time pass by, to make the mobile application less network-dependent and more responsive, there are many offline databases, too, as offered by RemoteDBA , which gain in popularity lately. Now, mobile apps can store the entire databases on phones or have options to keep data on cloud servers with synchronization enabled from time to time as the cellphones connect to the data servers. This will allow a faster response to mobile applications.

Top mobile databases

A mobile database can connect to the device over a Wi-Fi network. These databases are primarily categorized as those who are physically separate from the data server and reside on the local mobile device memory and communicate with the central database server. Like cloud database applications, local mobile databases can also respond to local queries without any connectivity.

Any sound mobile database management systems must meet the following primary requirements:

  • Functional with minimal memory
  • Flash-optimized data storage
  • Data syncing
  • Optimum security
  • Low battery consumption
  • Coordination through embeddable features

With the surge of mobile apps over the last few years, there are many mobile databases available now, making it challenging for the developers to choose the most appropriate database to satisfy the user needs. A few top open-source mobile application databases include, but not limited to, below.

  1. SQLite

SQLite is a reliable and fully-featured embedded DBMS that is available in the public domain. Unlike many other available DMBS applications, SQLite is not a client-server DBMS engine. It is highly popular as an application software store data from the front-end mobile applications. SQLite also offers many tools for handling various types of data with no constraints.

Major features of SQLite are:

  • SQLite does not require a separate server or system to operate. There is direct access to the storage files.
  • There is no configuration or setup needed as there is no server requirement.
  • SQLite is available for different platforms like Android, iOS, BSD, MAC, Windows, Solaris, and VxWorks, etc.
  • The entire database is contained in a single library, and it is integrated into a host application.
  1. ORMLite

ORM Lite (Object Relational Mapping Lite) is a simple application for mapping the Java objects to the SQL databases. It helps avoid any overhead to the other ORMs. Complicated SQL operations are simplified using SQL with a flexible query builder that provides powerful Database Access Object (DAO) classes.

This mobile database can support the JDBC connections to Postgres, MySQL, SQLite, H2, HSQLDB, Derby, and Microsoft SQL Server, etc. ORMLite is, however, bulkier than the SQLite and Realm databases, but function slower than those. It is, however, faster than ORM databases.

Top features of ORMLite are:

  • Offers a custom set of C# extension methods.
  • It has support for text blobs and indexes etc.
  • Supports multiple cross-platform databases like SQLite, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and Firebird, etc.
  • It has provisional support for Oracle, DB2, Netezza, and ODBC, etc.

Other top-rated mobile app databases are Berkeley DB (open source), ObjectBox DB (object-oriented embedded DB), Realm DB (Real Mobile Database, open-source), Couchbase Lite (featured open-source NoSQL DB), LevelDB (open source), UnQLite (open-source, NoSQL), Firebase etc. Each of these has its strengths and disadvantages to make it fit for certain usage. Ranging from e-com to fun apps, you can find a variety of databases to serve your purpose and to be chosen wisely.

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