JSON v JSONB: A Dive into PostgreSQL

Friday, March 22, 2019 - Jerry Sievert

JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight data interchange format that is easy for both computers and humans to deal with. The rules are pretty simple:

  • a JSON document is an object
  • an object consists of a key and a value
  • a key is a string
  • a value can be a string, number, boolean, array, object or null

So, when dealing with data, JSON has become fairly popular: it's the default document storage type for databases like CouchDB and MongoDB (though MongoDB technically uses a JSON-like format), and available in PostgreSQL as the JSON and JSONB data types.


Unit Testing in PostgreSQL with PLV8

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - Jerry Sievert

PostgreSQL is an amazing and extensible database, providing a ton of functionality. One of the best parts, in my opinion, is the ability to add additional programming languages to create stored procedures. This allows developers to move business logic deeper into the database itself. Unfortunately, this is often very hard to test in isolation.

The current state of testing in PostgreSQL is to run make installcheck, which runs a myriad of SQL commands living in files in the sql directory, with the results checked against a bunch more files living in the expected directory. This works, but is often-times difficult to add into existing test suites, which ultimately leaves holes in testing.


So, You Want to Build a Database - Part 2: The Heart of a Database, CRUD(S)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - Jerry Sievert

All databases consist of a handful of operations: Create, Read, Update, Delete, and sometimes Scan. If this sounds a lot like reading and writing files on a disk, it is. At their core, databases need access to both data and metadata. An operating system provides this in a very basic form of a filesystem. As a simple approach to building a database, the reliance on a filesystem is key, as it provides a lot of metadata, and allows us to move forward with one less layer to deal with.


So, You Want to Build a Database (Part 1)

Sunday, January 31, 2016 - Jerry Sievert

It's silly, really: rebuilding one of the things that has been considered a "solved problem" for a number of years. But, I've always felt that in order to understand a problem fully, one must understand the problems that those who came before us were trying to solve; to take a trip through their design decisions, and to understand why they chose the solutions that they did.


When Your Postgres Database and ORM Collide: Partitioning

Thursday, March 26, 2015 - Jerry Sievert

An ORM (Object-Relational Mapping) has become a near-essential tool of software development. Whether you agree with the model or not, it has become ubiquitous. So, what happens when your ORM is so generic that it can't actually deal with the advanced features of your database? Problem: impedance mismatch. How bad can it be? Really bad, and the workarounds can be just as bad, if not worse.