The PostgreSQL Global Development Group has released version 8.4 of the PostgreSQL open source database. The new release contains 293 new or improved features, including many enhancements to make administering, querying, and programming of PostgreSQL databases easier. The most numerous changes in PostgreSQL 8.4 are new or improved administration and monitoring tools and commands.
Bruce Momjian, core developer and co-founder of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, tells 5 Minute Briefing that "probably three of the most important new features in version 8.4 are windowing functions, recursive queries, and common data expressions. Windowing functions enable special types of data aggregations that provide fine grained control over specific rows and columns. These functions allow users to perform aggregations on various dimensions of a variable, and not just the variable itself. Recursive queries enable more advanced analytics because users can run through queries as a list or tree directory, and common data expressions provide for more standardized query and analysis."
Other popular enhancements include parallel database restore for speeding up recovery from backup, per-column permissions that allow more granular control of sensitive data, per-database collation support making PostgreSQL more useful in multi-lingual environments, in-place upgrades which enable upgrades from 8.3 to 8.4 without extensive downtime, and new query monitoring tools that give administrators more insight into query activity.
PostgreSQL is the collective work of hundreds of developers, building on more than 20 years of development which began at the University of California, Berkeley. With its long-term support of enterprise-level transactional database features and scalability, PostgreSQL is being used by many of businesses and government agencies. PostgreSQL is distributed under a BSD license, which allows use and distribution without fees for both commercial and non-commercial applications.
For more information about PostgreSQL 8.4, go here.