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Preface

This book is the official documentation of PostgreSQL. It is being written by the PostgreSQL developers and other volunteers in parallel to the development of the PostgreSQL software. It describes all the functionality that the current version of PostgreSQL officially supports.

To make the large amount of information about PostgreSQL manageable, this book has been organized in several parts. Each part is targeted at a different class of users, or at users in different stages of their PostgreSQL experience:

  • Part I is an informal introduction for new users.

  • Part II documents the SQL query language environment, including data types and functions, as well as user-level performance tuning. Every PostgreSQL user should read this.

  • Part III describes the installation and administration of the server. Everyone that runs a PostgreSQL server, be it for private use or for others, should read this part.

  • Part IV describes the programming interfaces for PostgreSQL client programs.

  • Part V contains information for advanced users about the extensibility capabilities of the server. Topics are, for instance, user-defined data types and functions.

  • Part VI contains information about the syntax of SQL commands, client and server programs. This part supports the other parts with structured information sorted by command or program.

  • Part VII contains assorted information that can be of use to PostgreSQL developers.

What is PostgreSQL?

PostgreSQL is an object-relational database management system (ORDBMS) based on POSTGRES, Version 4.2, developed at the University of California at Berkeley Computer Science Department. POSTGRES pioneered many concepts that only became available in some commercial database systems much later.

PostgreSQL is an open-source descendant of this original Berkeley code. It supports SQL92 and SQL99 and offers many modern features:

  • complex queries
  • foreign keys
  • triggers
  • views
  • transactional integrity
  • multiversion concurrency control

Also, PostgreSQL can be extended by the user in many ways, for example by adding new

  • data types
  • functions
  • operators
  • aggregate functions
  • index methods
  • procedural languages

And because of the liberal license, PostgreSQL can be used, modified, and distributed by everyone free of charge for any purpose, be it private, commercial, or academic.

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