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Speaker Interview: Charles Clavadetscher

Time Related Range Types Revisited   Wednesday 17:20   Berlin

LinkedIn: charles-clavadetscher University website: Website: Association website: ORCID: 0000-0001-9667-1586

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I work as senior database engineer at the center for economic research of the Swiss federal institute of technology in Zurich (ETHZ/KOF). In that position I am responsible for the good functioning of the existing databases Oracle, MySQL, MSSQL Server and PostgreSQL. We are now approaching the end of a migration process from Oracle to PostgreSQL in the most critical system, dedicated to the collection of data for the computation of economic indicators used by the government, political parties, companies and the public in general in their strategic planning.

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?

My contributions focus on creating awareness of PostgreSQL as a serious alternative to other databases. The quality of the codebase is hardly an argument in the eyes of many decision makers, at least in Switzerland. Together with a group of enthusiasts I founded the Swiss PostgreSQL Users Group (SwissPUG) in 2015. Besides regular technical presentations throughout the year, the association also organizes the yearly Swiss PGDay, usually held in Rapperswil near Zurich in June, with high quality contributions of local and international speakers. Finally, speaking at conferences is also a way of contributing to the community.

Have you enjoyed previous or FOSDEM conferences, either as attendee or as speaker?

I had the pleasure to attend on previous occasions as attendee, including Madrid and Vienna. This is the first time that I shall attend as speaker and I am very thankful for this opportunity.

What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

My talks usually focus on some specific aspects of PostgreSQL and their practical usage to solve daily problems. In this talk the focus is on range data types and, in particular, temporal ranges. These make the implementation of schedule based use cases very easy and straightforward. The use cases are actually the main part of the presentation.

What is the audience for your talk?

The content dives a little in the practical usage of the data type, making it most suitable for developers and DBAs. However the illustration of the use cases can be of interest for business oriented people such as managers, business analysts or product owners.

Why should people hear your talk?

I think that it is important to have a broad knowledge base about a technology when it comes to evaluating alternative solutions for a specific problem. In most cases, and this is true for my topic as well, you may solve the problem using a complete different approach. The point is that decisions should be taken consciously and not due to lack of knowledge. Focussing on the practical usage of time ranges in real life examples, the talk makes an abstract topic more tangible and may lead to new insights.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

Basic knowledge of SQL and plpgsql or any other programming language is an advantage, but not a precondition for taking advantage of the presentation.

What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 11 which you like most?

In my daily work I use database functions a lot. Although I did not look deeply into it yet, the new possibility to create stored procedures is a great plus in many aspects and will most probably simplify some of the codebase that we developed.

Which other talk at this year’s conference would you like to see?

I will attend two training sessions on Tuesday. The talks sound all very interesting, so it will be most a daily decision which I shall attend eventually. In general I appreciate talks about topics that illustrate practical features of PostgreSQL, like my own talk. Information on new features and unorthodox usage of already existing features are also among my favourites.