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Re: What can we learn from MySQL?

From: Jeff Davis <jdavis-pgsql(at)empires(dot)org>
To: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
Cc: PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: What can we learn from MySQL?
Date: 2004-04-23 08:08:30
Message-ID: 1082707709.32307.1127.camel@jeff (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacypgsql-hackerspgsql-www
On Thu, 2004-04-22 at 21:09, Bruce Momjian wrote:

> My question is, "What can we learn from MySQL?"  I don't know there is
> anything, but I think it makes sense to ask the question.
> 

One common thing people talk about is ease of use. However that puzzles
me, since it takes all of (about) three commands to install postgresql
and log into the database for the first time. I use debian, so it
amounts to "apt-get install", su to "postgres" and "psql template1".

I suspect some of the difficulties lie in how distributions of linux (a
large part of the pg user base) present postgres.

Postgres is a server system, and the only real interface it provides is
SQL, and "CREATE TABLE" and other simple commands are the same as in
MySQL. How can it be easier to use?

I think debian does a great job, do other distros make it so easy?

Here are some ideas at the distribution level:

	o  Ask a question during install to create a database other than
	   template0 and template1.
	o  If it's a GUI-based distro, install and lauch pgadmin3 and
	   provide some icons.
	o  If it's a GUI distro, lauch a browser to a special tutorial
	   at the distributors website so that users can see instantly
	   how to start doing things without going through the install
	   instructions or instructions about how to create a new
	   database. It should show pgadmin3 and show how to execute
	   queries (and provide the same simple examples you see in any
	   SQL tutorial), and then later show how to use psql from the
	   command line.
	o  If it's being installed from the command line, maybe have a
	   final question "Launch PgSQL quickstart?" that would run a
	   script to provide instructions interactively, like saying
	   "Now type createdb ... this will make a starting database",
	   "now type psql ...", "now type CREATE TABLE ...".
	o  If you look at windows packages, even servers, there's always
	   an interface to click on and then "browse around". This
	   interface detects the fact that something is installed and
	   allows you to administer it somehow.

Those are just ideas. MySQL doesn't do any of that, so I can't really
see how people say it's easier.

One very legitimate concern is the PostgreSQL site's search
functionality. I really like php.net, and I think MySQL tries to make
their website like PHP's. That requires manpower, and we've already
discussed that on this list.

Overall, I think that the PostgreSQL project has done everything very
well. It compiles very nicely and provides a lot of tools. Beyond that,
we just need adoption from application developers, distributions who
spend more time making PostgreSQL easy to use, and ISPs.

I don't know what you mean by "too technically driven". I guess the
release process of postgresql isn't very marketing friendly. Often what
happens with development being as open as it is here, is that people get
excited about a set of new features, and not all of them make it in to
the next release. From the outside it looks like postgres is slow and
not providing many new features. Maybe we should throw old features into
the press release just to remind people that postgres has had the
features for years :)  (i.e. "7.5 has native win32 support, and yes, it
still has foreign keys and stored procedures, and yes, they even work in
win32!" might work, assuming of course that win32 is ready for release
at that time).

Regards,
	Jeff Davis


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