PostgreSQL 8.4 now available
The PostgreSQL developers have released version 8.4 of the open source database saying it is "Now easier to use than ever". The release, which comes after sixteen months of development by the PostgeSQL Global Development Group, adds a number of new features such as per-column permissions which gives more control over which users can see which columns in a database.
Parallel database restore has been included to speed up recovery from backups by as much as eight times, while in-place upgrades using pg_migrator should allow users to upgrade from PostreSQL 8.3 to 8.4 with minimal downtime. New monitoring tools allow administrators to profile query activity, load and deadlocks to optimise their deployments. Other optimisations include a reduction in the overhead of VACUUM, used to tidy the database storage.
For database users, new windowing functions, common table expressions, recursive queries and more conformance to the SQL standard – for example, implementing "TABLE tablename", which is the same as "SELECT * FROM tablename" – have been incorporated. "These query structures increase the expressiveness of PostgreSQL's dialect of SQL substantially, allowing users to ask interesting questions in a single query that would have been impossible to ask before" said Sailesh Krishnamurthy of Truviso, commenting on the new features. Enhancements to stored procedures and their handling of parameters have also been made.
A full list of the new features is available, as are detailed release notes. PostgreSQL 8.4 is available, as binaries for FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and Windows and as the full BSD licensed source code, to download.