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SFPUG Feb: Wiretapping the Wire Protocol

Who: Maciek Sakrejda of Heroku

What: Cartographer: a data visualization tool for Postgres

Where: New Heroku Offices

Food & Venue Sponsor: Heroku

While psql is a great ad-hoc query tool and offers a very useful admin interface, command line tools have some inherent shortcomings, especially in terms of data visualization. However, pure GUI tools have to start from scratch to provide a fluid keyboard-driven interface, and many end up with a frustrating, sub-par experience.

Cartographer explores the idea of mitigating these issues by providing simple, automated data visualization of the results of psql queries. Your interaction with the database is still through psql, but at any point, you can switch to a separate window listening in on your session. From there, you'll see an automatic chart for your latest result set (when appropriate), your query history, and other data visualization options (as fitting).

This talk will then discuss the more general idea of shimming in at the protocol level to build Postgres tools, with Cartographer as an example. The Postgres wire protocol is well documented and fairly straightforward, and the Go FEMEBE library makes it easy to build proxies and other similar tools.

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