Tuesday, 16 December 2008

PostgreSQL management on the iPhone

Back in the summer Bob Zurek (CTO at EnterpriseDB) persuaded me to spend some time on a simple iPhone application for remote administration of PostgreSQL and Postgres Plus. I decided to write it as a web app as I didn't really have the spare time to learn Objective-C to the level required and besides, there are certain advantages to handling most of the processing server-side - for example, paging of large result sets from arbitrary user queries can be made more efficient. As is often the way, other projects took over and it fell by the wayside despite being more or less complete, but I finally managed to find the spare cycles to get Sachin from our installer team to package it up (thanks Sachin) - and I'm pleased to say that as of today it's finally available through StackBuilder for those of you with an iPhone or iPod touch.

So, what does it do? Not a massive amount admittedly - it's designed primarily for emergency maintenance (and frankly, who wants to do their day to day work on a phone?), but as can be seen from the main menu there are options to view server info, connections, GUC variables, locks, prepared transactions, and the ability to run arbitrary SQL queries.

The Info tool for example, displays various details of the server you're connected to. The installer will setup a connection to the local server, but you can add as many more as you like:

Probably the most useful feature is the ability to run arbitrary SQL queries. Batches of rows are summarised in a list, with the usual option at the end to get fetch the next batch. Selecting a row will display the complete set of values - the screenshot below captures the row details sliding across the display from the right:

If you want to have a go, just select the pgPhoneHome download in StackBuilder.

Oh... and while I think of it, we also updated the installer for the PostgreSQL JDBC driver to v8.3-604 at the same time.

Enjoy :-)

Friday, 5 December 2008

StackBuilder application updates

I've just published a number of updates to various StackBuilder applications (if you're not sure what Stackbuilder is, see my previous blog post which included a brief description). The updates available are:
  • ApachePHP has been updated to Apache v2.2.10 & PHP v5.2.6 (Linux 32/64 bit, OS X and Windows).
  • Drupal has been updated to v6.6 (Linux 32/64 bit, OS X and Windows).
  • mediaWiki has been updated to 1.13.2 (Windows).
  • psqlODBC has been updated to 08.03.0400 (Linux 32/64 bit, OS X and Windows).
  • EnterpriseDB Tuning Wizard has been updated to 1.2 (Linux 32/64 bit and OS X).
So, fire up StackBuilder and start downloading those updates!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Going mobile with a Linux netbook

A friend of mine bought a Linux based Acer Aspire One netbook, and asked me to help get it working with her Three (a UK 3G network) mobile broadband dongle. It's not entirely straightforward to figure out, but is pretty easy once you know how.

Initial setup

- Click on Settings and run the Aspire's Live Update program to update the operating system with the latest patches. Reboot when prompted. Keep doing this until Live Update reports that all updates have been installed.

- Shutdown the Aspire, and plug in the Three modem.

- Boot the Aspire, and select the Mobile Partner app on the Connect tab.

- Wait for Mobile Partner to detect the modem.

- Select Tools -> Options, and the click the New button.

- Give the profile a name, such as 'Three mobile broadband' and configure the following options:

  APN type: Static

  APN name: three.co.uk

  Access number: *99#

  Username: three

  Password: three

  Protocol: chap

- Save the profile.

Daily use

- Boot the Aspire, and plug in the modem. If a file browser window opens, close it.

- Run the Mobile Partner app on the Connect tab.

- Wait for Mobile Partner to detect the modem.

- Click the Connect button.

- When Mobile Partner has connected, minimise (don't close) it, fire up the web browser and away you go!

And what's the PostgreSQL angle you might ask? There isn't one. Sorry.

Monday, 17 November 2008

More StackBuilder apps available for Linux & Mac

If you've ever used PostgreSQL 8.3 on Windows, you'll be aware of StackBuilder, the package management tool that's included for downloading and installing additional tools, drivers and applications to work with PostgreSQL. Designed to be really easy to use, you simply run StackBuilder, choose the applications you wish to install (any dependencies will be automatically installed as well), and it will download them and set them up to work with your PostgreSQL installation.
With the release of PostgreSQL 8.3.5 a few of weeks ago, we (the excellent team I work with at EnterpriseDB) added Linux and Mac ports of StackBuilder to the PostgreSQL 'one click' installers that we maintain, and as of Friday have an almost identical set of applications available via StackBuilder on Windows, Mac and Linux (32 and 64 bit).

So, currently available for all four platforms, we have:
  • PostgreSQL 8.3.5
  • psqlODBC
  • pgJDBC
  • PostGIS
  • Slony
  • Apache + PHP
  • Drupal*
  • mediaWiki
  • phpBB
  • phpPgAdmin
  • phpWiki
In addition, we also published our own Tuning Wizard and MySQL Migration Wizard apps. We're working on additional updates and new apps all the time, so fire up StackBuilder regularly to check for new packages.

* Note: The Drupal release for 64 bit Linux has been delayed due to a last minute issue found during testing.

Ladies and gentlemen, normal service has been resumed...

As you may have heard, there was recently a major disaster with planetpostgresql.org. After a subtle nudge from Magnus, I figured I'd better sort out a new home for my blog as apparently I'm one of few remaining 404's on the PostgreSQL blog aggregator.

So, here we go. As a fairly heavy user of Google products already, it made sense to use Blogger, which despite the expected issues with the WYSIWYG editor and copy/paste on the Mac, so far seems pretty good. I've managed to scrape together most of the old posts thanks to the WayBack Machine which is good. A few have probably gone forever, but such is life.

Anyway, more later - I'll post a news update on some PostgreSQL work shortly...

Monday, 27 October 2008

LinuxLive Report

PostgreSQL had a booth in the .Org Village at LinuxLive/MacLive on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week.

Greg Stark and I attended all three days, and brought badges, pins and shirts from the UK conference, as well as signs, flyers and demo hardware from our office. Mark Cave-Ayland split his time between our booth and his companies on all three days. Simon Riggs joined us on the Friday, during which time he was interviewed by the Ubuntu guys for their regular podcast. Gianni Ciolli joined us on the Saturday.

The show was pretty quiet, with both .Org and commercial stands commenting similarly. We did see a fairly steady stream of people throughout all three days however, with roughly a 50/50 split between existing users stopping for a chat, advice or to find out what's going to be in 8.4, and potential new users. By far the most popular question asked was 'why should I use PostgreSQL instead of MySQL', second to which were questions about replication (ie. when will we see PostgreSQL RAC? !!).

Things we should have taken but don't have include:

- PG vs. MySQL flyers
- PG.EU flyers. What is it, mailing lists, conferences etc.
- 'Famous users' poster
- 'What's new in 8.4' poster
- Usage example posters (eg. company Foo use PG + Slony to do whizz bang stuff).
- Elephant Juice (after seeing people getting merry on 'Drupal Drops'!)

Thanks to all those who helped out, and 'hi' to anyone that stopped by the booth, and to the guys from Debian, OpenBSD/OpenSSH, UKUUG, Bongo, OpenNMS and anyone else we were hanging out with!

Dodgy pics from the phone at http://www.flickr.com/photos/29058417@N03/

Thursday, 21 February 2008

UK PostgreSQL Conference 2008

So finally after years of on-off discussions at the pub, Simon Riggs and I have finally got the first ever UK PostgreSQL Conference organised! It will be on April the 2nd, in central Birmingham. The theme is 'PostgreSQL in the UK'.

So, to avoid disappointment, visit the conference website and book your place today!