A number of times in a crowd I’ve asked how many people enjoy writing SQL, and often there’s a person or two. The follow up is how many people enjoy reading other people’s SQL and that’s unanimously 0. The reason for this is that so many people write bad SQL. It’s not that it doesn’t do the job, it’s just that people don’t tend to treat SQL the same as other languages and don’t follow strong code formatting guidelines. So, of course here’s some of my own recommendations on how to make SQL more readable.
I find during the holiday season many pick up new books, learn a new language, or brush up on some other skill in general. Here’s my contribution to hopefully giving you a few new things to learn about Postgres and ideally utilize in the new year. It’s not in a top 10 list as much as 10 tips and tricks you should be aware of as when you need them they become incredibly handy. But, first a shameless plug if you find any of the following helpful, consider subscribing to Postgres weekly a weekly newsletter with interesting Postgres content.
The headline of Postgres 9.5 is undoubtedly: Insert… on conflict do nothing/update or more commonly known as Upsert or Merge. This removes one of the last remaining features which other databases had over Postgres. Sure we’ll take a look at it, but first let’s browse through some of the other features you can look forward to when Postgres 9.5 lands:
JSONB in Postgres is absolutely awesome, but it’s taken a little while for libraries to come around to make it as useful as would be ideal. For those not following along with Postgres lately, here’s the quick catchup for it as a NoSQL database.
- In Postgres 8.3 over 5 years ago Postgres received hstore a key/value store directly in Postgres. It’s big limitation was it was only for text
- In the years after it got GIN and GiST indexes to make queries over hstore extremely fast indexing the entire collection
- In Postgres 9.2 we got JSON… sort of. Really this way only text validation, but allowed us to create some functional indexes which were still nice.
- In Postgres 9.4 we got JSONB - the B stands for Better according to @leinweber. Essentially this is a full binary JSON on disk, which can perform as fast as other NoSQL databases using JSON.
First some background–I’ve always had a bit of a love hate relationship with ORMs. ORMs are great for basic crud applications, which inevitably happens at some point for an app. The main two problems I have with ORMs is:
- They treat all databases as equal (yes, this is a little overgeneralized but typically true). They claim to do this for database portability, but in reality an app still can’t just up and move from one to another.
- They don’t handle complex queries well at all. As someone that sees SQL as a very powerful language, taking away all the power just leaves me with pain.
Of course these aren’t the only issues with them, just the two ones I personally run into over and over.
In some playing with Node I was optimistic to explore Massive.JS as it seems to buck the trend of just imitating all other ORMs. My initial results–it makes me want to do more with Node just for this library. After all the power of a language is the ecosystem of libraries around it, not just the core language. So let’s take a quick tour through with a few highlights of what makes it really great.
Most web applications will add/remove columns over time. This is extremely common early on and even mature applications will continue modifying their schemas with new columns. An all too common pitfall when adding new columns is setting a not null constraint in Postgres.
As I followed along with the 9.4 release of Postgres I had a few posts of things that I was excited about, some things that missed, and a bit of a wrap-up. I thought this year (year in the sense of PG releases) I’d jump the gun and lay out areas I’d love to see addressed in PostgreSQL 9.5. And here it goes:
Connection pooling is quickly becoming one of the more frequent questions I hear. So here’s a primer on it. If there’s enough demand I’ll follow up a bit further with some detail on specific Postgres connection poolers and setting them up.
For those unfamiliar, a connection pool is a group of database connections sitting around that are waiting to be handed out and used. This means when a request comes in a connection is already there whether in your framework or some other pooling process, and then given to your application for that specific request or transaction. In contrast, without any connection pooling your application will have to reach out to your database to establish a connection. While in the most basic sense you may thinking connecting to a database is quick, often theres some overhead here. An example is SSL negotiation that may have to occur which means you’re looking at not 1-2 ms but often closer to 30-50.
Postgres has a variety of datatypes, in fact quite a few more than most other databases. Most commonly applications take advantage of the standard ones – integers, text, numeric, etc. Almost every application needs these basic types, the rarer ones may be needed less frequently. And while not needed on every application when you do need them they can be an extremely handy. So without further ado let’s look at some of these rarer but awesome types.
Yes, I’ve talked about this one before, yet still not enough people are using it. Of this list of datatypes this is one that could also have benefit for most if not all applications.
A couple years back I started more regularly blogging, though I’ve done this off and on before, this time I kept some regularity. A common theme started to emerge with some content on Postgres about once a month because most of what was out there was much more reference oriented. A bit after that I connected with petercooper, who runs quite a few weekly email newsletters. As someone thats been interested helping give others a good reason to create content the obvious idea of Postgres Weekly emerged.
Since then we’ve now had the newsletter running for over a year, helped surface quite a bit of content, and grown to over 5,000 subscribers. First if you’re not subscribed, then go subscribe now.
And if you need some inspiration or just want to reminisce with me… here’s a look back at a few highlights over the past year: