As of pretty recently, pgfincore is now in debian, as you can see on its postgresql-9.0-pgfincore page. The reason why it entered the debian archives is that it reached the 1.0 release!

Rather than talking about what pgfincore is all about ( A set of functions to manage pages in memory from PostgreSQL), I will talk about its packaging and support as a debian package. Here’s the first example of a modern multi-version packaging I have to offer.
pgfincore packaging supports building for 8.4 and 9.0 and 9.1 out of the box, even if the only binary you’ll find in debian sid is the 9.0 one, as you can check on the pgfincore debian source package page.

Also, this is the first package I’ve done properly using the newer version of debhelper, which make the debian/rules file easier than ever. Let’s have a look at it:

TARGET = $(CURDIR)/debian/pgfincore-%v
PKGVERS = $(shell dpkg-parsechangelog | awk -F '[:-]' '/^Version:/ { print substr($$2, 2) }')
EXCLUDE = --exclude-vcs --exclude=debian

include /usr/share/postgresql-common/

override_dh_auto_clean: debian/control
	pg_buildext clean $(SRCDIR) $(TARGET) "$(CFLAGS)"

	# build all supported version
	pg_buildext build $(SRCDIR) $(TARGET) "$(CFLAGS)"

	# then install each of them
	for v in `pg_buildext supported-versions $(SRCDIR)`; do \
		dh_install -ppostgresql-$$v-pgfincore ;\

orig: clean
	cd .. && tar czf pgfincore_$(PKGVERS).orig.tar.gz $(EXCLUDE) pgfincore

	dh $@

The debian/rules file is known to be the corner stone of your debian packaging, and usually is the most complex part of it. It’s a Makefile at its heart, and we can see that thanks to the debhelper magic it’s not that complex to maintain anymore.

Then, this file is using support from a bunch of helpers command, each of them comes with its own man page and does a little part of the work. The overall idea around debhelper is that what it does covers 90% of the cases around, and it’s not aiming for more. You have to override the parts where it defaults to being wrong.

Here for example the build system has to produce files for all three supported versions of PostgreSQL, which means invoking the same build system three time with some changes in the environment (mainly setting the PG_CONFIG variable correctly). But even for that we have a debian facility, that comes in the package postgresql-server-dev-all, called pg_buildext. As long as your extension build system is VPATH friendly, it’s all automated.

Please read that last sentence another time.
VPATH is the thing that allows Make to find your source tree somewhere in the system, not in the current working directory. That allows you to cleanly build the same sources in different build locations, which is exactly what we need here, and is cleanly supported by PGXS, the PostgreSQL Extension Building Infrastructure.

Which means that the main Makefile of pgfincore had to be simplified, and the code layout too. Some advances Make features such as $(wildcard ...) and all will not work here. See what we got at the end:

ifndef VPATH

EXTENSION    = pgfincore
EXTVERSION   = $(shell grep default_version $(SRCDIR)/$(EXTENSION).control | \
               sed -e "s/default_version[[:space:]]*=[[:space:]]*'\([^']*\)'/\1/")

DATA         = sql/pgfincore.sql sql/uninstall_pgfincore.sql
DOCS         = doc/README.$(EXTENSION).rst

PG_CONFIG    = pg_config

PG91         = $(shell $(PG_CONFIG) --version | grep -qE "8\.|9\.0" && echo no || echo yes)

ifeq ($(PG91),yes)
all: pgfincore--$(EXTVERSION).sql

pgfincore--$(EXTVERSION).sql: sql/pgfincore.sql
	cp $< $@

DATA        = pgfincore--unpackaged--$(EXTVERSION).sql pgfincore--$(EXTVERSION).sql

PGXS := $(shell $(PG_CONFIG) --pgxs)
include $(PGXS)

	dh clean
	make -f debian/rules orig
	debuild -us -uc -sa

No more Make magic to find source files. Franckly though, when your sources are 1 c file and 2 sql files, you don’t need that much magic anyway. You just want to believe that a single generic Makefile will happily build any project you throw at it, only requiring minor adjustment. Well, the reality is that you might need some more little adjustments if you want to benefit from VPATH building, and having the binaries for 8.4 and 9.0 and 9.1 built seemlessly in a simple loop. Like we have here for pgfincore.

Now the Makefile still contains a little bit of magic, in order to parse the extension version number from its control file and produce a script named accordingly. Then you’ll notice a difference between the postgresql-9.1-pgfincore.install file and the postgresql-9.0-pgfincore.install. We’re just not shipping the same files:

debian/pgfincore-9.0/ usr/lib/postgresql/9.0/lib
sql/pgfincore.sql usr/share/postgresql/9.0/contrib
sql/uninstall_pgfincore.sql usr/share/postgresql/9.0/contrib

As you can see here:

debian/pgfincore-9.1/ usr/lib/postgresql/9.1/lib
debian/pgfincore-9.1/pgfincore*.sql usr/share/postgresql/9.1/extension
sql/pgfincore--unpackaged--1.0.sql usr/share/postgresql/9.1/extension

So, now that we uncovered all the relevant magic, packaging and building your next extension so that it supports as many PostgreSQL major releases as you need to will be that easy.

For reference, you might need to also tweak /usr/share/postgresql-common/supported-versions so that it allows you to build for all those versions you claim to support in the debian/pgversions file.

$ sudo dpkg-divert \
--divert /usr/share/postgresql-common/supported-versions.distrib \
--rename /usr/share/postgresql-common/supported-versions

$ cat /usr/share/postgresql-common/supported-versions
#! /bin/bash

dpkg -l postgresql-server-dev-* \
| awk -F '[ -]' '/^ii/ && ! /server-dev-all/ {print $6}'

All of this will come pretty handy when we finally sit down and work on a way to provide binary packages for PostgreSQL and its extensions, and all supported versions of those at that. This very project is not dead, it’s just sleeping some more.