AUTHOR
Adservio team
DATE
May 13, 2022
CATEGORY
Digital Delivery
What is pgAdmin?

Digital Delivery

10 min

What is pgAdmin?

Graphical user interface (GUI) tools have become a standard part of today's tech workflows. For PostgreSQL management, pgAdmin is considered the go-to solution for users in need of a GUI.

This platform is based on your web browser and allows you to visually interact with SQL database servers both locally and remotely. So what is pgAdmin? Here's what you need to know. 

pgAdmin vs. PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL (or simply "Postgres") is one of the most popular open-source systems for relational database management. PostgreSQL is an alternative to MySQL that provides a highly extensible SQL server.

With the ability to handle a variety of data types and a feature-rich design, widespread PostgreSQL adoption began soon after it was developed to replace INGRES databases more than thirty years ago.

While there are other ways to manage a Postgres database, the simplest approach is to use a GUI tool to make interactions more visual and user-friendly.

Not only does this save developers a lot of time, but it can also allow less tech-savvy users to interact with a database for various purposes. So, what is pgAdmin and why does it exist? 

pgAdmin was created to help PostgreSQL users get the most out of their database. The purpose is to provide a graphical administration tool to make it easier to manipulate schema and data in PostgreSQL (or even multiple installations thereof).

pgAdmin is a completely free and open-source tool for use with PostgreSQL server installations, whether you host it locally, in the cloud, in containers, or in any other environment. 

If you need help visualizing this relationship, think of PostgreSQL as a server and pgAdmin as the client. While PostgreSQL manages your data, pgAdmin is a layer on top of your database that helps you interact with it more easily.

While you certainly don't have to use pgAdmin for database administration, it is considered highly valuable. Plus, its open-source status and ease of customization make it an obvious database management system for PostgreSQL users. 

What is pgAdmin 4? 

You now understand the concept of pgAdmin, but what is pgAdmin 4? As the developers put it, pgAdmin 4 is the latest version, and its development involved a complete rewrite of the original pgAdmin tool.

This version was created using a combination of Javascript/jQuery and Python. Now, you can use pgAdmin as a desktop runtime or on a web application server, depending on your use case.

No matter how you run pgAdmin 4, you'll find that it easily accepts one or more users and creates an environment that looks and feels like a desktop application.

With new user elements to the user interface along with more options for dashboards and deployment, using pgAdmin 4 requires little to no learning curve. 

When and what is pgAdmin used for?

PgAdmin is considered the most advanced open-source GUI tool designed for the most advanced relational database management tools. In other words, pgAdmin and PostgreSQL together create a powerful (and free) combination for your tech stack.

To help you understand why it's important, let's take a closer look at its benefits.

The primary features and benefits of pgAdmin include:

  1. It works across operating systems as it is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  2. You can install pgAdmin anywhere that you're using PostgreSQL.
  3. It's compatible with all versions of PostgreSQL and EDB Postgres Advanced Server.
  4. There is extensive documentation on installing and using pgAdmin.
  5. Deploy in desktop mode or server mode based on your needs.
  6. Unlock query tools for features for faster data entry, debugging, and more.
  7. Perform routine maintenance with tools to backup, restore, vacuum, and analyze.
  8. View, create, and edit all of the standard objects in PostgreSQL.

While it's possible to accomplish these same things without pgAdmin, the value of this tool is that it provides a user-friendly data administration interface for you to handle SQL queries, maintenance, and other necessary processes without using command line prompts.

Additionally, pgAdmin provides monitoring tools that let you see the status of operations at a glance, and it helps automate jobs with its scheduling agent. 

Overall, pgAdmin is a valuable addition to the workflows of most PostgreSQL users.

With so much documentation, it's not difficult to get started, even if you have never installed a GUI tool on top of a database before. The next step is to make sure that pgAdmin is compatible with your PostgreSQL installation. 

pgAdmin vs. pgAgent

We've answered what is pgAdmin, but what about pgAgent? In very old versions of pgAdmin, the tool is known as pgAgent is used to ship as a package. However, you'll find that pgAgent is now available as a separate download. You can choose to use these tools together or independently, depending on your needs.

The primary purpose of pgAgent is to schedule jobs within PostgreSQL. If you have both pgAdmin and pgAgent together, you can use pgAdmin to manage pgAgent. This can make your workflow easier because of the graphical nature of PgAdmin. However, it's not necessary.

Like pgAdmin, pgAgent works on almost any installation of PostgreSQL. You'll find all of the same download links, except for containerized and Python versions, which are not available for pgAgent. 

What is pgAdmin compatible with? 

PgAdmin is an extremely flexible tool designed to work with all versions of PostgreSQL and EDB Postgres Advanced Server.

Additionally, pgAdmin is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Mac, and Linux environments. Whether you're hosting PostgreSQL locally, in the cloud, or with a number of other configurations, you'll likely be able to use pgAdmin.

Options for installing and using pgAdmin include:

  • Windows and MacOS both have dedicated download links for pgAdmin 4 and pgAgent on the pgAdmin website
  • Linux users of REHL or Fedora can download the RPM package for pgAdmin and install it to get started with database management.
  • Ubuntu or Debian users can download the APT package and install it to start managing their PostgreSQL databases. 
  • If you're using Python for your database management and development, you can install the Python package from pgAdmin.
  • Containerized installations of PostgreSQL are also pgAdmin compatible. Simply download the container version (which features the Docker logo) and install it. Once you connect it, you'll be able to use pgAdmin in your browser.
  • The final option is to download the source code for pgAdmin, which is readily available. This is helpful if you plan to modify the existing code or begin open-source development on top of this tool. 

As you can see, there is plenty of flexibility when it comes to how you can use pgAdmin to help you manage your PostgreSQL databases. The question is, do you have the right database solution setup? 

Find the best solution for your business

So, now you have an answer to what is pgAdmin and why you need it. If you're considering using it for your business, you're off to a good start.

After all, it's considered one of the most powerful open-source GUI tools designed to support one of the most powerful open-source database tools.

However, widespread adoption doesn't mean that pgAdmin and PostgreSQL are perfect for your specific use case.

As with most things in business, asking questions like "What is pgAdmin?, what is the meaning of pgAdmin?" can take you down the path to the right answer, but not always in the most direct way.

If you're looking for a database GUI tool—or even an entire database solution that is suited for your business—it's best that you don't leave it up to chance.

Our team at Adservio has the experience you need to shortcut your next project and get on the path to better results. If you're ready to take the next step, reach us to get started!

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