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It depends a lot of the ORM. SQLAlchemy allows you to ditch the ORM when you need it. But instead of going back to raw sql, you just get a DSL like LINK, which is very flexible and can express most of the stuff you could do with manual SQL, while still retaining many benefits of using a wrapper.

It's my understanding that Hibernate doesn't allow this.

> Basically, if you are going to do quite a bit of SQL, any ORM will just in the way. Should be plainly obvious to anyone with experience.

This is the problem you see : a lot of project don't have somebody very experienced with SQL anymore. Because they need to know a bit of sysadmin, and front en dev, and deployment, and CI, etc. So an ORM helps a lot in that regard, and will help most projects because the problems it causes are smaller that the ones it solves:

- it forces people to put the schema, migrations and validation code in a centralized place.

- it let you reuse your API knowledge instead of having to relearn the stuff for SQLite/Postgres/MySQL/Access.

- it enforces good practices on security with data escaping and cleaning.

- it let you benefit from your language tooling (analytics, linters, completions, doc, shells) to write queries that otherwise would be plain text in the middle of the file for most people.

- it gives a structure to DB operations, so if you look for something, you know where and what to look for.

- it gives you an event system to decouple queries and their effect.

- it gives a common API so you can write easily libs targetting the ORM. This is why the django ecosystem is so rich : you can write an auth backend or a tagging system and know other people will be able to just plug it in.

- it comes with tooling: auto generated admin, forms and APIs, migration manager, paginators...

It does have a cost in perf and sometime flexibility. But for anything that doesn't have 1 million of users yet, it's worth it. Especially in a world where a daily salary can be more than a year of server time.

I cache everything anyway :)

And it allows you to write specific queries that can then be post filtered / ordered / paginated by a more general mechanism.

Or you can write queries and play around with loading strategies later / change them over time as the shape of the data changes without having to change any other code.

Every time the ORM thing comes up on HN most people jump on the ORMs are evil bandwagon. I think sqlalchemy is probably a bit of an exception in terms of just how flexible it is, however in my experience you get all the benefits with next to no downside (performance overhead being the most obvious). I generally wouldn't start a project without it these days.

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