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Re: Compressing Fields?

From: Bruce Momjian <pgman(at)candle(dot)pha(dot)pa(dot)us>
To: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)cbbrowne(dot)com>
Cc: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: Compressing Fields?
Date: 2003-05-31 03:11:33
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-hackers
You are going to love the answer to this question --- it already does
compression of any long fields when it is stored in the TOAST table.

In fact, you have to turn off compression if you don't want it using


Christopher Browne wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone has had occasion to hook up a compression scheme 
> (Huffman/gzip/zlib/whatever) as a PostgreSQL function.
> I've got a case where there is a need to store fairly large chunks of XML in a 
> database.  There seems little reason to parse it beforehand, as many seem wont 
> to do.  In fact, there will often be no need to look at it at all.  Typically, 
> it will be ignored, only to be looked at if a human specifically asks for it.
> Ergo, it would be a slick idea to cut a 1700 byte field down to 253 by 
> [somehow compressing it] before sticking it into a "bytea" field.  That will 
> save on disk space, pack more records into pages, and generally lead to 
> queries being a bit cheaper.
> insert into log_table (id, txn_date, metadata, xml) values
>  (4271324, '2003-07-01', 'Useless Data',
>   compress('<xml> <a> <b> This is worthless data </b> <c status="139"/> <d> <e>
>  Foo </e> </d> <bar> And 8K of futile murmurings </bar> </a> </xml>');
> 90% of the time, we need only:
> select id, txn_date, metadata from log_table;
> And the other 10%, we do
> select id, txn_date, metadata, uncompress(xml) from logtable where id in 
> (871009, 873281, 8321947);
> It would surely be possible for the client software to do the compression, but 
> it seems an interesting thought to do it on the server, thereby making it 
> "language-neutral" such that I could write client software in Perl, Python, or 
> even  use Pierre Mai's binding to CMU/CL without having to worry about whether 
> or not there's a binding of the compression algorithm to whatever client 
> language I might imagine using.
> I don't see anything in contrib for this.  pgcrypto obviously does something 
> similar for cryptographic functions, but I don't see compression on the list.
> Presumably something could be constructed using zlib; if anyone has done this 
> already, it would be nice to know of...
> --
> output = reverse("moc.enworbbc" "@" "enworbbc")
> "Bureaucracies interpret communication as damage and route around it"
> -- Jamie Zawinski
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  Bruce Momjian                        |
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