Oracle Berkeley DB 4.8, 5.3, 6.2 and 18.1 Python Extension Package¶
This is a simple bit of documentation for the berkeleydb.db Python extension module which wraps the Oracle Berkeley DB C library. The extension module is located in a Python package along with a few pure python modules.
It is expected that this module will be used in the following general ways by different programmers in different situations. The goals of this module are to allow all of these methods without making things too complex for the simple cases, and without leaving out funtionality needed by the complex cases.
Backwards compatibility: It is desirable for this package to be a near drop-in replacement for the berkeleydb module shipped with Python which is designed to wrap either DB 1.85, or the 1.85 compatibility interface. This means that there will need to be equivalent object creation functions available, (btopen(), hashopen(), and rnopen()) and the objects returned will need to have the same or at least similar methods available, (specifically, first(), last(), next(), and prev() will need to be available without the user needing to explicitly use a cursor.) All of these have been implemented in Python code in the berkeleydb.__init__.py module.
Simple persistent dictionary: One small step beyond the above. The programmer may be aware of and use the new DB object type directly, but only needs it from a single process and thread. The programmer should not have to be bothered with using a DBEnv, and the DB object should behave as much like a dictionary as possible.
Concurrent access dictionaries: This refers to the ability to simultaneously have one writer and multiple readers of a DB (either in multiple threads or processes) and is implemented simply by creating a DBEnv with certain flags. No extra work is required to allow this access mode in berkeleydb.
Advanced transactional data store: This mode of use is where the full capabilities of the Oracle Berkeley DB library are called into action. The programmer will probably not use the dictionary access methods as much as the regular methods of the DB object, so he can pass transaction objects to the methods. Again, most of this advanced functionality is activated simply by opening a DBEnv with the proper flags, and also by using transactions and being aware of and reacting to deadlock exceptions, etc.
The berkeleydb.db extension module provides the following object types:
DB: The basic database object, capable of Hash, BTree, Recno, Queue and Heap access methods.
DBEnv: Provides a Database Environment for more advanced database use. Apps using transactions, logging, concurrent access, etc. will need to have an environment object.
DBCursor: A pointer-like object used to traverse a database.
DBTxn: A database transaction. Allows for multi-file commit, abort and checkpoint of database modifications.
DBLock: An opaque handle for a lock. See DBEnv.lock_get() and DBEnv.lock_put(). Locks are not necessarily associated with anything in the database, but can be used for any syncronization task across all threads and processes that have the DBEnv open.
DBSequence: Sequences provide an arbitrary number of persistent objects that return an increasing or decreasing sequence of integers. Opening a sequence handle associates it with a record in a database.
DBSite: Site object for Replication Manager.
Top level functions¶
The Oracle Berkeley DB C API uses function return codes to signal various errors. The berkeleydb.db module checks for these error codes and turns them into Python exceptions, allowing you to use familiar try:… except:… constructs and not have to bother with checking every method’s return value.
Each of the error codes is turned into an exception specific to that error code, as outlined in the table below. If you are using the C API documentation then it is very easy to map the error return codes specified there to the name of the Python exception that will be raised. Simply refer to the table below.
Each exception derives from the DBError exception class so if you just want to catch generic errors you can use DBError to do it. Since DBNotFoundError is raised when a given key is not found in the database, DBNotFoundError also derives from the standard KeyError exception to help make a DB look and act like a dictionary. We do the same trick with DBKeyEmptyError.
When any of these exceptions is raised, the associated value is a tuple containing an integer representing the error code and a string for the error message itself.
Base class, all others derive from this
When trying to use a closed cursor
DB_KEYEMPTY (also derives from KeyError)
DB_NOTFOUND (also derives from KeyError)
Other Package Modules¶
dbshelve.py: This is an implementation of the standard Python shelve concept for storing objects that uses berkeleydb specifically, and also exposes some of the more advanced methods and capabilities of the underlying DB.
dbtables.py: This is a module by Gregory Smith that implements a simplistic table structure on top of a DB.
dbutils.py: A catch-all for python code that is generally useful when working with DB’s
dbobj.py: Contains subclassable versions of DB and DBEnv.
dbrecio.py: Contains the DBRecIO class that can be used to do partial reads and writes from a DB record using a file-like interface. Contributed by Itamar Shtull-Trauring.
A full unit test suite is being developed to exercise the various object types, their methods and the various usage modes described in the introduction. PyUnit is used and the tests are structured such that they can be run unattended and automated. There are currently 482 test cases! (March 2010)
See the C language API online documentation on Oracle’s website for more details of the functionality of each of these methods. The names of all the Python methods should be the same or similar to the names in the C API.
Oracle Berkeley DB is very powerful and versatile, but it is complex to use correctly. Oracle documentation is very complete. Please, review it.
NOTE: All the methods shown below having more than one keyword argument are actually implemented using keyword argument parsing, so you can use keywords to provide optional parameters as desired. Those that have only a single optional argument are implemented without keyword parsing to help keep the implementation simple. If this is too confusing let me know and I’ll think about using keywords for everything.