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Articles tagged: data types

Craig Kerstiens

Postgres data types you should consider using

Written byBy Craig Kerstiens | August 29, 2018Aug 29, 2018

Postgres is a rich and powerful database. And the existence of PostgreSQL extension APIs have enabled Postgres to expand its capabilities beyond the boundaries of what you would expect in a traditional relational database. Examples of popular Postgres extensions today include HyperLogLog, which gives you approximate distincts with a small footprint—to rich geospatial support via PostGIS—to Citus which helps you scale out your Postgres database across multiple nodes to improve performance for multi-tenant SaaS applications and real-time analytics dashboards—to the built-in full text search capabilities in PostgreSQL. With all the bells and whistles you can layer into Postgres, sometimes the most basic built-ins get overlooked.

PostgreSQL has nearly 100 different data types, and these data types can come with their own tuned indexing or their own specialized functions. You probably already use the basics such as integers and text, and today we’re going to take a survey of less-used but incredibly powerful PostgreSQL data types.

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Data has a certain gravity and inertia. Once it’s stored it’s not likely to be actively moved or frequently modified. At least not for your one source of truth. Protecting that data and ensuring it’s both safely stored but also correct is worth the time investment because of the value it has.

Going further, your database schema and models are going to change far less than your application code. Because it changes less frequently the case can easily be made that spending some time to ensure correctness at the database level is a great return on time.

This post was the result of a recent talk I recently gave at PgDay Paris. The conference itself was a great local event in Paris, and while there we had a chance to meet with a few of our customers based in Paris as well. As it’s always great to get out in person and chat with people about Postgres and their experience in scaling their database, many remarked that the talk could be useful to others that weren’t there. So as I thought it would be worthwhile to write-up, and here you go:

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