SQL or Structure Query Language is a programming tool which is used for database programming and backend to a number of software systems.
There are many different versions of SQL but way back in 2004 we foresaw that our then used database, Codebase, was going to become obsolete in five or six years’ time. We started looking for an open source (free) SQL database which we could integrate with our C++ programming languages and which could last us for another ten or more years. At first we were quite impressed with MySQL. This version of SQL is mostly used on the Web in a majority of applications. MySQL has impressive speed. But gradually we also became aware of the advantages of PostgreSQL. By 2008 we were convinced that Postgre was the best product to fit in with our philosophy of “software as a service”, meaning that we charge mainly for software service and less for the product we supply.
When our first SQL versions were rolled out at the beginning of 2010, PostgreSQL was the database of choice. Since then the Postgre database has gone through many versions, advancing from 8.4 to the present 9.2.
To say that we are happy with PostgreSQL is an understatement. Postgre is reliable and stable, fast and efficient, comprehensive and fully featured, and, very importantly, completely free. We pass the “free” PostgreSQL part of our programmes on to our customers.
Today we use PostgreSQL as the database engine in all our products. We like the following excellent qualities it has:
- PostgreSQL is well suited for any data size. It can handle enormous amounts of data (gigabytes) as well as a small amounts used by firms with only a few entries per month.
- It performs at speeds exceptable to all. The latest version, 9.2, is a major performance improvement on previous versions. Where a client complains of a speed problem (which happens very seldom these days), the fault is always ours in that our design is inefficient.
- PostgreSQL has all the usual functions associated with the SQL standard plus many additions and extensions. For example, suppose that you wanted all names containing “Jo” (Joseph, Joe, Joan, JOAN) from the database, the following query would do the job: “select all from <tablename> where name ilike ‘%jo%’;”. The “ilike” would indicate upper or lower case must be ignored.
- It can perform all the complicated queries required of a mature SQL. It has stored procedures and triggers which enable one to design the most demanding and sophisticated reports.
- Being able to design simple queries and involved ones mean that we (and some of our customer attorneys with SQL savvy) are able to create queries and reports within a very short space of time, sometimes within minutes. This means better service to clients and staff members who want particular information from the database and do not know how to get it.
- Previously the programming of a new function or request by a customer took days to complete. Most of the present requests can be supplied quicker and cheaper with queries which we design and execute without the need for formal programming.
- PostgreSQL can run on local machines or on any type of network, including Linux and Windows. It runs on cloud servers or local ones. It has 32bit and 64bit versions and is, in our experience, fully backwards compatible with versions as old as 8.4 dating back to 2010.
- PostgreSQL can be downloaded within minutes and installed on any server within a few minutes. Time is mainly consumed in converting the customer’s old data to PostgreSQL during the installation process.
- Manuals are available on the Internet for every version. Extensive help and examples are available on the Internet. Usually new updates are released every three months.
PostgreSQL calls itself “The world’s most advanced open source database”. We agree!
Chris du Plessis