First Look: PostgreSQL 8.3
New version adds additional functionality to an easy-to-use open source database
I decided to give open source database PostgreSQL a try using version 8.3, which was released early in February. My favored environment to use is Ubuntu Linux, which currently works well with MySQL installed. However, for this test, I opted to use the Windows version of PostgreSQL.
By installing PostgreSQL on Windows XP, I had a sterile testing environment, since I've never loaded a SQL product on it before.
Installation of PostgreSQL was very straightforward. In addition to installing all necessary software components to disk, the installer also quickly allowed me to deploy PostgreSQL as an automatic service that would allow me to connect with a client to work with databases. The installer also offers many add-ons and extensions that provide additional PostgreSQL functionality to those who need or want it.
PostgreSQL 8.3 offers many useful tools in the default installation package. The most notable one is called pgAdmin III, which provides a nice GUI front end for working with databases, queries and tables. Tools like this make it easy to get started with PostgreSQL. There is also a command prompt available that allows more advanced users to interact with the database directly with hand-typed SQL statements, just like the command line interface in MySQL.
PostgreSQL 8.3 has a great number of enhancements over previous versions, too many to list here. A complete list is available at the PostgreSQL Web site.
Implementing PostgreSQL on Linux and Unix platforms is more complicated than deployment on Windows. While there is no automated installer mechanism, there are RPM packages available for Linux (Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS and Fedora) and Solaris. Users of other Linux distributions and other Unix-like operating systems such as FreeBSD have the option of compiling their own binaries from source.
-- Will Kraft