*** DRAFT ***
The SQLITE_DBPAGE Virtual Table

1. Overview

The SQLITE_DBPAGE extension implements an eponymous-only virtual table that provides direct access to the underlying database file by interacting with the pager. SQLITE_DBPAGE is capable of both reading and writing any page of the database. Because interaction is through the pager layer, all changes are transactional.

Warning: writing to the SQLITE_DBPAGE virtual table can very easily cause unrecoverably database corruption. Do not allow untrusted components to access the SQLITE_DBPAGE table. Use appropriate care while using the SQLITE_DBPAGE table. Back up important data prior to experimenting with the SQLITE_DBPAGE table. Writes to the SQLITE_DBPAGE virtual table are disabled when the SQLITE_DBCONFIG_DEFENSIVE flag is set.

The SQLITE_DBPAGE extension is included in the amalgamation though it is disabled by default. Use the SQLITE_ENABLE_DBPAGE_VTAB compile-time option to enable the SQLITE_DBPAGE extension. The SQLITE_DBPAGE extension makes use of unpublished internal interfaces and is not run-time loadable. The only way to add SQLITE_DBPAGE to an application is to compile it in using the SQLITE_ENABLE_DBPAGE_VTAB compile-time option.

The SQLITE_DBPAGE extension is enabled in default builds of the command-line shell.

2. Usage

The SQLITE_DBPAGE virtual table read/write table that provides direct access to the underlying disk file on a page-by-page basis. The virtual table appears to have a schema like this:

CREATE TABLE sqlite_dbpage(
  data BLOB

An SQLite database file is divided into pages. The first page is 1, the second page is 2, and so forth. There is no page 0. Every page is the same size. The size of every page is a power of 2 between 512 and 65536. See the file format documentation for further details.

The SQLITE_DBPAGE table allows an application to view or replace the raw binary content of each page of the database file. No attempt is made to interpret the content of the page. Content is returned byte-for-byte as it appears on disk.

The SQLITE_DBPAGE table has one row for each page in the database file. SQLITE_DBPAGE allows pages to be read or to be overwritten. However the size of the database file cannot be changed. It is not possible to change the number of rows in the SQLITE_DBPAGE table by running DELETE or INSERT operations against that table.

2.1. Using SQLITE_DBPAGE On ATTACH-ed Databases

The SQLITE_DBPAGE table schema shown above is incomplete. There is a third hidden column named "schema" that determines which ATTACH-ed database should be read or written. Because the "schema" column is hidden, it can be used as a parameter when SQLITE_DBPAGE is invoked as a table-valued function.

For example, suppose an additional database is attached to the database connection using a statement like this:

ATTACH 'auxdata1.db' AS aux1;

Then to read the first page of that database file, one merely runs:

SELECT data FROM sqlite_dbpage('aux1') WHERE pgno=1;

If the "schema" is omitted, it defaults to the primary database (usually called 'main', unless renamed using SQLITE_DBCONFIG_MAINDBNAME). Hence, the following two queries are normally equivalent:

SELECT data FROM sqlite_dbpage('main') WHERE pgno=1;
SELECT data FROM sqlite_dbpage WHERE pgno=1;

The SQLITE_DBPAGE table can participate in a join just like any other table. Hence, to see the content of the first page to all connected database files, one might run a statement like this:

SELECT dbpage.data, dblist.name
  FROM pragma_database_list AS dblist
  JOIN sqlite_dbpage(dblist.name) AS dbpage
 WHERE dbpage.pgno=1;