This section describes how databases are created in DBFlow and some more advanced features.

Creating a Database

In DBFlow, creating a database is as simple as only a few lines of code. DBFlow supports any number of databases, however individual tables and other related files can only be associated with one database. Note: Starting with DBFlow 5.0, databases are required to extend DBFlowDatabase.

@Database(version = 1)
abstract class AppDatabase : DBFlowDatabase()

Referencing the Database

To grab a reference to the DB object:

val db = database<AppDatabase>()

// can utilize in a closure
database<AppDatabase> { db ->

  db.beginTransactionAsync { d -> }

// or old-school way
val db = FlowManager.getDatabase(


To specify a custom name to the database, in previous versions of DBFlow (< 4.1.0), you had to specify it in the @Database annotation. As of 5.0 now you pass it in the initialization of the FlowManager:

FlowManager.init(context) {
    database<AppDatabase> {

To dynamically change the database name, call:


This will close the open DB, reopen the DB, and replace previous DatabaseConfig with this new one. Ensure that you persist the changes to the DatabaseConfig somewhere as next time app is launched and DBFlow is initialized, the new config would get overwritten.

In Memory Databases

As with name, in previous versions of DBFlow (< 5.0), you specified inMemory in the @Database annotation. Starting with 5.0 that is replaced with:

FlowManager.init(context) {
  inMemoryDatabase<AppDatabase> {

This will allow you to use in-memory databases in your tests, while writing to disk in your apps. Also if your device the app is running on is low on memory, you could also swap the DB into memory by calling reopen(DatabaseConfig) as explained above.

Database Migrations

Database migrations are run when upon open of the database connection, the version number increases on an existing database.

It is preferred that Migration files go in the same file as the database, for organizational purposes. An example migration:

@Database(version = 2)
abstract class AppDatabase : DBFlowDatabase() {

  @Migration(version = 2, database = MigrationDatabase::class)
  class AddEmailToUserMigration : AlterTableMigration<User>( {

    override fun onPreMigrate() {
        addColumn(SQLiteType.TEXT, "email")

This simple example adds a column to the User table named "email". In code, just add the column to the Model class and this migration runs only on existing dbs. To read more on migrations and more examples of different kinds, visit the page.

Advanced Database features

This section goes through features that are for more advanced use of a database, and may be very useful.

Prepackaged Databases

To include a prepackaged database for your application, simply include the ".db" file in src/main/assets/{databaseName}.db. On creation of the database, we copy over the file into the application for usage. Since this is prepackaged within the APK, we cannot delete it once it's copied over, which can bulk up your raw APK size. Note this is only copied over on initial creation of the database for the app.

Global Conflict Handling

In DBFlow when an INSERT or UPDATE are performed, by default, we use NONE. If you wish to configure this globally, you can define it to apply for all tables from a given database:

@Database(version = 2, insertConflict = ConflictAction.IGNORE, updateConflict = ConflictAction.REPLACE)
abstract class AppDatabase : DBFlowDatabase()

These follow the SQLite standard here.

Integrity Checking

Databases can get corrupted or in an invalid state at some point. If you specify consistencyChecksEnabled=true It runs a PRAGMA quick_check(1) whenever the database is opened. If it fails, you should provide a backup database that it will copy over. If not, we wipe the internal database. Note that during this time in case of failure we create a third copy of the database in case transfer fails.

Custom FlowSQLiteOpenHelper

For variety of reasons, you may want to provide your own FlowSQLiteOpenHelper to manage database interactions. To do so, you must implement OpenHelper, but for convenience you should extend AndroidSQLiteOpenHelper (for Android databases), or SQLCipherOpenHelper for SQLCipher. Read more here

class CustomFlowSQliteOpenHelper(context: Contect, databaseDefinition: DatabaseDefinition, listener: DatabaseHelperListener) : FlowSQLiteOpenHelper(context, databaseDefinition, listener)

Then in your DatabaseConfig:

FlowManager.init(context) {
  database<CipherDatabase> {

Database Configuration DSL

As of 5.0.0-alpha2, you can configure a database via a DSL rather than use the FlowConfig.Builder , DatabaseConfig.Builder, and TableConfig.Builder. This allows more readable, expressive syntax.

Initializing DBFlow:

FlowManager.init(context) { 
  // this is FlowConfig.Builder
  database<AppDatabase> {
    // this is DatabaseConfig.Builder
    table<MyTable> {
      // this is TableConfig.Builder
  // other module dbs

By utilizing Kotlin DSL, this code is more straightforward, concise, and readable.

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