PostgreSQL now has a native Windows port

PostgreSQL now has a native Windows port

PostgreSQL 8.0.0 was released to do and with it a native installer for Windows. This closes one of the big barriers to adoption of the database and because of its superiority in all other areas may actually turn the tide against MySQL.

PostgreSQL should really be compared to Oracle rather than MySQL but because it is open source it is often tossed in with MySQL in comparisons. I don’t think there is much of a comparison though. PostgreSQL, for me, is clearly a better enterprise database than MySQL will ever be because the focus of the two products are on such wildly different users. Where MySQL has always focused on quick-and-dirty, PostgreSQL has always focused on doing things correctly. Things like “transactions”, often used in real database applications, are not bolted on with a different table type a la MySQL, instead they are native to the system in PostgreSQL. Conformance to the SQL standard has also been a focus for the PostgreSQL contributers and seemingly an afterthought for MySQL. Another advantage is that PostgreSQL’s stored procedure language is very similar to Oracle’s whereas MySQL’s recently added stored procedure support is based on DB/2. Probably the most important difference to many may be that the license for PostgreSQL is the BSD license rather than MySQL’s mixed GPL/commercial license. PostgreSQL is as free as it gets. Starting from that solid base PostgreSQL has also increased its performance to be on par with or better than MySQL in many benchmarks though in recent times it appears that people have decided that performance for databases is now “good-enough” and you don’t see that many direct comparisons.

My contention for a long time was that PostgreSQL doesn’t get nearly the adoption that MySQL gets was twofold. 1) PHP uses MySQL by default, therefore PHP users use MySQL by default and 2) MySQL was easy to install on Windows. Now we can at least get rid of #2 with version 8.0.0 since there is now a standard distribution from the source for that platform. If you are doing enterprise software development you should definitely try out PostgreSQL ASAP and you might save yourself either a big headache or a ton of dough. As a side note, it blows my mind that the the full source distribution for the database is only 10MB compressed and the binary distribution for Windows a mere 17.5MB and took about 2 minutes to install. It includes a graphical installer and a graphical admin tool out of the box that really make it easy.

P.S.: pgAdmin III, the GUI utility doesn’t run on the Mac because it uses Tk, however you can use phpPgAdmin which runs fine and does about the same things. You just have to install PHP on your built-in Apache server and then drop phpPgAdmin into your ~/Sites directory. You can then access it with http://localhost/~user/phpPgAdmin.