Robert Haas takes a comparative look at PostgreSQL and MongoDB’s features emphasized
by its MongoDB CEO in an interview:
Schireson also mentions another advantage of document stores: schema
flexibility. Of course, he again ignores the possible advantages, for some
users, of a fixed schema, such as better validity checking. But more
importantly, he ignores the fact that relational databases such as
PostgreSQL have had similar capabilities since before MongoDB existed.
PostgreSQL’s hstore, which provides the ability to store and index
collections of key-value pairs in a fashion similar to what MongoDB
provides, was first released in December of 2006, the year before MongoDB
development began. True JSON capabilities were added to the PostgreSQL core
as part of the 9.2 release, which went GA in September of 2012. The 9.4
release, expected later this year, will greatly expand those capabilities.
In today’s era of rapid innovation, any database product whose market
advantage is based on the format in which it is able to store data will not
retain that advantage for very long.
difficult impossible to debate or contradict the majority of facts and arguments the author is making. But in order to understand the history and future of developer tools, it’s worth emphasizing one aspect that has been almost completely ignored for way too long. — and the author mentions it just briefly.
Developers want to get things done. Fast and Easy.
For too long vendors thought that a tool that had a feature covered was enough. Even if the user had to read a book or two, hire an army of consultants, postpone the deadlines, and finally make three incantations to get it working. This strategy worked well for decades. It worked especially well in the space of databases where buying decisions where made at the top level due to the humongous costs.
MySQL became one of the most popular database because it was free and perceived to be easier than any of the alternatives. Not because it was first. Not because it was feature complete. And definitely not because it was technically superior — PostgreSQL was always technically superior, but never got the install base MySQL got.
MongoDB replays this story by the book. It’s free. It promises features that were missing or are considered complicated in the other products. And it’s perceived as the easiest to use database — a look at MongoDB’s history will reveal immediately its primary focus on ease of use: great documentation, friendly setup, fast getting started experience. For a lot of people, it really doesn’t matter anymore that there are alternative solutions that offer technically superior solutions. They’ve got their things done. Fast and Easy. Tomorrow is another day.
Original title and link: Why the clock is ticking for MongoDB