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The Zonefile Extension


Creating Zonefile Files

To create a new zonefile, first create a database table with the following schema:

  frame INTEGER DEFAULT -1,   -- frame number.  Automatic if -1
  idx INTEGER DEFAULT -1,     -- index of entry within frame.  Auto if -1
  v BLOB

The table may be created in a persistent or temporary database and may take any name, but must contain the columns above. The table must be populated with a row for each key intended to appear in the new zonefile file.

Once the table is populated, a zonefile is created using the following SQL:

SELECT zonefile_write(<file>, <table> [, <parameters>]);

where <file> is the name of the file to create on disk, <table> is the name of the database table to read and optional argument <parameters> is a JSON object containing various attributes that influence creation of the zonefile file.

Currently, the following <parameters> attributes are supported:

maxAutoFrameSize65536 The maximum uncompressed frame size in bytes for automatically generated zonefile frames.
compressionTypeContent"none" The compression type used to compress each frame in the zonefile. Valid values are "none" (no compression), "zstd", "zstd_global_dict", "zlib", "brotli", "lz4" and "lz4hc". Not all compression methods are supported by all builds. The compression method supported by a build depends on the combination of SQLITE_HAVE_ZSTD, SQLITE_HAVE_ZLIB, SQLITE_HAVE_BROTLI and SQLITE_HAVE_LZ4 pre-processor symbols defined at build time.
compressionTypeIndexData"none" The compression type used to compress the zonefile index structure. All values that are valid for the compressionTypeContent parameter, except for "zstd_global_dict", are also valid for this option.
encryptionType"none" The encryption type to use. At present the only valid values are "none" (no encryption) and "xor" (an insecure mock encryption method useful for testing only). Enhanced implementations may support any or all of the following encryption schemes:
  • "AES_128_CTR"
  • "AES_128_CBC"
  • "AES_256_CTR"
  • "AES_256_CBC"
encryptionKey"" The encryption key to use. The encryption key must be specified as an even number of hexadecimal that will be converted to a binary key before use. It is the responsibility of the caller to specify a key of the optimal length for each encryption algorithm (e.g. 16 bytes (32 hex digits) for a 128-bit encryption, or 32 bytes (64 digits) for a 256-bit method). This option is ignored if encryptionType is set to "none".

For example, to create a zonefile named "test.zonefile" based on the contents of database table "test_input", with a maximum automatic frame size of 4096 bytes and using "xor" encryption with a 128-bit key:

SELECT zonefile_write('test.zonefile', 'test_input',

Using (Reading) Zonefile Files

To create a new zonefile table, one of the following:

CREATE VIRTUAL TABLE z1 USING zonefile(cachesize=N);

where N is any non-zero positive integer. If the zonefile is used to access any files containing compressed or encrypted data, it maintains an LRU cache of uncompressed frame data N frames in size. The default value of N is 1.

Creating a "zonefile" virtual table actually creates two virtual tables in the database schema. One read-only table named "z1", with a schema equivalent to:

CREATE TABLE z1(  -- this whole table is read-only
  k INTEGER PRIMARY KEY,     -- key value
  v BLOB,                    -- associated blob of data
  fileid INTEGER,            -- file id (rowid value for z1_files)
  sz INTEGER                 -- size of blob of data in bytes

And a read-write table named "z1_files" with a schema like:

CREATE TABLE z1_files(
  filename TEXT PRIMARY KEY,
  ekey BLOB,         -- encryption key
  header JSON HIDDEN -- read-only

Both tables are initially empty. To add a zonefile to the index, insert a row into the "z1_files" table:

INSERT INTO z1_files(filename) VALUES(<filename>);

If the file is an encrypted file, then the encryption key (a blob) must be inserted into the "ekey" column. Encryption keys are not stored in the database, they are held in main-memory only. This means that each new connection must configure encryption key using UPDATE statements before accessing any encrypted files. For example:

-- Add new encrypted file to database:
INSERT INTO z1_files(filename, ekey) VALUES(<filename>, <ekey>);

-- Configure encryption key for existing file after opening database:
UPDATE z1_files SET ekey = <ekey> WHERE filename = <filename>;

Currently, values provided for any columns other than "filename" and "ekey" are ignored. Files are removed from the index by deleting rows from the z1_files table:

DELETE FROM z1_files WHERE filename = <filename>;

Once zonefile files have been added to the index, their contents are visible in table "z1". To retrieve the value associated with a single key from one of the zonefile files in the index:

SELECT v FROM z1 WHERE k = <key>;