SQLite Simple Folks: Overview

A set of SQL programming lessons using a tiny dataset of “simple folks” so that we can focus on the just the SQL syntax and concepts.

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Keeping things simple

I complain a lot about how boring public datasets can be. However, the bigger danger in your average public dataset is how much research it takes – including direct contact with government officials – to figure out all the gotchas and the limitations, nevermind the culture and workflow which makes the accuracy and integrity of data hard to discern.

To use an example outside of government, read "Distrust Your Data", by Jacob Harris, where a pornography company can't even count up its own page/video data, nevemrind its inadverdent slamming of Kansas.

Keeping things boring

So as another alternative to the various writeups and half-finished tutorials I'm presenting a set of tutorials/exercises in which the data is about as boring and meaningless as it gets: literally, things I made up in my head.

But because I made it up, I'm able to not bring in all of the annoying data-cleaning-issues that have virtually nothing to do with day-to-day SQL learning.

Names are hard

For example, the White House visitor log seems straightforward enough – it's just a giant list of names, how hard is to crunch in SQL to find who is visiting who?. Until you realize that there are way more than one person in American named Bill Ayers or Michael Jordan who also visited the White House. Or that the big players in the White House just do their work in Caribou Coffee.

Deal with the boring, painful stuff later

This badly named simplefolks.sqlite data file contains the simplest, inane kind of data I could think of: imaginary people, with imaginary homes and pets. But also, really, really simple:

  1. Everyone has just a first name that doesn't change.
  2. Everyone just goes by their first name, not some number like a SSN or IP address.
  3. People own pets and homes, sometimes more than one. But homes and pets don't have multiple owner

There's nothing interesting in this database, but the code and strategy is all the same.

The simplefolks SQLite database

For all of these lessons, we'll be using the painfully boring, small, and simple dataset that I've hand created:

What simplefolks.sqlite contains

The simplefolks.sqlite is SQLite3 database file that contains 3 tables, with 3 columns each. Each table and column isn't even bother worth elaborating beyond the labels:

  • people:
    • name: Everyone has just first name. And it is unique.
    • age: Just the age in years, as an integer)
    • sex: Erroneously simplified to M and F
  • homes:
    • owner_name: The first name of the person who owns the home.
    • area: A word for describing where the home exists, e.g. urban, suburbs, country
    • value: The value of the home, as an integer, in an unknown currency
  • pets:
    • name: The name of the pet.
    • type: e.g. dog, cat, bird
    • owner_name: The first name of the person who owns the pet.

What the simplefolks.sqlite raw data looks like

You can peruse it as a Google Spreadsheet. But the data is so basic, it's just easier dump every record and column into a HTML table, via the laziest SQL queries ever:

people table

A list of people. Here's how to see all the data at once in SQL:

SELECT * FROM people;
name sex age
Austin M 33
Blair M 90
Carolina F 28
Dani F 41
Donald M 70
Eliza F 37
Farida F 23
Georgina F 19
Hillary F 68
Leland M 16
Liam M 22
Michael M 48
Phoebe F 52
Sherry F 39
Zed M 42

homes table

A list of homes owned by the folks in people. Some people have more than one home:

SELECT * FROM homes;
owner_name area value
Austin urban 145000
Blair suburbs 95000
Carolina suburbs 220000
Carolina urban 190000
Dani country 67000
Donald urban 450000
Donald urban 260000
Donald urban 660000
Eliza urban 210000
Farida suburbs 180000
Georgina country 82000
Hillary country 380000
Hillary urban 400000
Liam suburbs 160000
Leland country 42000
Michael suburbs 160000
Michael country 82000
Phoebe urban 77000
Sherry urban 210000
Zed country 177000

pets table

Animals owned by people. Some people are lucky enough to have more than one pet:

name type owner_name
Maru cat Austin
Icey dog Blair
Maxie dog Blair
Rex dog Carolina
Harambe bird Dani
Syd dog Dani
Artemis cat Dani
Mr. Muggles cat Donald
Meowser cat Donald
Donald cat Donald
Hodor bird Eliza
Bumpkin horse Georgina
Secretariat horse Hillary
Socks dog Hillary
Sir Barks-Alot dog Liam
Harry Potter horse Leland
Xerses horse Michael
Zeus cat Michael
Rocket cat Phoebe
Kermit dog Sherry
Hector dog Sherry
Essy dog Sherry
Samwise dog Sherry
Jenkins horse Zed

Lessons and People Data




Select all the data from the people
Select just pet name and owner_name from pets




List the oldest person in people
List the 3 most expensive homes in homes




List all the dogs in alphabetical order of their owners' names
List the 3 most expensive homes in the country
List all pets whose names start with a P or end with an E

More practice with conditional logic



List all people in alphabetical order of name, who are older than 30 but younger than 60
List all pets whose names start with a P or end with an E
List all people whose names start with a vowel

Functions and Aliasing column names



List all people in alphabetical order of name, who are older than 30 but younger than 60
List all pets whose names start with a P or end with an E
List all people whose names start with a vowel

GROUP BY and Aggregate functions


List the count of males and females in people
List the count of types of pets in pets
Find the average home value in homes
Who owns the most number of homes and pets?
Who owns the highest cumulative value of homes?

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