SQLite, Core Data and Realm: Which one to Choose for iOS Database?

by Rohit Radhakrishnan

on December 15, 2017

iOS application development firms pay attention to several factors in order to build a successful mobile App. If we go to enlist the important ones, UI / UX design, robust code and fast responding database are majorly responsible for developing a fully functioning mobile app.

Craze for iOS Apps among People

Number of options available for designs as well as choices in database has increased over time. This is because of the growing popularity and craze of iOS apps in the market. Utility apps along with entertainment and gaming ones always have a room in iPhones.

iOS app development field is growing by leaps and bounds. Considering the increased use of iOS apps by iPhone users, developers are constantly striving to come up with more robust apps for the convenience of users.

Does the Performance of Mobile App Depend on Database?

One factor that determines the performance of mobile apps is its responsiveness to search queries. The faster it responses, better is the performance. Successful search results depend on the efficiency of database that is used for storing data of the app.

SQLite and Core Data have been common choices for iOS database until the release of Realm. This new player has advanced features that provide greater flexibility to developers in the creation of world class iOS applications.

Let’s take a deeper look into all 3 databases, which would by default make it clear as to which database offer greater convenience and improved performance:

1. SQLite

This open source database has been widely used by developers for creating mobile applications for Mac OS-X, iOS, Android, Linux, and Windows platforms. The simplicity of use and user-friendly interface of SQLite is what attracts maximum developers to this database.

Why Should you Choose SQLite?

Following pointers explains the reasons to choose SQLite as your database partner:

  • No hassle of configuration
  • No server restrictions (independent from server)
  • Easy storage of data in tables with multiple columns
  • Easy and secured access to data from multiple threads

2. Core Data

This is another majorly used database storage used for iOS applications. While SQLite focuses majorly on traditional table storage contents, Core Data stores contents of an object in a detailed manner. Thus the choice of database when made on the basis of storage content is more logical.

Significant Features of Core Data:

Core Data has faster responsiveness and thus performs better than SQLite

Space utilization is greater in Core Data when compared to SQLite

Core Data uses more memory for storage of contents than SQLite

3. Realm

This is a relatively new database that is, off recently, being increasingly used by iOS developers considering the benefits it offers. There is no doubt to the fact that Realm is faster and more efficient than SQLite and Core Data.

Being cross platform mobile database, Realm is available for both iOS as well as Android. One noteworthy fact is that Realm is compatible only with versions iOS 8 or OS X 10.9, not below it.

Advantages with Realm:

  • Minimal code is required to handle all the work
  • Available in Object C as well as Swift
  • Faster performance than SQLite and Core Data
  • Easy sharing of database files between iOS and Android
  • No cost, free of charge
  • No limit to data storing
  • Consistent speed and performance irrespective of large data sets and enormous storage

Realm: The Most Preferred Choice of Developers

Pros and cons discussed above makes it clear why Realm is the most preferred choice of database for iOS developers. There are several other benefits of using Realm database from technical point of view, which can be best experienced by using it at first hand on your own.

What is Realm?

Realm is a cross-platform mobile database designed specifically for mobile applications. It’s lightweight and very simple to integrate in your project. Realm is built to be better and faster than his competitors SQLite and Core Data, easy to use and everything you need will be accomplished in just a couple of lines of code.

Simple saving. Fast queries. Save weeks of development time.

Realm Mobile Database is the best alternative to SQLite and Core Data. Thanks to its zero-copy design, Realm Mobile Database is much faster than an ORM, and often faster than raw SQLite. Get started in minutes, not hours. Realm is the best choice for your mobile database.

The perfect backend for the next generation of reactive mobile apps

The Realm Mobile Platform delivers automatic and seamless realtime data sync and powerful event handling between server and devices. You never need to think about networking code again.

The Realm Mobile Database is cross-platform, supporting both iOS and Android, and the Realm Object Server is ready to run on your servers or on your favorite cloud. Trusted by Fortune 500 mainstays, innovative startups, and #1‑ranked app store successes, Realm is built into apps used by hundreds of millions of people every day.

How it works?

The Realm Mobile Platform combines the new Realm Object Server with our popular Realm Mobile Database.

  • Realm Sync Engine
    • Automatic two-way data synchronization and conflict resolution.

  • Realm Object Store
    • Persist and manage data as objects mirrored on mobile devices.

  • Dashboard
    • Monitor and manage your entire system at a glance.

  • Realm Event Framework
    • Trigger server-side events in response to data changes.

  • Realm Authentication System
    • Identify users with prebuilt mechanism or use your own.

  • Realm Access Control
    • Grant users the permissions they need for reading and writing data.

  • Realm Mobile Database
    • Embedded object database for mobile apps. Realm Mobile Platform extensions allow synchronization of live objects with Realm Object Server.

    • Sync available for Realm Java, Realm Objective‑C & Realm Swift. Coming soon for Realm React Native & Realm Xamarin.

 How can you build better apps, faster?

   Realtime collaboration

    • Create realtime collaboration experiences, similar to Google Docs.

  • Two-way data sync

    • Realtime data synchronization with automatic conflict resolution.

  • Data push
    • Update client databases effortlessly with automated data push.

  • Messaging

    • Share text, images, maps, or custom data. No server work needed.

  • API bridge

    • Easily connect your mobile apps to existing system and APIs.

  • Presence

    • Know when users are online and track state.

 Offline first

 Data is stored locally in the Realm Mobile Database, which means that each device can fully function when offline, then re-sync when the network comes back. The Realm Mobile Platform handles the complexities of network state and conflict management, which means you never have to worry about server errors, JSON decoding, or conflict resolution.

On-premises or public cloud

Realm Object Server can be deployed on-premises or in the public cloud (like AWS, Azure, and other popular options). Integrate existing infrastructure with Realm Object Server to connect current and legacy systems to your mobile apps.

 Build reactive apps

Realm objects are always live, which means that they always have the latest data. Subscribe to notifications to get updates when data changes, then update your UI. Your app will never be out of date again.

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