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Speaker Interview with Tim Colles

Could you briefly introduce yourself?
I have worked for 25+ years attempting to meet the dynamic and demanding information management needs of our administrative staff and academic staff. I started off by building small independent dBaseIV databases and applications. Then there were attempts to use shared spreadsheets. But finally I led the development of our central database service which has been running now for over 20 years. Initially we used Ingres and for about the last 10 years we have been using PostgreSQL.
How do you engage with the PostgreSQL Community?
I follow most of the mailing lists. I have a PostgreSQL related blog where I occasionally post articles which then appear on Planet PostgreSQL. I am still trying to find a bug which I can, with great excitement, report - many times I get close but further careful checking has so far always proven me to be at fault, rather than PostgreSQL.
Have you enjoyed previous or FOSDEM conferences, either as an attendee or as speaker?
Not done before. Have attended and spoken at FLOSS (UK) in the past.
What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?
This topic because it is what we are working on right now. Fundamentally I aim to show how almost all of an application can be implemented within PostgreSQL itself. PostgreSQL doesn’t have to be seen as just the backend data store. To do so I will run through the architecture of the service we developed. On the way touching lightly on some of the support tools we have also developed locally to help us use and manage PostgreSQL within our organisation. The talk is likely to focus on the PostgreSQL extension module we use to do the HTML rendering.
What is the audience for your talk?
Anyone interested in end user information delivery and application development, specifically web, based around PostgreSQL.
What existing knowledge should the attendee have?
Unlikely to get deeply technical but SQL, Python, HTML, XML, “psql”, “postgres_fdw”.
What is the one feature in PostgreSQL 12 which you like most?
If I had to pick one it would be CTE in-lining as it will hopefully give us some performance and simplification improvements. But I can’t, so ... stored generated columns also look useful and the JSON path language will be worth playing with. We also need to look at table partitioning so the improvements there are welcome. Plus the improvements to postgres_fdw.
Which other talk at this year's conference would you like to see?
There are four parallel streams! Hmm. Certainly “Postgres Partitioning: How Far We've Come“ as its going to become relevant for us.
Which measure, action, feature or activity would—in your eyes—help to accelerate the adoption of PostgreSQL?
I think it will be hard to crack many larger organisations until there is more high quality commercial grade supporting infrastructure around PostgreSQL - things like user interfaces, forms, business intelligence reporting, and particularly interfaces with other enterprise systems. I don’t think there is really any issue with PostgreSQL itself anymore, in terms of a direct RDBMS comparison to the core RDBMS provided by companies like Oracle and Microsoft.