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PostgreSQL Tutorial for Beginners

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14th Jun, 2023
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PostgreSQL Tutorial for Beginners

PostgreSQL comes with a long history worth 15 years of active development. As a result, the database system has evolved into a powerful and proven architecture delivering reliability. It also plays an active role in data integrity. The best part- PostgreSQL runs on almost all operating systems, including Mac OS, Windows, Linux, UNIX, etc. 

Let’s take an in-depth insight into understanding PostgreSQL and its significance in programming. 

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What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an enterprise-class open-source database. This database management system is object-relational and stores data in rows, with columns as separate data attributes. The database management system supports both JSON and SQL for non-relational and relational queries for SQL and extensibility compliance. 

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The database helps store, process, and retrieve data safely while supporting performance optimisation features and advanced data types. Global volunteers contributed to the development of this database with countless features ranking PostgreSQL as one of the most popular databases.

Important Features of PostgreSQL

These are some of the essential features of PostgreSQL:

  • Permits administrators to build a fault-tolerant environment with data integrity protection
  • Enables building successful applications
  • Extends highly sophisticated locking mechanism
  • Platform compatibility using all leading middleware and major languages
  • Mature server-side programming functionality
  • Supports multi-version concurrency control
  • Supports client-server network architecture
  • Fully compliant with the ANSI SQL standard
  • Provides standby server and high availability
  • Trigger-based and log-based replication SSL
  • Permits linking with data stores like NoSQL, a hub for innumerable databases in varying languages
  • Object-oriented and compatible with ANSI-SQL2008 

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Practical Applications of PostgreSQL 

PostgreSQL has attractive features, causing database management systems to have diverse practical applications. Industries using PostgreSQL include:

  • Web Technology and NoSQL

PostgreSQL, with its scalability, is the best solution for websites dealing with thousands of requests per second. In addition, PostgreSQL supports all modern web frameworks like Node.js, PHP, Node.js, Hibernate, etc. The database also has replication features to scale out the desired number of database servers. 

  • Financial Industry

PostgreSQL is an ideal DBMS system for the financial industry. It is ACID-compliant, a perfect choice for Online Transaction Processing (OLTP). In addition, PostgreSQL allows performing database analytics and can be integrated with various mathematical software like R and Matlab. 

  • Scientific Data

PostgreSQL offers exceptional analytical capabilities and a powerful SQL engine to deal with extensive data retrieved while scanning countless scientific research materials. PostgreSQL’s ability to easily manage enormous data makes it ideal for scientific research. 

  • Manufacturing Industry

Industrial manufacturers use PostgreSQL to speed up their overall business process. PostgreSQL also plays a crucial role in optimising supply chain performance using open-source DBMS as a storage backend and accelerating business operations. As a result, many businesses have claimed PostgreSQL to lower the operational costs of their business. 

  • Government GIS Data

PostgreSQL comes with a powerful GIS, known as “PostGIS”. With this extension, you can process hundreds of functions and geometric data in various formats. Moreover, PostgreSQL is highly standard compliant. Using both QGIS and GeoServer, the Open Source Community provides a simple method to handle Geodata. 

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How to install PostgreSQL?

Follow the given steps for downloading and installing PostgreSQL:

  • Step 1

Visit https://www.postgresql.org/download/ and choose your operating system to install the database system.

  • Step 2

Next, open the installer .exe file to start the installation process.

  • Step 3

Select the preferred language.

  • Step 4

Locate the path for PostgreSQL software installation on the system.

  • Step 5

Now select the components that you want to install.

  • Step 6

Set the superuser password. 

  • Step 7

Set the port number as default.

  • Step 8

Click the ‘Next’ button to start the installation. 

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How to start PostgreSQL?

Follow these steps to start using PostgreSQL:

  • Step 1

Go to Start Menu and search pgAdmin 4.

  • Step 2

The pgAdmin homepage will open.

  • Step 3

Now click on Servers ⇒ PostgreSQL 10 in the left tree.

  • Step 4

Enter the superuser password set during the installation process. Once done, click on the OK button. 

  • Step 5

PostgreSQL dashboard will open.

What are the advantages of PostgreSQL?

Some advantages of the PostgreSQL system are as follows:

  • PostgreSQL is a highly fault-tolerant database with its feature of write-ahead logging.
  • It is possible to run dynamic web applications and websites with PostgreSQL as a LAMP stack option.
  • PostgreSQL supports geographic objects; therefore, you can use it for geographic information systems, geospatial data storage, and location-based services.
  • It does not require rigorous training as the database is easy to use.
  • The source code of PostgreSQL is available freely under an open-source license. 
  • Demands low maintenance for enterprise and embedded use of PostgreSQL.

Exploring Advanced Features of PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL, sometimes known as Postgres, is a feature-rich open-source relational database management system. In this part, we’ll look at some of PostgreSQL’s advanced features that may help you take your database administration abilities to the next level. 

PostgreSQL has a number of sophisticated features, including:

  • Advanced Query Optimisation: To improve the speed of complicated queries, PostgreSQL implements advanced query optimisation algorithms. It contains capabilities like query rewriting, cost-based optimisation, and index utilization optimisation to help you access and manage massive datasets more effectively.
  • PostgreSQL supports a variety of procedural languages, including PL/pgSQL, PL/Python, PL/Perl, and others. These languages let you write custom functions and stored procedures to execute complicated data manipulation and business logic directly within the database.
  • Full-Text Search: PostgreSQL has powerful full-text search features that allow you to execute sophisticated text searches quickly. It provides phrase search, relevance ranking, and adjustable stemming algorithms, making it excellent for applications that require complex search capability.
  • JSON and NoSQL Support: PostgreSQL has native support for JSON data, allowing you to easily store, query, and manipulate JSON documents. This feature combines the advantages of a relational database with the adaptability of NoSQL data storage.
  • PostgreSQL offers a variety of replication strategies, including streaming replication and logical replication, to achieve high availability and data redundancy. These features enable you to set up backup servers and duplicate data in real-time, allowing for fault tolerance and disaster recovery.

Future Trends and Developments in PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL has a dynamic and active community that is always working to improve the database system and add new features. Let’s look at some of the upcoming PostgreSQL trends and developments:

  • Continuous Learning and Community Participation: The PostgreSQL community is dedicated to continual development, often releasing new versions with upgrades. The community promotes active engagement, and developers from all around the world help to shape and enhance it.
  • Performance and Scalability Improvements: PostgreSQL continues to prioritize performance and scalability. Future versions are intended to provide optimisations for dealing with bigger datasets and processing queries more quickly.
  • Enhanced Security and Auditing Capabilities: Security is a critical consideration for any database system, including PostgreSQL. increased security features, such as more granular access restrictions and increased auditing tools to track and monitor database activities, are anticipated in the future.
  • Advanced Query Optimisation Strategies: The PostgreSQL community is always looking for new query optimisation strategies to improve speed. This involves adaptive query optimisation, parallel query processing, and intelligent indexing techniques study.
  • Integration with Cloud Platforms and Containers: As cloud computing and containerization gain popularity, PostgreSQL strives to enable seamless integration with a variety of cloud platforms and container orchestration systems. This facilitates PostgreSQL database setup and maintenance in cloud settings.

PostgreSQL is developed to accommodate different data models, including document-based, graph-based, and key-value data storage. This enables developers to select the best model for their individual use cases, allowing for polyglot persistence.

What are some limitations of PostgreSQL?

Like every database system, the PostgreSQL database has its own set of disadvantages. Some of them are as follows:

  • The ownership of Postgre is not restricted to a single organisation. 
  • Many open source apps support MySQL, but PostgreSQL lacks support.
  • The focus of PostgreSQL is on compatibility. Changes in speed improvement demand more work than MySQL. 
  • Based on performance metrics, PostgreSQL is slower than MySQL.

Conclusion

This PostgreSQL tutorial for beginners gives a basic idea of the PostgreSQL database. However, if you are interested in pursuing a career in this subject, you can always go for an advanced course in PostgreSQL. You can find suitable guides and PostgreSQL tutorials for advanced levels. 

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Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 What is the use of PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL can be considered the primary data warehouse for many mobile, web, geospatial and analytics applications. There are different versions of PostgreSQL, and the latest one is PostgreSQL 12.

2Is SQL a PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an open-source, potent, and object-relational database system that uses SQL. Many new features in PostgreSQL help safely store and scale the most challenging and complex data workloads.

3Does PostgreSQL work on all leading operating systems (OS)?

Yes, PostgreSQL functions on all the leading operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, etc. PostgreSQL is an excellent system for data warehousing and data analysis.