What is PostgreSQL and how can it improve your programming projects?

There are many types of databases, but Relational and NoSQL are more common than the rest. Relational databases typically use SQL (Structured Query Language) to access data from one or more related tables. PostgresSQL is one of the most common relational database systems.

But why is PostgreSQL so popular and how does it work? How can it improve your programming project? You will find out in this article.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is a free, open-source, object-oriented relational database management system (ORDBMS). It uses SQL to create, read, update and delete data.

Because it’s object-oriented, PostgreSQL allows programmers to easily create functions that perform more complex queries. One of its unique features is that a model object it contains can inherit properties from a parent object without losing any of its attributes.

This means that you can give a new table the properties (columns) of existing ones and add unique table attributes at the top. Therefore, it gives you the flexibility to develop intertwined models to simplify your application structure and better connect each unit.

PostgreSQL can also handle database writes and reads concurrently using a unique built-in property called Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC). And while it supports relational data types, it also efficiently queries non-relational types. This is something few other RDBMSs do.

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PostgreSQL offers many built-in features to simplify complex models. This gave its applications a significant boost in contemporary software development. According to information from Statistics and Data, it is one of the fastest growing database engines. Their ranking puts it fourth in the 50 most popular databases in 2021.

Related: The Essential SQL Commands Cheat Sheet for Beginners

PostgreSQL has seen applications in industrial systems, enterprise applications, scientific data computing, mobile applications, and more. Some of the major companies that have adopted it include Apple, Instagram, Skype, and Reddit.

PostgreSQL has a wide range of applications that complement its impressive community support. This, of course, indicates that you are not alone and will not be left in the dark by pairing it with any suitable technology stack to build your application.

How is PostgreSQL better than other SQL databases?

If you switch from another SQL database to PostgreSQL, you may not notice any immediate difference. But some notable features make PostgreSQL stand out from other SQL-based databases like MySQL, MariaDB, and SQL Server.

Related:How to Install and Configure PostgreSQL on Ubuntu

Let’s take a look at some of the features you get from PostgreSQL.

1. ACID compliance

Unlike MySQL and other databases that depend on third-party libraries, PostgreSQL is fully compatible with the ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) protocol. This validates and maintains data integrity regardless of network errors or outages. ACID compliance makes PostgreSQL a suitable option for enterprise applications, e-commerce, and applications where resiliency is a must.


2. Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC)

MVCC is a unique PostgreSQL property that allows users to write and read data simultaneously. Maintaining such control with other SQL databases is possible but often difficult without using another technology.

MySQL, for example, only supports MVCC when paired with InnoDB, Archive, or Falcon. Starting with version 2005, SQL Server now has snapshot functionality. But this has many drawbacks and does not match PostgreSQL’s MVCC implementation. So if your application needs fast, concurrent read/write access, PostgreSQL is a great choice.

3. Custom and Expandable Queries

A database that lets you get creative with custom queries is worth trying. Indeed, this behavior complements the object-oriented nature of PostgreSQL. Even if your model is complex, you can extend database queries with custom functions. This makes it easy to query data in a way that is specific to your application model.


Related:PostgreSQL vs MySQL: Understanding Database Tools

4. Extensive data type support

Due to its object-oriented nature, you can write and read any data structure with PostgreSQL. It supports custom, structured, and non-relational data types, including JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), BSON (Binary JavaScript Object Notation), geometric, and primitive types. Whatever your future needs, you can rest assured that PostgreSQL will handle data scaling.

5. Incredible community support and comprehensive documentation

PostgreSQL has detailed documentation to give you a head start. And even if you get stuck because it’s one of the most used databases today, you can get out of trouble with the help of its huge community.

6. SQL Standards Compliance

More than any other SQL database, PostgreSQL conforms to the standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Therefore, you can be sure that you are building your programming project using the best database standards available.

Improve your programming project with PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL’s flexible nature and unique advanced features can help improve your application’s performance and optimize it for scalability. If you’re unfamiliar with PostgreSQL, don’t worry; it’s easy to pick up.


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A step-by-step guide to installing PostgreSQL on Windows

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