Heroku releases easy Mac Postgres for devs

Heroku's package focuses on developer productivity

To simplify life for developers, platform-as-a-service provider Heroku has released a version of the open source Postgres database designed to be easily run on Apple Macintosh computers.

While the Postgres project itself maintains a version of the database for the Mac, this version would be easier for developers to deploy, asserted Heroku developer Matt Soldo, who created the package.

Soldo will announce the release of Postgres.app during his talk on Postgres at the OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Conference), being held this week in Portland, Oregon.

Owned by Salesforce.com, Heroku offers a number of different development platforms as a hosted service. This release, however, is meant to be used on the developer's local machine, and has no direct ties back to Heroku's Postgres cloud service.

Soldo designed the package to help developers try new Postgres features, such as full-text search and geospatial querying. It includes a number of widely used Postgres libraries and extensions, including the Postgres geospatial library, the PLV8 JavaScript-based procedural language for Postgres, and the hstore key-value storing mechanism.

Soldo also wanted to simplify the developer environment, allowing programmers to replicate on their own machines the Postgres databases that run in the production environments for which they write their applications.

"The majority of active apps on Heroku use Postgres, but we found that many developers use SQLite or MySQL on their local development machines," Soldo wrote in a blog entry announcing the release. "This can lead to subtle and hard-to-diagnose problems."

In this package, the database server immediately starts up when the desktop application is launched and shuts down when the application is closed.

Heroku has posted the application for free downloads. It will also be available from Apple's Mac App Store, pending approval. Postgres.app will run on both Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion.

The source code Postgres.app is available, under the Postgres license, on GitHub.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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