Chris Padilla/Blog / Tech

Connecting SQL with Python

A great deal of data flexibility is made available through MongoDB's aggregations.

When it comes to SQL, that same ability to query and combine data is a first-class process by nature of the language itself.

Combine that with a scripting language like python, and the possibilities continue to open up!

Here are the basics to getting started with passing SQL queries in from Python.

Setting Up

A bit of installing needs to be done first:

  • You may need to pip install mysqlclient so that the ORM can pick up your mysql config.
  • You may also need to download mysql through homebrew.
  • Lastly, I think it's helpful to have the MySQL workbench GUI.

To setup mysql on the command line after install, you'll want to login with this command:

$ mysql -u root -p

Leaving the password flag blank by default on first login, though this can be changed later.

SQLAlchemy & MySQL Workbench

SQLAlchemy will be the ORM of choice for this post. There are other great options, though I personally chose this because it has first class support in the Pandas method DataFrame.to_sql().

The nice thing about using an ORM is you have access to methods that simplify queries down to a single call.

#Equivalent to 'SELECT * FROM schools'
query =[schools])

Sometimes, though, you have to open up the hood and write more intricate queries yourself.

Writing the Script

Ok! The fun part begins!

In an environment variable, set your connection url:


Above I've already created a DB, so I'm skipping that step here. You can programmatically do this through Python and the steps looking similar to create_db_connection below.

We'll pass that url into our create_db_connection method:

from sqlalchemy import create_engine
from sqlalchemy.sql import text
from sqlalchemy.orm import Session

def create_db_connection(url):
  connection = None
    connection = create_engine(url)
    print("MySQL Database Connection Successful 👍")
  except Error as err:
    print(f"Error: '{err}'")
  return connection

While we're at it, let's write our method for executing a query and reading a result:

def execute_query(connection, query):
    with connection.connect() as session:
      print('Query Successful')
  except Error as err:
      print(f"Error: '{err}")

def read_query(connection, query):
  result = None
      with connection.connect() as session:
        result = session.execute(query)
        return result
  except Error as err:
      print(f"Error: '{err}'")

If you'd like to pass in values dynamically, you can use the text module. Here's an example form this article:

from sqlalchemy.sql import text
with engine.connect() as con:

    data = ( { "id": 1, "title": "The Hobbit", "primary_author": "Tolkien" },
             { "id": 2, "title": "The Silmarillion", "primary_author": "Tolkien" },

    statement = text("""INSERT INTO book(id, title, primary_author) VALUES(:id, :title, :primary_author)""")

    for line in data:
        con.execute(statement, **line)

For us, though, a raw string works just as well:

pop_client = """
(101, 'Starbucks', '123 Cool St., Dallas TX', 'Fast Food'),
(102, 'Cava', '27 Yum Dr., Austin TX', 'Lunch'),
(103, 'Flavor Town',  '20 W Good Food Lane, Houston TX', 'Dine In'),

One reason to use MySQL workbench here is that it's WAY easier to debug through their console than to do it within our Python program. So, as you're writing queries, I would recommend giving them a whirl in the GUI first.

After confirming the above insert works in the GUI, you can clear it by truncating the table:


From here, it's as easy as calling our methods:

connection = create_db_connection(url)

q1 = text("""
FROM client;

execute_query(connection, pop_client)
results_first = read_query(connection, q1)

for row in results_first:

Reading and writing, done! From here, the only limits are your SQL savvy and your python chops.