Speaker Interview: Susanne Schmidt

Postgres as your new Dev Stack   Wednesday 14:00   Casablanca

Twitter: @sheeshee Company website: www.syseleven.de

Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m a political scientist by education and one of those first generation self-tought html programmers web developers. I’ve been engaged in open source since 1994/1995, have been programming almost exclusively in and with open source based companies. I’ve been writing since 1998 about all kinds of open source things for mainly german tech magazines like c’t and iX (about Postgres too :)). At the moment I’m working as the technical lead of software development at a Berlin-based company SysEleven. They are doing managed hosting, offering a cloud, “internet” and kubernetes. We’re writing all kinds of tooling, automation stuff, processing and billing and glueing all the systems together - it’s a super varied awesome truely full-stacky job. :)

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?

Mainly casually on IRC or Twitter for example, but also in meetups in Berlin and at conferences like PGConf.

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

Yes and no - as an attendee FOSDEM is impossible these days - crowded, noisy and you basically can’t even get in anymore anywhere. PGConfs are a bit difficult if you don’t know anybody already - it’s a pretty strong in-crowd from a newly attending person’s view - maybe it’s time for a designated first-timers program like many conferences have. As a speaker at a PGConf it’s fine - at FOSDEM I never even tried.

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

I’m trying to show Postgres more from a software developer’s perspective. Database communities naturally have a strong DBA-flavoured crowd, but this is slowly changing. Developers on the other hand have been gently pushed into remaining in their stack on top of the database - mainly via strongly integrated ORMs.

Postgres has so many awesome features that you can treat the database exactly like you treat the rest of your dev stack: Configure it to your liking. Automate things. Create APIs. Write convenience functions. Add new features. Make it part of your testing and your CD/CI.

I mean nothing comes more naturally to a developer to for example add some convenience functions to your DateTime library - e.g. giving out the age in human readable form and calculating the chinese and european zodiac or something like it - whatever your business case and personas need. You can do all those things in Postgres as easily as in your middleware AND prevent your data from drifting between the layers database - middleware - user interface.

What is the audience for your talk?

Mostly fellow developers who still like working closely to the database, but also more devopsy and DBA people who are maybe curious what developers are actually doing with the database they are keeping up and running. :)

Also, developers who are tired of ORMs and started questioning whether or not the whole concept is a good idea - in particular with Postgres.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have?

Know a little bit about the features of Postgres, having used SQL and maybe dared to add a gentle trigger here and there. :)

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

I have no idea - I haven’t even looked at the new features yet - I’m still keeping up with the candy store of new features from the 10.x generation. :)

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

Günce Kaya’s “FDW Magic” talk - I definitely want to play more with foreign data wrappers - Peter Eisentraut’s Stored Procedures in PG 11 talk sounds very interesting, and I share Will Leinweber’s sentiment of not treating the database as a dumb key-value store so I’m going to listen what he has to say about constraints. Anastasia Lubennikova’ s talk about backup and recovery should give some more insight about backup and recovery - I know too little about that for my taste. :)

What kind of talks would I like to hear more of in the future?

I enjoyed last year’s focus on “devops”, monitoring, cloud and kubernetes a lot - maybe a nice yearly motto would be awesome - something like 2019 - the year of awesome statistics talks. I’d like to see more “traditional” SQL talks, too - with all the machine learning and AI hype I’d say a bit of traditional SQL database show-off wouldn’t hurt! And more talks about how you could contribute and actually program in and on Postgres - that would be lovely!