Chris Mair

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Book review: Learn PostgreSQL

Learn PostgresSQL book cover

My colleagues Enrico Pirozzi and Luca Ferrari asked me to review their latest book. I gladly obliged :-)

“Learn PostgreSQL” is a complete and well written book. Users of all levels from beginners to daily users of Postgres will find this book to be a very helpful guide.

What I like: No concept is missing. Some introductory books barely scratch the surface of the more advanced concepts, such as SQL window functions, how Postgres implements row level security or the inner workings of the write ahead log.

Not so “Learn PostgreSQL”. Everything is there.

Despite the breadth of coverage, the book is not just a rehash of the official documentation. Everything is explained, not just listed. The examples are carefully chosen to be as simple as possible, but not too simple.

I’m a long time Postgres user, yet “Learn PostgreSQL” thought me some interesting stuff I’ve overlooked in all these years. I wish I had this book when I started using Postgres!

What I don’t like: The preface states chapter 15 (Backup and Restore) would introduce external tools (Barman and pgBackRest), but then doesn’t introduce any of the two. I was a bit disappointed until I found pgBackRest is actually explained, hidden away in chapter 19 (Useful Tools and Extensions).

What I would like to see: At 636 pages the book is probably on the larger side, still I think the chapter about server-side programming could see some expansion. Data types are explained well, but the section about PL/PgSQL isn’t as comprehensive as other parts of the book.


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