By Daniele Varrazzo.
PostgreSQL 9.1 is quickly rolling to the beta phase, and the release will bring a new useful feature: extensions. Well, actually extensions have always existed, but they didn’t have an identity before: what you used to get was a set of loose objects and mysterious functions in your namespace, typically getting in the way in your dump and restore. Now here it is: CREATE EXTENSION, in all its uppercase glory!
So, an extension will exist in your database, and this finally gives the possibility to organize them, this is what PGXN is for: a repository for metadata, documentation and code, neatly packaged and asking to be picked off the shelf. I’ve recently written an extension myself so I got some original material to play with PGXN, which has resulted in quite a pleasant experience: the infrastructure is well done thanks to David’s design, and the API is ridiculously easy to interact with: I’ve literally explored it using curl.
There was a big piece missing in the jigsaw that’s being composed: a client to make easy for database developers and administrators to download, build and install extensions, and with PGXN getting more mature and people starting packaging their work it was really begging to be written! So here it is:
pgxn.client pgxnclient, a command line tool to interact with PGXN. There is still a lot to be developed, but the idea is to release early, get feedback for it and improve it quickly to complete the extensions picture. So it’s already available on PyPI and very easy to start with it: just use
$ sudo easy_install pgxnclient
and in a few seconds you will have a script called
pgxn, offering several commands that can be displayed with
pgxn --help (and currently this is the most up-to-date documentation you can get, as new commands are getting added very quickly).
Were you looking for a solution to store hashes? You may try:
$ pgxn search hash
sha a possible solution?
$ pgxn info sha
INFO: best version: sha 1.0.0
abstract: This module provides datatypes for storing SHA-1,
SHA-2 and MD5 hashes
maintainer: Alexey Klyukin <a...@commandprompt.com>
provides: sha: 1.0.0
Let’s say it is exactly what we were looking for (we could also display the readme with
pgxn info --readme). Shall we give it a try?
$ sudo pgxn install sha
INFO: best version: sha 1.0.0
INFO: saving /tmp/tmpj8G6kM/sha-1.0.0.zip
INFO: unpacking: /tmp/tmpj8G6kM/sha-1.0.0.zip
INFO: building extension
[some compiler log]
INFO: installing extension
[files being copied]
Now the code is in the right place in the database directory (a specific
pg_config can be specified to choose which one): If you want it in a specific database:
$ pgxn load -U postgres -d test sha
This will result in CREATE EXTENSION being invoked, if the target database supports it, or in the loading of the provided sql file for PostgreSQL versions up to 9.0.
Easy, wasn’t it?
There are still a lot of features to add:
- drop extension from a database and uninstall from the system
- select the target schema
- work with locally downloaded packages
pgxnclient uses the PGXN server on a side and the PGXS build infrastructure on the other, the features will be easy to add and the client work is actually an easy one.
Give it a try if you want: your feedback is very welcome. Meanwhile we will keep on adding features to cover the entire extensions life cycle.
Edit: the program has been renamed to pgxnclient: the relevant URLs have been updated.