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.


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.


Building a MongoDB Clone in Postgres: Part 2

Friday, June 15, 2012 - Jerry Sievert

In the first installment we dealt with creating collections and deep inspection of the JSON object once it was inserted. In this installment, we will be covering saving the data and building WHERE clauses from MongoDB queries in order to retrieve the data that we've written.


Building a MongoDB Clone in Postgres: Part 1

Monday, June 4, 2012 - Jerry Sievert

I had a crazy thought. Don't all good ideas start with that phrase? Well, this one was suitably crazy: why not build my own version of MongoDB right on top of Postgres? It sounds a little far-fetched, but in all honesty it's pretty simple.


Stupid PostgreSQL Tricks: Writable Views

Thursday, August 19, 2010 - Jerry Sievert

When needing two or more fairly disparate systems to work together seamlessly, having complete flexibility at the database level can be a blessing.

Take for instance the problem of a ten year old legacy system hosting millions of accounts, and an up to date content management system that needs complete access to that data as if it were its own. You can manage multiple systems with complicated triggers, methods for moving data around, expensive joins, funky stored procedures, hacks to the code, or you can simply use a writable view.