What is PostgreSQL? Features, Advantages and Data Types
Behind a system, the role of a database that is able to process data is very important. That’s why choosing database management must be right. Well, PostgreSQL is one of the best alternatives.
Why is that? PostgreSQL is a database that has a lot of advanced features to make data management easier. Interestingly, you can use it for free.
So, are you curious about this database management system? Let’s get to know more about what PostgreSQL is, the features of PostgreSQL, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.
Also Read: What Is MongoDB? Definition, Benefits, and How to Use It!
Read this article to the end, ok!
What is PostgreSQL?
Let’s start by understanding PostgreSQL first. PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS).
This database management can process data in tables that have relationships with each other and can be used free of charge and freely modified.
Developed by the Berkeley Computer Science Department, PostgreSQL has become a powerful database in the last 30 years. This database management system has stable performance, high security, and abundant features.
PostgreSQL is a database that is widely used in web apps, mobile applications, and analytics applications. That’s why applications that require more complex data processing would be better suited to using PostgreSQL.
Thus, the development of a web app will be easier because there are no incompatibility problems with the database management used.
The proof is that many leading companies use PostgreSQL such as Apple, Cisco, Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, Uber, and so on.
After understanding what PostgreSQL is, now is the time to get to know what features PostgreSQL provides, including:
- Asynchronous Replication – Duplicating the database asynchronously.
- Data Integrity – Supports Primary Key, Foreign Key, and others.
- Inheritance – Inherit the characteristics of the parent object to the descendant objects.
- Locking Mechanism – Perform security on the database.
- Non-Relational Support – Supports non-relational statements like JSON.
- Point-in-time Recovery – Performs continuous server backups.
- Procedural Languages – Supports procedural languages such as Python, Perl, and so on.
- Rule Customization – Customize commands such as INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE.
- Savepoints – Handling errors on complex transactions.
- Tablespaces – Defines the storage medium for databases, schemas, or tables.
Especially with the continued development of PostgreSQL, the newest versions will have more and more features.
As a relational database, the main function of PostgreSQL is a place to store and manage data through SQL commands or queries. With this query, PostgreSQL can be used to:
- Create or manipulate tables with Data Definition Language (DDL) using queries such as CREATE, DROP, and ALTER.
- Manipulate data entries or values from tables with Data Manipulation Language (DML) using queries such as INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE.
- Manage transactions in the database with Data Control Language (DCL) using queries such as GRANT, REVOKE, and COMMIT.
Not only that, there are several other functions using other SQL queries that require you to enter a data type, for example, CREATE, ADD, and INSERT.
Data Types in PostgreSQL
In order to run SQL queries smoothly, let’s find out the data types used in PostgreSQL:
- Boolean – true, false, null.
- Character – CHAR, VARCHAR, TEXT.
- Numeric – SMALLINT, INT, SERIAL, float, real, numeric.
- Temporal – DATE, TIME, TIMESTAMP, TIMESTAMPTZ, INTERVAL.
- Array – Array string, Array integer.
- JSON – JSON, JSONB.
- UUID – uuid-ossp, uuid_generate_v1, uuid_generate_v4.
- Special Data Types – box, line, point, lseg, polygon, inet, macaddr.
But besides the data types in PostgreSQL above, this database also supports User-Defined Data Types. That is, users are free to add their own data types as needed.
Advantages and Disadvantages of PostgreSQL
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of PostgreSQL:
Advantages of PostgreSQL
Compared to other relational databases, the advantages of PostgreSQL are:
1. Free and Open Source
PostgreSQL is open source. This means that the source code of this database is free for you to modify, both for personal and commercial purposes.
Apart from that, you can also enjoy various features available in PostgreSQL for free.
2. Great Scalability
PostgreSQL is a database that is suitable for use on large-scale systems because it is capable of handling many data transactions at once. For example in applications based on GIS (Geographical Information System).
GIS applications store and process a lot of spatial data, or location mapping. Well, PostgreSQL has PostGIS features so that spatial data processing can run smoothly without degrading system performance.
3. Easy Replication
Replication is the process of duplicating a database from one server (called the master server) to another server (replica server).
The advantage of PostgreSQL is that it supports two types of replication, namely:
- Single-Master Replication (SMR) – Process of replication without modifying the data on the replica server. Changing data on the master server will not change data on other servers.
- Multi-Master Replication (MMR) – The process of replication by changing data on replica servers. If the data on the master server changes, the data on other servers also changes.
With these advantages, it will be easier for you to migrate data as needed. For example to upgrade servers or develop the same system elsewhere.
4. Independent Development
One of the goals of modifying source code is to add functionality that was not previously available. Well, with a PostgreSQL database, you can do that…
If you need a new feature, you can develop it independently without waiting for an update from the developer. For example, adding queries, data types, or new programming language support.
5. Complete Documentation
The last advantage of PostgreSQL is its very complete documentation, reaching 2823 pages. The contents range from basic things such as how to create a new database, to tutorials on executing complex queries.
So, you won’t have any difficulties when developing a system with a PostgreSQL database. If you encounter problems, you just have to find a solution in the documentation.
Disadvantages of PostgreSQL
The PostgreSQL database also has drawbacks that you need to be aware of, namely:
1. Slow Performance
In the PostgreSQL database, the process of searching for data begins by scanning the first row to the row where the data is found. This causes slow performance, especially on databases that store a lot of data.
In addition, the many features available and the backup process that occurs continuously cause PostgreSQL’s performance to continue to decrease over time.
2. Less Popular
Although in recent years the number of users has continued to increase, the PostgreSQL database is still less popular than other relational databases such as MySQL.
PostgreSQL’s lack of popularity has had some negative repercussions. One of them is the difficulty in finding a hosting service that supports PostgreSQL by default.
MySQL vs PostgreSQL Comparison
As a fellow relational database, PostgreSQL is often compared to MySQL. What exactly is the difference between the two? Which is better between MySQL and PostgreSQL?
For convenience, see the following table:
|License||Open source but also provides a paid version||Open-source and free|
|SQL standards (policies, specifications, features).||Supports most SQL standards||Supports all SQL standards|
|Platform support||Solaris, Windows OS, Linux, OS X, FreeBSD OS||Solaris, Windows OS, Linux, OS X, Unix-OS, Hp-UX OS|
|Security||Offers built-in security features||Offers SSL security features|
|Replication||Supports master-to-master replication||Supports master-to-replica replication|
|Implementation||Suitable for systems that only need data transactions, for example, Academic Systems||Suitable for systems that require complex query execution, for example, GIS|
|Community Support||Focus on maintaining existing features||Focus on improving existing features|
|Development||Rarely release new features||Frequently releasing new features|
From the MySQL vs PostgreSQL comparison, it can be concluded that:
MySQL is suitable for those of you who develop systems on a small scale and only need a database to execute data transactions, such as Academic Information Systems.
PostgreSQL is a database that is suitable for developing systems on a large scale and requires a database to execute complex queries, such as Geographical Information System (GIS), and Business Intelligence System (BIS).
PostgreSQL is a free open-source relational database. The PostgreSQL database provides features to make it easier for you to manage stored data.
This database that supports many programming languages has various advantages, such as large scalability, easy replication and development, and complete documentation.
Even so, slow performance needs to be a concern for those of you who want the best database performance.
PostgreSQL is a database that is suitable for large-scale projects that require continuous processing and sophisticated data analysis.