PostgreSQL Brief History
1977-1985: A project called INGRES was developed:
- Proof-of-concept for relational databases.
- Established the company Ingres in 1980.
- Bought by Computer Associates in 1994.
- Development of the concepts in INGRES with a focus on object orientation and the query language Quel.
- The code base of INGRES was not used as a basis for POSTGRES.
- Commercialized as Illustra (bought by Informix, bought by IBM).
- Support for SQL was added in 1994.
- Released as Postgres95 in 1995.
- Re-released as PostgreSQL 6.0 in 1996.
- Establishment of the PostgreSQL Global Development Team.
In this tutorial, you will learn about PostgreSQL and features that make PostgreSQL stand out from other database management systems.
What is PostgreSQL
Let’s start with a simple question: what is PostgreSQL?
PostgreSQL is a general purpose and object-relational database management system, the most advanced open source database system. PostgreSQL was developed based on POSTGRES 4.2 at Berkeley Computer Science Department, University of California.
PostgreSQL was designed to run on UNIX-like platforms. However, PostgreSQL was then also designed to be portable so that it could run on various platforms such as Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows.
PostgreSQL is free and open source software. Its source code is available under PostgreSQL license, a liberal open source license. You are free to use, modify and distribute PostgreSQL in any form.
PostgreSQL requires very minimum maintained efforts because of its stability. Therefore, if you develop applications based on PostgreSQL, the total cost of ownership is low in comparison with other database management systems.
PostgreSQL features highlights
PostgreSQL has many advanced features that other enterprise database management systems offer, such as:
- User-defined types
- Table inheritance
- Sophisticated locking mechanism
- Foreign key referential integrity
- Views, rules, subquery
- Nested transactions (savepoints)
- Multi-version concurrency control (MVCC)
- Asynchronous replication
The recent versions of PostgreSQL support the following features:
- Native Microsoft Windows Server version
- Point-in-time recovery
- Incremental Backup using some tools
And more new features are added in each new release.
What makes PostgreSQL stand out
PostgreSQL is the first database management system that implements multi-version concurrency control (MVCC) feature, even before Oracle. The MVCC feature is known as snapshot isolation in Oracle.
PostgreSQL is a general-purpose object-relational database management system. It allows you to add custom functions developed using different programming languages such as C/C++, Java, etc.
PostgreSQL is designed to be extensible. In PostgreSQL, you can define your own data types, index types, functional languages, etc. If you don’t like any part of the system, you can always develop a custom plugin to enhance it to meet your requirements e.g., adding a new optimizer.
If you need any support, an active community is available to help. You can always find the answers from the PostgreSQL’s community for the issues that you may have when working with PostgreSQL. Many companies offer commercial support services in case you need one.
Who is using PostgreSQL
Many companies have built products and solutions using PostgreSQL. Some featured companies are Apple, Fujitsu, Red Hat, Cisco, Juniper Network, etc. Check it out the PostgreSQL’s featured users section for the complete list of organizations who are using PostgreSQL.
PostgreSQL’s community pronounces PostgreSQL as /ˈpoʊstɡrɛs ˌkjuː ˈɛl/. The original name of PostgreSQL is Postgres therefore, sometimes PostgreSQL is referred as Postgres.