PostgreSQL

The Alternative Open-Source Database Can Power Your Projects

PostgreSQL isn’t the open-source database you’re thinking of. In fact, the database that most often comes to mind is MySQL. But any business looking to employ the power of relational databases would be remiss if they didn’t consider this particular platform.

PostgreSQL (often just called Postgres) is a relational database built around the idea of being as SQL-compliant as possible. Along with that, the developers have focused on creating a highly extensible database, so it can be used for numerous applications, connected to nearly any type of API, and work on multiple platforms.

PostgreSQL started as the successor to the Ingres database, which was developed at the University of California, at Berkeley. In 1996 the project officially took on the name PostgreSQL and has been in active development since.

Being a relational database, PostgreSQL can help power any number of applications and services. And like some of the competition (such as MySQL), PostgreSQL can not only be deployed on Linux but also on macOS and Windows.

PostgreSQL Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

What is a Relational Database?

Before we dive too deep into PostgreSQL, let’s first define relational databases. The relational database was created around the relational model of date, which was proposed in 1970 by E.F. Codd. A relational database can be defined as a collection of information that uses organized data with defined relationships. Data structures, which are composed of data tables, indexes, and views, remain separate from the storage structures, thereby allowing database administrators to edit the data storage without impacting the logical data structure.

Tables, which are also known as relations, are made of columns that, in turn, contain one or more data categories. Rows, which are also known as table records, contain a set of data that is defined by a category. Tables can be linked, or related, to one another based on common data. By creating these relations, it’s possible for admins and users to retrieve a new table from the stored data in multiple tables, using a single SQL query.

Features of PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL includes several important features, sure to check the boxes for many database administrators. Some of them include:

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    Open-source
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    Free to use
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    SQL compliant
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    Cross-platform
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    Compatible with numerous programming languages
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    Supports data integrity
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    Compatible with multiple data types
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    Extensible
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    Secure
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    Supports synchronous, asynchronous, and logical replication

Add to that, PostgreSQL makes it easy for administrators to work within the database console and there are even several GUI tools to make the task more efficient. However, most admins will want to forgo the GUI in favor of using the SQL query language, where the real power lies.

What Languages Can Work With PostgreSQL?

Obviously, you’ll need to learn the SQL query language, as that is how you create and manage databases with PostgreSQL. Without knowing SQL, you wouldn’t get very far with any relational database.

Beyond SQL, there are several programming languages that can interact with PostgreSQL. Those languages include:

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    C
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    Delphi
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    Perl
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    Tcl

Where You Can Use PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL can be deployed on multiple platforms. Obviously, you can install it on a server that resides in your on-premise data center. There are also cloud-based hosting providers that support PostgreSQL, such as the big 3 of Amazon AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. But if your cloud host of choice supports Linux as a virtual machine, you can be sure PostgreSQL can be deployed.

One very impressive thing about PostgreSQL is that it is equally as performant when deployed in the cloud as it is on-premise. So no matter how you plan on using PostgreSQL, know that it will perform very well.

Tools You Can Use With PostgreSQL

You’re not just limited to the PostgreSQL psql console when you want to use the SQL Query Language. There are a number of open-source tools you can employ to make PostgreSQL easier and more powerful. Such tools include:

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    phpPgAdmin
    A web-based GUI tool for administering your PostgreSQL databases.
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    pgAdmin
    Another GUI for administering PostgreSQL, which can be run as either web-based or a desktop application.
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    PgFouine
    A PostgreSQL log analyzer.
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    pgDevOps
    A suite of web-based tools that help you create SQL queries and community components, monitor running databases, and identify performance issues.

The Benefits of Using PostgreSQL

There are a number of benefits to using PostgreSQL, such as:

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    It's easier to use than some other relational databases.
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    It requires low maintenance.
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    The source code is freely available, so your developers can change the database according to the needs of your business.
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    It can interact with dynamic web applications and websites.
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    It's highly risk-tolerant.

Companies That Use PostgreSQL

If you’re curious as to what companies use PostgreSQL, the shortlist includes Uber, Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, Instacart, Robinhood, Twitch, and Reddit, among many others.

As to the integrations you can employ with PostgreSQL, that list includes the likes of Datadog, Slick, Amazon DynamoDB, JSON, Sequelize, Metabase, Kong, Amazon Aurora, and Strapi, among others.

Versions of PostgreSQL

Unlike some other relational databases, there is only one version of PostgreSQL, so you don’t have to worry about whether to use a community or enterprise edition. PostgreSQL is PostgreSQL, no matter where you deploy.

Conclusion

At some point, your business is going to depend on a relational database. If you’d prefer to deploy an option that is as easy to learn as it is powerful and reliable, PostgreSQL might be the perfect match for your business or project.

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