People often assume the reason I talk at conferences is because I like to teach them about Galera, MySQL and other cool, open source things. That's of course true to some extent. But for me personally, another reason is even more important: It happens almost always that the audience teaches me something. Thus the process of public speaking has increasingly become my way to learn new insights. Low level details that aren't easy to learn by just RTFM.
I promised to still post some general comments about the MySQL ecosystem, to conclude my outlook of State of the MySQL forks and Drizzle. I will do this now in the form of answering questions I got in the comments, twitter and some that I make up just myself.
I got several comments and questions on my previous blog "The State of the MySQL forks". One question was "Why didn't you mention Drizzle?" So I will say something about Drizzle here before concluding with other remarks.
So why didn't you mention Drizzle?
Mainly because the post was already long and also I had to wrap up and call into a meeting.
It's been some time since I last wrote an overview of the state of the MySQL forks, but the last few weeks have been eventful enough that it is a good time to again see how the competing variants are positioned against each other.
I have written on this topic 1-2 times a year. Here are links to the previous overviews:
Map of MySQL forks and branches (2010)
The state of MySQL forks: co-operating without co-operating (2010)
Observations on Drizzle and PostgreSQL
Percona.tv: State of the MySQL ecosystem (2011)
State of the MySQL forks: via a particular example of authentication plugins
As is the case with this post, many of those previous ones coincide with some events or discussion at the time they were written, and the posts contain links to other bloggers commenting on whatever was current then.
In my quest to understand spatial GIS functionality, I have come to the ultimate goal: evaluation the actual database products themselves.
PostgreSQL / PostGIS
PostGIS is a variant of PostgreSQL with spatial extensions. The main reason for maintaining the GIS feature set outside of PostgreSQL proper seems to be licensing: the spatial extensions are
LGPL GPL licensed.
PostGIS is widely recognized as the most mature and feature-rich GIS implementation for SQL databases (and perhaps any database), matched only by the costly Spatial extension for the Oracle Enterprise database. (See comparisons in the links below.)
While the underlying index should be opaque to the user of a DBMS with spatial features, the API used to define spatial types and operate on them is of course more visible. The relevant standard in this space is often referred to as "OpenGIS", however the Open Geospatial Consortium in fact defines a long list of standards. The standard relevant to SQL databases is known more precisely as "OpenGIS Implementation Specification for Geographic information - Simple feature access - Part 2: SQL option" aka "Simple feature access".
It is not meaningful to recite the standard at length in my blog, my focus is instead on actual implementations that I will blog about later. The following points are however worth noting:
I work for a company that is the leading supplier of automotive maps, and wants to be the leading supplier of online maps. So it was only a matter of time that I needed to learn more about how spatial extensions work in different open source databases. Let's start from the beginning, understanding various spatial data structures that are used in implementations...
Links are provided to Wikipedia articles - which are both comprehensive, yet easy to understand - for those who want to get a deeper understanding of each structure. All Wikipedia articles on spatial indexes are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_index#Spatial_index
My talk for MySQL Connect has been accepted. This is the MySQL specific 2 day conference just before the big Oracle OpenWorld and JavaOne. It is kind of a new conference by Oracle. They've had something called MySQL Sunday at this spot before, but this year it is a bit bigger and with a bigger spin on it. I'm glad it is on a weekend because otherwise I wouldn't be able to attend.
I will give the popular Evaluating MySQL High Availability Alternatives talk that I have been refining in two Percona Live conferences already. With MySQL 5.6 in the oven now, there's something new again to talk about.