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Android to Windows Phone 8: Working with a SQL Database

Over the next several posts I’ll show you how to work with local data on the Windows Phone 8 platform and compare it to working with data on the Android platform.

There are times when key-value pairs and/or files won’t meet your need for data storage. Specifically, when you’re dealing with structured data that is repeated, such as events on a calendar. For this type of information you’ll want to use a relational store. This relational store is typically a SQL database. Both Android and Windows Phone 8 support using the SQLite relational database engine. This section assumes you have familiarity working with SQLite on Android.

Installing SQLite

The first thing you’ll need to do is install the SQLite for Windows Phone apps. This can be done by downloading the SQLite for Windows Phone package

  1. In Visual Studio, click the Tools menu, then click Extensions and Updates

  2. In the tree on the left of the Extensions and Updates window, click Online, then click Visual Studio Gallery.
  3. Next, type sqlite in the search box in the upper right hand corner and press Enter.
  4. The SQLite for Windows Phone package should appear. Click Download.

  5. You will then be prompted to click Install. Do so.

  6. Once the package is installed you will need to restart Visual Studio
ANDROID HINT
The SQLite for Windows Package package is similar to the android.database.sqlite package.

Adding a Reference to SQLite

Now that SQLite is installed you need to add a reference to it from you project.

  1. Right click the References folder in your Windows Phone project and click Add Reference…

  2. In the tree on the left hand side of the Reference Manager windows, expand the Windows Phone and the Extensions nodes.
  3. Then select both the SQLite for Windows Phone and click OK.

  4. You should now see the extension appear under the References folder for you project.

Getting Helper Classes

The last thing you’ll want to do is obtain some helper classes that make working with SQLite a bit easier. There are a number available for Windows Phone applications. The ones I prefer to use come from the sqlite-net library.

The sqlite-net library can be obtained from NuGet via the following steps

VISUAL STUDIO TIP
NuGet is a free and open source package manager for the .NET Framework.
  1. Right click on the References folder in you Windows Phone project and click Manage NuGet Packages…


  2. Expand the Online node in the left hand side of the Window.
  3. Enter sqlite in the search box in the upper right hand side of Window and press Enter.
  4. Select sqlite-net and click Install.


  5. Two source files will be added to your project: SQLite.cs and SQLiteAsync.cs.


  6. If you look in your Error List you’ll see a number of errors. This is due the fact that sqlite-net is dependent on csharp-sqlite which has not been ported to Windows Phone 8.


  7. To work around this you’ll need to use the sqlite-net-wp8 native C++ project. You’ll first need to go to the project’s repository on github and download the zip version of the repository.


  8. Right-click the downloaded zip file, click Properties, click Unblock, and click OK.


  9. Unzip the content.
  10. In the Solution Explorer in Visual Studio, right-click the solution and choose Add, then choose Existing Project.


  11. In the Add Existing Project dialog, brose to the location where you unzipped the content in step, select the Sqlite.vcxproj file, and click Open.


  12. You should now see the Sqlite project in your solution.


  13. You now need to add a reference to the Sqlite project to your Windows Phone project. Right-click the References folder of your Windows Phone project and click Add


  14. In the Reference Manager dialog select Solution from the tree on the left-had side, select Projects.
  15. Check the box next to the Sqlite project and click OK.


  16. The last step is to add a compiler directive to the Windows Phone project. Right-click the Windows Phone project in Solution Explorer and click Properties


  17. Click Build and add the following to the conditional compilation symbols text box: ;USE_WP8_NATIVE_SQLITE


  18. Build your solution by pressing F6. You should now see a Build succeeded message and no errors in the Error List.


Using SQLite

In the last part of this section we’ll look at how to perform some basic tasks with SQLite in your Windows Phone application.

Creating a Table

The first step you’ll need to take is to create a table that your application will use. For the sake of example, let’s say your application is storing blog posts in a SQLite table. Using the sqlite-net package you obtained in the last section, you can define the table by simply writing a class.

public class Post
{
 [PrimaryKey]
 public int Id { get; set; }
 public string Title { get; set; }
 public string Text { get; set; }
}

The PrimaryKey attributes come from the sqlite-net package. There are a number of attributes that the package provides that allow you to define the table’s schema.

Once the table is defined it needs to be created, which can be done like this:

private async void CreateTable()
{
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 await conn.CreateTableAsync<Post>();
}

The “blog” parameter in the constructor for the SQLiteAsyncConnection class simply specifies the path to the SQLite database.

The Post type specified in the call to the CreateTableAsync method specifies the type of table that should be created. This maps back to the Post class created earlier.

Android tip
In Android you would create a table that extends the SQLiteOpenHelper class that contains the following method:

public void onCreate(SQLiteDatabase db) {  
 db.execSQL("CREATE TABLE Post ( Id INTEGER PRIMARY KEY, Title TEXT, Text TEXT )");
}
Inserting a Record

Now that the table is created, records can be added to it with the following code:

public async void InsertPost(Post post)
{
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 await conn.InsertAsync(post);
}
ANDROID HINT
In Android you could insert the record with the following code:

public void insertPost(SQLiteDatabase db, String title, String text ) { 
 ContentValues values = new ContentValues();
 values.put("Title", title);
 values.put("Text", text);
 long newRowId;
 newRowId = db.insert("Post", null, values);
}
Retrieving Records

Retrieve all records from the table with the following:

public async Task<List<Post>> GetPosts()
{
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 var query = conn.Table<Post>();
 var result = await query.ToListAsync();
 return result;
}
ANDROID HINT
In Android you could return a Cursor object containing all records using the following:

public Cursor getPosts(SQLiteDatabase db){
 String[] projection = {"Id", "Title", "Text" };
 Cursor c = db.query("Post", projection, null, null, null, null, null);
 return c;
}

Retrieve a single record from the table with the following:

public async Task<Post> GetPost(int id)
{ 
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 var query = conn.Table<Post>().Where(x => x.Id == id);
 var result = await query.ToListAsync();
 return result.FirstOrDefault();
}
ANDROID HINT
The following will retrieve a single record in Android:

public Cursor getPost(SQLiteDatabase db, Integer id){
 String[] projection = {"Id", "Title", "Text" };
 String selection = "Id LIKE ?";
 String[] selelectionArgs = { String.valueOf(id) };
 Cursor c = db.query( "Post", projection, selection, selectionArgs, null, null, null);
 return c;
}
Updating a Record

Updating a record requires the following code:

public async void UpdatePost(Post post)
{
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 await conn.UpdateAsync(post);
}
ANDROID HINT
In Android you could update the record with the following code:

public void updatePost(SQLiteDatabase db, Integer id, String title, String text ) {
 ContentValues values = new ContentValues();
 values.put("Title", title);
 values.put("Text", text);
 String selection = "Id LIKE ?";
 String[] selelectionArgs = { String.valueOf(id) };
 int count = db.update("Post, values, selection, selectionArgs);
}
Deleting a Record

A record can be delete with the following:

public async void DeletePost(Post post)
{
 SQLiteAsyncConnection conn = new SQLiteAsyncConnection("blog");
 await conn.DeleteAsync(post);
}
ANDROID HINT
In Android you could delete the record with the following code:

public void deletePost(SQLiteDatabase db, Integer id ) {  
 String selection = "Id LIKE ?";
 String[] selelectionArgs = { String.valueOf(id) };
 db.delete("Post", selection, selectionArgs);
}

Additional Resources

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More Stories By Adam Grocholski

Hey there! My name is Adam Grocholski, and I'm a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft where I spend time focusing on Windows, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota and run thinkfirstcodelater.com. You can also follow me on twitter at @codel8r.

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