Speaker Interview: Jonathan S. Katz

Let's Build a Complex, Real-Time Data Management Application...before the session ends!   Thursday 09:30   New York

Twitter: @jkatz05 LinkedIn: jonathan-katz Company website: crunchydata.com Company Blog: info.crunchydata.com

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Jonathan S. Katz, I am a longtime PostgreSQL contributor and am currently the Director of Communications at Crunchy Data. Prior to joining Crunchy Data, I was in various engineering and engineering leadership positions, all of which involved developing applications with PostgreSQL in various ways.

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?

PostgreSQL has had a major impact on my life, both professionally and personally, and I always wanted to find ways to give back, particularly around encouraging people to learn how to use PostgreSQL.

As such, I have been active in many advocacy projects for the PostgreSQL community through the years, including helping to organize the NYC PostgreSQL User Group, organizing various PostgreSQL events, contributing to postgresql.org, writing and distributing the press release for each PostgreSQL release, and assisting on various committees, including being a Director of the United States PostgreSQL Association.

Some of my favorite work is helping out on the releases. It’s so much fun to see all the features and fixes the community has put together and be able to let everyone know about them - it’s a wonderful opportunity to highlight the hard work of the entire community!

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

My first experience in the PostgreSQL community was at PGConf.EU 2009 in Paris, where I spoke about how to optimize one’s usage of PostgreSQL via ORM technology. For me, being at the event was very eye-opening - I realized there was so much to learn about using PostgreSQL, and really how little I knew at that point, even though I had used PostgreSQL for several years!

I came away very motivated to continue to develop talks and content to help people better understand many of the fundamental features in PostgreSQL that are helpful in developing applications.

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

This talk comes from a real-world use case I had (I simplified the actual problem a bit) where I needed to manage a calendar that was generated according to a complex set of rules. The calendar needed to be kept up to date in close to real time, to help prevent people from double-booking spaces!

The way I describe this talk is that I am to introduce a lot of features in PostgreSQL that can be used to build more advanced applications. Even in the three hour version, we can only touch so many of these concepts in depth: rather the talk aims to serve as a guide in terms of where to get started and how to follow up on learning more about these features. It all culminates into the final piece, where we look at a technology introduced in PostgreSQL 9.4 that helps make the application more efficient, but we have to understand what the costs are associated with it!

I also share the slides, as there is a lot of material to absorb in 40-50 minutes.

What is the audience for your talk?

This talk is geared towards people writing applications using PostgreSQL as their database.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

The talk does contain some more advanced PostgreSQL concepts, but it is still geared towards people who are newer to PostgreSQL. A basic understanding of PostgreSQL or experience with another database platform is helpful to understanding the talk. We do have a lot of concepts to cover and we will move fast, but the idea is to help people building applications with PostgreSQL to have starting points into investigating features!

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

This is probably the toughest question to answer. Along with Andres Freund and Alvaro Herrera, I had the privilege of being on the Release Management Team for PostgreSQL 11 and had the opportunity to learn about a lot of the features going into PostgreSQL 11. It is a very tough task to choose just one, especially knowing the hard work that everyone put into the PostgreSQL release on features big and small.

To give some sort of answer, I will say I’m excited to see the continued work on the Just-in-Time (JIT) query compilation that was introduced in PostgreSQL 11. There are some queries that the JIT compilation already greatly speeds up, but like a lot of features when they are introduced, we are only scratching the surface of what it can do!

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

Another tough question! There are so many I’d like to see, it’s difficult to pick. I’ll decide while I’m at the conference. Looking forward to another great PGConf.EU!