At the Forge - PostgreSQL 9.0
Am I gushing? Yes, absolutely. There are very few pieces of software that give me such pleasure to use and on which I feel I can utterly depend, and PostgreSQL is a select member of that club. It keeps my data safe, offers me a huge number of features, allows me to extend the database in whatever ways I want and need, and it gives me excellent performance with a modest time investment. If you're thinking of switching to an open-source database, or if you have already been using one and want to try something powerful but still rather easy to use, you would do well to try PostgreSQL. Especially with the latest features added in version 9.0, I'm sure you'll find something to like.
The home page for PostgreSQL is www.postgresql.org. From that site, you can download the software, subscribe to a number of (heavily trafficked and extremely friendly) e-mail lists and read through the documentation. There is also a #postgresql IRC channel on Freenode that is generally populated and available for answering questions.
One of the best-known commercial PostgreSQL support and product companies, EnterpriseDB, provides binary packages for a number of operating systems at its Web site, enterprisedb.com. It also offers a number of video and audio podcasts and screencasts, including those by PostgreSQL core contributor Bruce Momjian, which are of high quality.
Finally, two excellent books about PostgreSQL recently were published by Packt Press, filling in a long gap since the excellent (but outdated) PostgreSQL, 2nd edition was written by Korry Douglas a number of years ago. The two new books are PostgreSQL 9 Administration Cookbook by Simon Riggs and Hannu Krosing, and PostgreSQL 9.0 High Performance by Gregory Smith. I have learned a great deal from both books, and although the latter book spends a bit more time than I might have liked on hardware, it also taught me that even a software guy like myself occasionally needs to consider the physical side of software and database design. If you use PostgreSQL on a regular basis, I strongly recommend these books.
Reuven M. Lerner is a longtime Web developer, architect and trainer. He is a PhD candidate in learning sciences at Northwestern University, researching the design and analysis of collaborative on-line communities. Reuven lives with his wife and three children in Modi'in, Israel.
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