Up and Running With Realm for Android

In this post, we are going to see in detail about Realm for Android. The realm is a lightweight database which is a very good alternative to SQLite and ORM Libraries in all of your Android Projects. Basically, Realm is a Multi-version Concurrency Control based database that is super fast and very easy to use.

Some of the major reasons to opt in for Realm over the other databases are mentioned below

Speed: Realm is much faster than its alternatives available in the market. This can be established from the speed test results of quiita.com. This shows the queries each DB can fetch in a second.

Ease of use: This is another major factor that substantiates the use of Realm over the other applications. Although the tools like core-data are powerful, the usage is convoluted and consumes a lot of time. In that area Realm scores, a straight shot and eases the difficulty of a user. Also, the presence of Realm browser helps a lot in exploring and editing the content.

Cross platform support: Cross-platform support is one of the major advantage Realm gives to the developers. Using the same data tools and models for both Android and iOS means saving a lot of resource time. This is will definitely change from a must needed feature in the upcoming period. As an early adopter in a database, Realm will have the first mover advantage.

Detailed documentation: Above all the features, Realm is available for free which makes it easy for anyone to experiment and adopt. Another biggest advantage over other platforms is that Realm is well documented.

Now let us see how to add Realm in an Android project in detail. This will give you a detailed explanation of the process involved.

1. Adding Realm to a Project

To use Realm in an Android project, you need to add it as a compile dependency in the app module’sbuild.gradle file.

compile ‘io.realm:realm-android:0.84.1’

2. Creating a Realm

Realm tools are similar to SQLite database. It has a file associated with it, which, once created, will persist on Android’s file system.

in order to create a new one, you can call the static Realm.getInstance method from inside any Activity.

Realm myRealm = Realm.getInstance(context);

Note that calling Realm.getInstance, without passing a RealmConfiguration to it, results in the creation of a Realm file called default.realm.

If you want to add another Realm to your app, you must use a RealmConfiguration.Builder object and give the Realm file a unique name.

Realm myOtherRealm =         Realm.getInstance(
  new RealmConfiguration.Builder(context)
  .name("myOtherRealm.realm")
  .build()
  );

3. Creating a RealmObject

JavaBean can be stored in a Realm once it extends to the RealmObject class. If you are wondering what a JavaBean might be, it is simply a Java class that is serializable which has a default constructor and has getter/setter methods for its member variables. For example, instances of the following class can be easily stored in a Realm:

public class Country extends RealmObject {
  private String name;
  private int population;
  public Country() { }
  public String getName() {
  return name;
  }

public void setName(String name) {
  this.name = name;
  }

public int getPopulation() {
  return population;
  }

public void setPopulation(int population) {
  this.population = population;
  }

}

If you want to use a member variable of a RealmObject as a primary key, you can use the @PrimaryKey annotation. For example, here’s how you would add a primary key called code to the Country class:

@PrimaryKey
  private String code;
  public String getCode() {
  return code;
  }

public void setCode(String code) {
  this.code = code;
  }

4. Creating Transactions

While reading data from a Realm is very simple, as you will see in the next step, writing data to it is slightly more complex. The realm is ACID compliant and to ensure atomicity and consistency, Realm forces you to execute all write operations inside a transaction.

To start a new transaction, use the beginTransaction method. Similarly, to end the transaction, use thecommitTransaction method.

Here’s how you would create and save an instance of the Country class:

myRealm.beginTransaction();

// Create an object

Country country1 = myRealm.createObject(Country.class);

// Set its fields

country1.setName("Norway");
  country1.setPopulation(5165800);
  country1.setCode("NO");
  myRealm.commitTransaction();

You might have noticed that country1 was not created using the constructor of the Country class. For a Realm to manage an instance of a RealmObject, the instance must be created using the createObjectmethod.

If you must use the constructor, don’t forget to use the copyToRealm method of the relevant Realm object before you commit the transaction. Here’s an example:

// Create the object

Country country2 = new Country();
  country2.setName("Russia");
  country2.setPopulation(146430430);
  country2.setCode("RU");
  myRealm.beginTransaction();
  Country copyOfCountry2 = myRealm.copyToRealm(country2);
  myRealm.commitTransaction();

5. Writing Queries

Realm offers a very intuitive and fluent API for creating queries. To create a query, use the where method of the relevant Realm object and pass the class of the objects you are interested in. After creating the query, you can fetch all results using the findAll method, which returns a RealmResults object. In the following example, we fetch and print all objects of type Country:

RealmResults<Country> results1 =
  myRealm.where(Country.class).findAll();
  for(Country c:results1) {
  Log.d("results1", c.getName());
  }

// Prints Norway, Russia

Realm offers several aptly named methods, such as beginsWith, endsWith, lesserThan and greaterThan, you can use to filter the results. The following code shows you how you can use the greaterThan method to fetch only those Country objects whose population is greater than 100 million:

RealmResults<Country> results2 =
  myRealm.where(Country.class)
  .greaterThan("population", 100000000)
  .findAll();  

// Gets only Russia

If you want the results of the query to be sorted, you can use the findAllSorted method. As its arguments, it takes a String specifying the name of the field to sort by and a boolean specifying the sort order.

// Sort by name, in descending order

RealmResults<Country> results3 =
  myRealm.where(Country.class)
  .findAllSorted("name", false);

// Gets Russia, Norway

Reference link: https://realm.io/docs/java/latest/

Android Team,
Mallow Technologies.

2 Comments

  1. Jayaprakash

    Good tutorial.

    Is the migrations are easy to deal with Realm?

  2. Manikandan

    Yes, Realm database is there in the Migrations concepts. Please check the given below link :
    https://realm.io/docs/java/latest/#migrations

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