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Single-file Cross-platform Database

A database in SQLite is a single disk file¹. Furthermore, the file format is cross-platform. A database that is created on one machine can be copied and used on a different machine with a different architecture. SQLite databases are portable across 32-bit and 64-bit machines and between big-endian and little-endian architectures.

The SQLite database file format is also stable. All releases of SQLite version 3 can read and write database files created by the very first SQLite 3 release (version 3.0.0) going back to 2004-06-18. This is "backwards compatibility". The developers promise to maintain backwards compatibility of the database file format for all future releases of SQLite 3. "Forwards compatibility" means that older releases of SQLite can also read and write databases created by newer releases. SQLite is usually, but not completely forwards compatible.

The stability of the SQLite database file format and the fact that the file format is cross-platform combine to make SQLite database files an excellent choice as an Application File Format.


  1. Temporary journal files are created as part of transaction control, but those extra files are not part of the steady-state database.