PostgREST is a standalone web server that turns your PostgreSQL database directly into a RESTful API. The structural constraints and permissions in the database determine the API endpoints and operations.
Using PostgREST is an alternative to manual CRUD programming. Custom API servers suffer problems. Writing business logic often duplicates, ignores or hobbles database structure. Object-relational mapping is a leaky abstraction leading to slow imperative code. The PostgREST philosophy establishes a single declarative source of truth: the data itself.
It’s easier to ask PostgreSQL to join data for you and let its query planner figure out the details than to loop through rows yourself. It’s easier to assign permissions to db objects than to add guards in controllers. (This is especially true for cascading permissions in data dependencies.) It’s easier to set constraints than to litter code with sanity checks.
There is no ORM involved. Creating new views happens in SQL with known performance implications. A database administrator can now create an API from scratch with no custom programming.
One Thing Well¶
PostgREST has a focused scope. It works well with other tools like Nginx. This forces you to cleanly separate the data-centric CRUD operations from other concerns. Use a collection of sharp tools rather than building a big ball of mud.
Are you new to PostgREST? This is the place to start!
Explanations of some key concepts in PostgREST.
These are recipes that’ll help you address specific use-cases.
PostgREST has a growing ecosystem of examples, libraries, and experiments. Here is a selection.
Here we’ll include the most relevant changes so you can migrate to newer versions easily. You can see the full changelog of each release in the PostgREST repository.
Here are some companies that use PostgREST in production.
“It’s so fast to develop, it feels like cheating!”
“I just have to say that, the CPU/Memory usage compared to our Node.js/Waterline ORM based API is ridiculous. It’s hard to even push it over 60/70 MB while our current API constantly hits 1GB running on 6 instances (dynos).”
“I like the fact that PostgREST does one thing, and one thing well. While PostgREST takes care of bridging the gap between our HTTP server and PostgreSQL database, we can focus on the development of our API in a single language: SQL. This puts the database in the center of our architecture, and pushed us to improve our skills in SQL programming and database design.”
—Eric Bréchemier, Data Engineer, eGull SAS
“PostgREST is performant, stable, and transparent. It allows us to bootstrap projects really fast, and to focus on our data and application instead of building out the ORM layer. In our k8s cluster, we run a few pods per schema we want exposed, and we scale up/down depending on demand. Couldn’t be happier.”
—Anupam Garg, Datrium, Inc.