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Better Features document?

From: Joel Burton <jburton(at)scw(dot)org>
To: pgsql-general(at)postgresql(dot)org, pgsql-docs(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Better Features document?
Date: 2001-04-07 19:52:00
Message-ID: (view raw, whole thread or download thread mbox)
Lists: pgsql-docspgsql-general
One thing that confused me when I started seriously looking at PostgreSQL
was the features it had relative to other competitors. We have so many
powerful features that are often underused by new users:

  * procedural languages
  * triggers
  * rules
  * views
  * custom aggregate functions
  * ... and more

and so on. The documentation does a good job (& gets better all the
time!) at explaining this, but many users never read that far into the
documentation, and, of course, many people never get to the documentation
at all -- they're evaluating software by a 10-minute glance through the
web site.

We have a features document at

but this covers the architecture of the system (postgres / postmaster,
etc), and very little about some of our other competitive advantages.

My fear is that users & potential users come to PG w/o learning what a
view is, how triggers can be helpful in designing database systems, why
custom aggregates are so great, etc. (Those of us w/CS backgrounds do well
to remember how many web database designers don't have that background!)

Therefore, people compare us sometimes w/other database systems (mostly
MySQL simply as 'MySQL seems faster and easier to install, but PostgreSQL
has some features, like transactions, that may be useful to complicated
databases', completely missing how many PG features are important to
everyone that is designing databases, simple or large.

I started writing a 'Features+' document a few months ago, but it got sat
aside during a busy work time. I'd like to restart that work.

I don't want to recreate the manuals -- I envision something like a 5-page
'product datasheet' that explains just enough about what a trigger is so
that users have no excuse for not digging into that chapter, and that
people understand how fantasic procedural languages are.

Before I start digging into that, does anyone know if there
exists a short- or medium- length (2-5 p) document that explains, for
ordinary database mortals, about the sophisticated features of PG?

Does anyone want to help put this together?

Joel Burton   <jburton(at)scw(dot)org>
Director of Information Systems, Support Center of Washington


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