Standing on the shoulders of an open source giant (elephant)

100x58_1When you’ve been developing one piece of software for a number of years there are inevitably one or two decisions you make early on that with hindsight you’d make differently. However, there’s one major decision that we at agileBase get happier with every day: choosing PostgreSQL as our data store.

As a customer, you may not know the details of which database is used to store your data, or the technicalities of what a database is exactly, but it’s worth highlighting a few points that have a direct impact on your business with us. The database forms such a large part of our offering – it’s what keeps your data safe and means however many users you add, the system remains lightning fast. Our own ‘fast, friendly and flexible’ agileBase platform built on top of the database takes advantage of that.

Besides robustness and performance, there are a few other business benefits:

Open source

The database is open source – one could talk for a long time about what that means, but for you and I there are three main benefits

  1. It’s free. There are no license fees for customers to pay. That way we can remain extremely good value.
  2. There’s a large body of active developers improving it all the time. That often manifests itself in security and performance improvements that bring great benefits to all customers without us lifting a finger. For example, recently parallel processing has been added that will let us speed up many parts of the system massively.
  3. There’s a great community of users and developers. When our programmers want to find out the best way to do something, there’s loads of help out there.

Some stats

  • 67 people form the current team of developers, including 5 from the core team and 39 major contributors
  • 1.5 million lines of code form the database, from a starting point of just 100,000 in 1996
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  • There are approx. 6,000 mailing list (support, developer and community) messages per month

While agileBase is at the moment a relatively small startup, it’s nice to know that some larger outfits such as Instagram, Sony, the Met Office and many large enterprise, financial and government/defence organisations also see the benefits. As Amazon say,

PostgreSQL has become the preferred open source relational database for many enterprise developers and start-ups, powering leading geospatial and mobile applications

 

 

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