Today Heroku, a platform cloud company owned by Salesforce.com, released a free PostgreSQL app for Macintosh OSX called Postgres.app. You can download the beta here today, and it will be available on the Mac App Store within the next couple weeks. The app is also on GitHub. OS X Lion and Mountain Lion are supported.
PostgreSQL is an open source relational database system comparable to the proprietary Oracle Database and the open source database MySQL. PostGreSQL has a long history dating back to the University of California Berkeley in 1986. The original Postgres project was created by Michael Stonebraker as a successor to Ingres. The open source PostGreSQL began in earnest in 1996.
Although the database has been praised for its scalability and reliability, it’s always been overshadowed by MySQL. Heroku hopes to change that. “Our primary motivation for this project was to lower the barrier for using Postgres, allowing more people than ever before to try out cool features like hstore, full-text search, window functions, and geospatial querying,” states Heroku’s announcement.
As to how this supports Heroku’s core business as a cloud provider, again from the announcement:
Another motivation for the project was to simplify achieving parity between development and production environments. The majority of active apps on Heroku use Postres, but we found that many developers use SQLite or MySQL on their local development machines. This can lead to subtle and hard-to-diagnose problems. Dev-prod parity is on of the best-practices set forth in The Twelve-Factor App and is an easy, low-cost way to enhancing developer productivity.
Although PostGreSQL already offered OSX packages, the Heroku app will make it trivial to install PostGreSQL locally on a Mac.