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PostgreSQL on Windows: A Primer (via Slashdot)

Posted at 2007-02-26 07:25:00

2007-02-10 22:57:00

PostgreSQL | Elephants and (Trench) Mice

It's not often that you click through from {insert name of popular Web 2.0 community site here} to {insert name of Web 2.0 startup-type site here} and notice they're running the site on a decently pachydermal database engine, but this one called TrenchMice certainly is.

Posted at 2007-02-10 22:57:00

2006-11-23 18:54:00

PostgreSQL | PostgreSQL in Thailand

I've just got back from a few weeks in Thailand doing some consulting work for an international organisation, some of which thankfully involves open source in general and PostgreSQL in particular.

I took the opportunity to poke around the IT sections of a few bookshops and get the impression that the IT book market at least is dominated by publications dealing with proprietary software, mainly Windows in general and as far as databases go Oracle and SQL Server. Books on open source were pretty much in the minority, mainly dealing with Linux and / or PHP. I did find one book each on PostgreSQL and MySQL though, which as far as I could tell were both written in Thailand (i.e. not translations). I can only speculate that the infamous availability of proprietary software at very low prices through, erm, inofficial channels means open source software is at a comparative disadvantage. The current government seems to have issues with open source too, for whatever reason.

 On the other hand, I had to source a dedicated server, and most providers offer Linux as the base package, with Windows servers available at a premium. In several cases the specs for the Linux servers detailed both MySQL and PostgreSQL as "features".

(Apologies to anyone who has sent mails to me in the last month or so and hasn't had a reply, I'm still up to my neck in things to do).

Posted at 2006-11-23 18:54:00

One of the many pitfalls of web-related work is that sometimes you just have to deal with MySQL, as it's the only database option some clients have. Particularly irksome is the penchant many web hosters have for older MySQL versions, which is a major PITA when trying to deal with even slightly complex data.

One of the many things lacking in MySQL is a true boolean datatype. It does possess a pseudo-type BOOL, which is silently transmuted to TINYINT(1), and from 4.1 onwards, to quote the manual, "the constants TRUE and FALSE evaluate to 1 and 0, respectively".

Posted at 2006-09-19 14:12:00

2006-07-11 21:46:00

PostgreSQL | 5th Anniversary

Just back from Japan, where I've been busy on various private projects (using PostgreSQL wherever a database is required, of course), and haven't had much time to pursue the mailing lists, so hadn't really noticed that the 10th anniversary celebrations were underway. Congratulations all round!

Side note: Japan is a remarkably PostgreSQL-friendly country; an unscientific survey of various major bookstores in Tokyo showed that, for the open source databases, PostgreSQL books were in the majority. I'd say compared to a certain dolphin-orientated RDBMS there's about a 5:3 ratio in favour of PostgreSQL.

No, the title isn't a mistake: it occurred to me that it's almost exactly 5 years since I first used PostgreSQL. That was back in the waning days of the dot-com boom, when I was entrusted with the development of a CRM system for my former employer, Germany's first e-learning platform. The challenge was to unite an Oracle-based system with a MySQL-based system, and at least-possible cost (because the magic money pots were slowly drying up). Oh yes, the new system also had to take care of a fairly complex user authentication and session handling system for the new website.

Fortunately I had cut my SQL teeth on Oracle (version 7), and while this wasn't an option, neither was MySQL, which at the time completely lacked basic things such as foreign keys and transaction support (I think this was the period when MySQL was feuding with its transactional engine supplier about domain names). As a DB backend for an application which was to handle financial transactions, this was a total no-go (and this was long before I'd got my teeth into the infamous gotchas list). I had vaguely heard of PostgreSQL though, and decided to try it out, and while it had a few niggles (altering table definitions was a pain), I liked it.

Posted at 2006-07-11 21:46:00

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