Category Archives: Databases

[Video 252] Paul Ramsey: PostGIS Feature Frenzy

PostgreSQL is a highly extensible database; it allows you to create new types, as well as functions to work with those types. PostGIS is an add-on for PostgreSQL that turns it into a spatial database — one that can keep track of where things are located, and perform queries based on locations. In this talk, Paul Ramsey describes the main features of PostGIS, and when (and how) you would want to take advantage of them.

[Video 251] Josh Berkus: Shootout at the PAAS Corral

Is it a good idea to put PostgreSQL in the cloud? If so, then which cloud (“Platform as a service” — “PaaS”) provider provides the best performance? And which options should you use, once you have settled on a vendor?  These are questions that I’m increasingly asked by my clients, and I was thus particularly happy to have discovered this talk, in which  Josh Berkus describes his investigation and comparison of various PostgreSQL cloud providers. If you’re wondering whether the cloud is an appropriate location for your database, but weren’t sure which provider might make the most sense, this talk should be quite interesting for you.

[Video 243] Robert Haas: Limitations of the PostgreSQL Core Technology

PostgreSQL is a great database — but every technology involves trade-offs and limitations.   In this talk, Robert Haas lists many of issues that PostgreSQL faces, from the on-disk format to logical replication to connection pooling. What issues exist, what can be done to improve things, and what are the core developers doing to move in that direction? If you’re a user of PostgreSQL, or just curious to learn about the architecture of relational databases, this talk should be of great interest to you.

[Video 237] Michael Stonebreaker: Turing Lecture, 2015

If you use databases, then you almost certainly should be grateful to Michael Stonebreaker, who has been researching, creating, and advancing databases for many decades. Stonebreaker was awarded this year’s Turing award (the top prize in computer science) by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), recognizing his work. In this lecture, Stonebreaker gives us a survey of database history and technology, as well as where databases are headed. Whether you are a fan of SQL or NoSQL, anyone who uses databases should listen to this talk.

[Video 230] Markus Winand: Modern SQL in PostgreSQL

Many of us who work with relational databases don’t think too much about SQL. We use it, of course, but it’s easy to forget that SQL — like other languages — has grown, evolved, and improved over the years.  There are many features included in modern SQLs, and PostgreSQL has included many of them in its recent releases. In this talk, Markus Winand describes many of these features — how to use them, and also when to use them.

[Video 212] Pat Shaughnessy – Twenty Thousand Leagues Under ActiveRecord

What happens when, within a Ruby on Rails application, you use ActiveRecord to submit a query? In this talk, Pat Schaughnessy traces your query all the way through to the database (in this case, PostgreSQL), and demonstrates how much work Ruby and the database are doing. If you’ve ever wondered how much work happens when you invoke a single Ruby method, now you’ll have your answer.

[Video 205] Vibhor Kumar: The NoSQL Way in PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is obviously a relational database. (The “SQL” in its name sorta gives that away.)  But PostgreSQL has, over the last few versions, added a growing number of features normally associated with NoSQL. In this talk, Vibhor Kumar describes some of the latest NoSQL features to be added and improved in PostgreSQL, , including the Hstore key-value storage and the JSONB storage type.

[Video 204] Magnus Hagander: A look at the Elephant’s trunk

PostgreSQL has been around for 20 years, and continues to be a popular and powerful open-source project, with a growing number of companies adopting it for their database needs.  The PostgreSQL developers typically release a new version toward the end of every calendar year; this year, we can expect  version 9.5 at some point late in 2015. In this talk, Magnus Hagander describes the new features that PostgreSQL 9.5 will include. If you use PostgreSQL (or are wondering why so many people are now adopting it), this talk will shed light on the future directions of PostgreSQL, and will provide you with the insights you need to prepare for this new version.

[Video 193] Jeremy Zawodny: Realtime search at Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the best-known, and most popular, Web sites, allowing people to find household items, find apartments, and jobs (among other things). How does Craiglist’s back end work? How is it able to provide such fast and responsive search results? In this talk, Jeremy Zawodny describes how Craigslist has evolved over time, and how this evolution has allowed them to improve their search responsiveness. If you’re interested in how to scale Web applications, then Craigslist is a great example, and their technology choices are useful to learn about, too.

[Video 191] Mark Madsen: Following Google — or Don’t follow the followers, follow the leader

Computers have brought the issues of user interface (UI/UX) to the forefront — but designers and engineers have been considering these issues for thousands of years, across many different technologies. Creating and improving technologies is never a matter of right vs. wrong, but rather a matter of balancing the trade-offs. In this talk, Mark Madsen describes a number of the trade-offs that engineers have made throughout history, and then tells us how this perspective applies to SQL vs. NoSQL and big data analytics. Even if you’re not working with big data, this talk is a fun and clever history of various data storage and retrieval mechanisms, starting with clay tablets.