User Group Idea: Patch Review Party

On Tuesday, I invited a group of people from PDXPUG over to my house for chili, beer and patch review. PostgreSQL has what we’re calling a ‘commitfest‘ every two months where we buckle down and try to review and commit (or reject) the patches submitted over the last few weeks. Webb and Gabrielle had the original idea to get everyone together for a review party, and they did a fantastic job recruiting people to join in.

Gabrielle gave the details and lessons learned on our PUG site already, so I won’t repeat that.

One thing that occurred to me as we were doing this work was how affirming and *fun* it is to work on patch review with people in person. Several people commented on how they enjoyed doing this work in the company of others, and how the tedious issues around compiling, applying patches and going through all the questions were made so much more enjoyable with a group of good-natured hackers sitting around answering questions.

The atmosphere wasn’t pressured – I gave a little background about commitfest, how it’s been run in the past and what the development group is trying to change about it (mainly, bring in more people, and make patch review faster for people who submit patches, and smoother for the committers). Then we just got down to work in pairs or groups of three.

Working in pairs is a really good idea for this type of event. I certainly learned a few things from John, and over email and in-person again, we were able to wrap our review up a couple days later after the regular user group meeting. Having another person to bounce questions off of was invaluable for the patch that we reviewed, and it was just fun brainstorming variable names, piecing together a test case and then finding a solution to a problem we found.

Another thing that happened was that I had lots of time to chat with people I hadn’t talked with before about projects they’re working on (a really exciting materialized view implementation, and a massive cleanup of our *.bki infrastructure — two very ambitious projects!). Both people are now signed up to give talks at our local user group about their work.

I’ve talked a little bit about the social benefits of commitfest on various mailing lists, and I think the opportunity for user groups to get together and review patches as a team is a great one. I’ll be gathering up some of my other observations about PostgreSQL community and posting those over the next few weeks.

I’ve got a talk about user groups to prepare for (JPUG’s 10th anniversary in November!), so now is the perfect time for me to be gathering my experiences and thoughts from the last three years.

Twitter and PostgreSQL!

Twitter: What are you doing?
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

On pgsql-general, Doug Hunley mentioned he’d created a twitter account for pgsql-announce! Way cool.

I’d written during last PgCon about Postgres and Twitter, and I figured it was time for a new list of Postgres-related people who I follow! Especially since a few people commented that Twitter was a waste of time last year ;)

If you’re on twitter (or identi.ca), and I missed you — please comment below!

Here we go (in no particular order):

  • Selena Deckelmann (me!)
  • Gabrielle Roth, member of PDXPUG, main force behind Code-N-Splode
  • Mark Wong, performance expert, leading the Portland PostgreSQL Performance Pad and associated projects to bring regular performance testing back to PostgreSQL
  • Francisco Figueiredo Jr., developer maintainer of Npgsql, speaker, member of PostgreSQL.Br
  • Magnus Hagander President of Pg.EU – the European Union non-profit organization dedicated to PostgreSQL and supporting user groups in the region
  • Josh Berkus, pgsql-advocacy leader, Member of the PostgreSQL core team
  • Jean-Paul Argudo, leader/member of PostgreSQL.Fr and Treasurer of Pg.EU
  • Hubert Lubaczewski , author of a great technical blog about PostgreSQL http://www.depesz.com/
  • Nikolay Samokhvalov, leader of the Moscow PostgreSQL Users Group, and consultant in Russia
  • Kristin Tufte, Postgres user, member of PDXPUG and assistant professor at Portland State University
  • Satoshi Nagayasu, member of the Japanese PostgreSQL Users Group, and spearheading meetups in Tokoyo
  • Brenda Wallace, moble gadget fetishist, Drupalista and Wellington, NZ PostgreSQL User Group wrangler
  • Isis Borges, Postgres enthusiast, works in the fashion industry in Puerto Alegre, Brazil
  • Dan Langille, DBA and organizer behind PgCon
  • Michael Brewer, DBA and board member of the United States PostgreSQL Association
  • Joshua Drake, business owner, board member of the United States PostgreSQL Association
  • Fábio Telles Rodriguez, active member of the PostgreSQL.Br (Brazil) and PgDay Brazil organizer. If you speak Portuguese, you can check out Planet Postgres Br here – http://planeta.postgresql.org.br/
  • Fernando Ike, member of PostgreSQL.Br
  • Ed Borasky, PhD, analytics nerd, PDXPUG member
  • Robert Treat, author of PHP and PostgreSQL book, speaker, on the board of the United States PostgreSQL Association
  • David Wheeler, contributed citext most recently to PostgreSQL, consultant, maintainer of Bricolage, formerly of I Want Sandy
  • Greg Sabino Mullane, author of Bucardo and check_postgres.pl, maintainer of DBD::Pg, recently contributed patches to psql, on the board of the United States PostgreSQL Association, my boss :)
  • Christophe, volunteer at OSCON for PostgreSQL booth, DBA
  • Aaron Thul, DBA, developer, speaker on PostgreSQL on Drugs :)
  • David Fetter, DBA, maintainer of the PostgreSQL Weekly News
  • Elein Mustain, DBA, speaker, maintainer of http://varlena.com
  • Chris May, DBA, member of PDXPUG
  • Jason Kirtland, developer, maintainer of SQLAlchemy, Pythonista
  • Josh Tolley, developer, DBA, statistics nerd, author of PL/LOLCODE and pgsnmpd
  • Erik Jones, Portland resident, Pythonista, made a cool python-based partitioning tool (pgpartitioner)
  • Nicholas Kreidberg, Nevada resident, PostgreSQL user
  • Gavin Roy, DBA, Business dude, Myyearbook.com, speaker, on the board of of United States PostgreSQL Association
  • Chris Browne, Slony maintainer
  • Douglas Hunley, creator of pgsql_announce on twitter :)
  • Larry Rosenman, PostgreSQL supporter, help with DNS for PostgreSQL.org, contributor (some of the syslog* stuff in version 7.0)

Organizations:

A year of PDXPUG

Last year was the third year that PDXPUG has been operating in Portland, and I decided to look back at our year of meetings. Here goes:

January 11 – 10 things you can use in PostgreSQL 8.3
February 26 – Extreme Database Makeover: RT
March 20 – Managing Internet Services: Using the right tool for the job
April 17 – Rails on PostgreSQL
May 15 – PostgreSQL for Pythoneers
June 19 – The relational model
July 20 – PDXPUG DAY!, and the schedule
August 21 – Tsearch2 and Materialized Views (Guest speaker from Seattle!!)
September 18 – The Visual Planner
October 16 – Point In Time Recovery
November 20 – Reviewed 8.4 features with the help of depesz’s blog
December – Coder’s Social

Thanks everyone who gave talks and attended meetings! User groups are only as good as the people who participate in them, and this list shows just how talented, diverse and fun the Postgres community is in Portland. I love you guys!

Looking forward – once again, we’ve already scheduled talks through the next four months! I feel like the group is running on its own momentum, and that is a fabulous feeling. We have a data visualization talk, another Extreme Database Makeover, and hopefully a presentation about teaching database theory with PostgreSQL.

Our next meeting is on January 15, 7pm with Stephen Jazdzewski traveling all the way from Eugene to present SplendidCRM, a formerly Microsoft SQL-only system that is now compatible with PostgreSQL. I am happy to see more of our Microsoft colleagues joining and presenting to the user group communities, as I’ve always felt they are underrepresented in our groups. Also, I’m happy to host another out-of-town presenter here in Portland! Hope to see you on the 15th.

PDXPUG Day on July 20 – Register now!

pgday 2007

photo courtesy of Dan Browning

Registration for PDXPUG Day on July 20, 2008 is open! Please sign up and let us know what size t-shirt you’d like. We’re requesting a $20 donation (by cash or check) at the door. All proceeds to to Software in the Public Interest, a 501(c)3 organization that is used to fund PostgreSQL advocacy.

Registration for OSCON is not required to attend.

Registering also gets you in the door at the Gotham Tavern, our after-party location close to the convention center!

Our line-up of talks includes:

PostgreSQL Unit Testing with pgTAP – David Wheeler
Inside the PostgreSQL Shared Buffer Cache – Greg Smith
Muldis D – Portable Databases At Full Power – Darren Duncan
A Streaming Database Talk – Rafael J. Fernández-Moctezuma
Using GLORP to connect Squeak Smalltalk to PostgreSQL – RandalSchwartz
Fighting Disease with PostgreSQL Full Text Search and JRuby on Rails – Mike Herrick
All Your GIS Are Belong to You – Abe Gillespie
What’s PgUS – Joshua Drake

Sign up today!

Call for proposals for PDXPUG PgDay, due June 20, 2008

pgday 2007
(Photo from PgDay 2007)

Please submit a talk! The call will be open for 2 weeks and proposals are due June 20th. Follow the link for details on submitting.

http://pugs.postgresql.org/node/400

PDXPUG PgDay will be on July 20, 2008. This is a one-day conference happening the day before OSCON at the Oregon Convention Center.

We are inviting anyone who has something interesting to share about PostgreSQL to send us a proposal!

We’d like to have at least one 1.5 hour tutorial and up to five 45-minute talks.

We welcome talks in any of the following areas:

* Case studies involving interesting and innovative uses of PostgreSQL from an application developer, PostgreSQL developer or administrative user perspective
* Converting from other databases to PostgreSQL
* Howtos for database administration tasks (partitioning, backups, replication, writing stored procedures)
* Practical advice on configuration, monitoring and database management

extreme database makeover: RT meeting recap

[Update: David Wheeler provided the SQL that came out of this meeting.]

Extreme Database Makeover: The crowd

Last night, PDXPUG and Code-n-Splode got together to refactor the database for RT. David Wheeler, Jeff Davis and Mark Wong led the discussion.

Through the course of the meeting, the group chose to pick out a few key features that would be better served if the database schema was more normalized, and offered a few new constraints we thought would help manage the data. Toward the end of the meeting, Igal suggested having a Perl workshop to refactor the code related to one or more of the database changes. The idea here was to be helpful, rather than just poking holes in the schema.

David started the discussion off with an introduction to RT. RT was created about 10 years ago by Jesse Vincent of Best Practical, and the database schema has been augmented over the years to accommodate new functionality. They support both MySQL and PostgreSQL as backends, and tend to dislike using database-specific technology.

Continue reading

winter break is over!

Sadly, my winter vacation is over. I needed a couple weeks to recharge after a crazy year of wrapping up old stuff (finally done with the ERP project) and starting lots new things (Legion of Tech, PostgreSQL Conferences, my first cyclocross race!).

If you’re interested in more about me, you can check out my profile at Portland On Fire, a new project from Raven Zachary about Portland residents. Raven is planning to profile a new person every day this year. I’m January 6.

Also, don’t forget about PostgreSQL Conference East. Registration will open this week! The call for papers will be open until February 3, 2008. I’ve got my work cut out for me arranging all the details from here, but I’m looking forward to working with some great community members out in College Park, MD.

I’m giving a talk on January 17th, titled “10 new things you can use in PostgreSQL version 8.3″. Last week, I felt like PDXPUG was running itself — we’ve got the next six months of talks lined up already. I’ll be publishing our calendar over on the PDXPUG blog tomorrow.

december coder’s bash – thanks, sam

I made it out for the last hour or so of the December Coder’s Bash last night. The first thing I noticed was how many people were there! At least 50 were still hanging out at 9:15pm on a Tuesday night.

They were chatting and playing games — Settlers of Catan, some kind of card game, something involving bean bags. And, of course, there was programming shop-talk. I got to talk about embedded systems with Matt, tried to beg some help with a Drupal installation from part of the PostgreSQL crew, and started to decompress a little from the ERP migration I just completed on Monday.

And there were a ton of women! My unofficial assessment was that about 15% of the group were women.

Portland is so awesome.

I want to thank Sam Keen for putting this together. I know that a lot of other people were involved, but he was the guy sending out the email, contacting us user group leaders and getting sponsorships. Sam, you really did a great job.

women’s sized t-shirts for postgresql

I have been looking into getting some woman-sized PostgreSQL shirts, in addition to the more typical men-sized tshirts. The particular style is American Apparel shirts, style # 2102. The shirt says ‘PostgreSQL’ in small print on the front, and has the big elephant logo on the back. We’ll most likely ask for a $20 donation to the PostgreSQL non-profit for each shirt.

So, I’m conducting a small poll:

If you are interested in a woman-sized shirt, please email or comment on this thread with a quantity, and size (XS, S, M, L, XL). If you would not wear a PostgreSQL woman-sized shirt yourself, please consider whether you would maybe get one as a gift for someone else this holiday season :)

I would be overjoyed to have my mailbox clogged with requests, so please don’t be shy!

I’m just trying to get a feel for the numbers, so your comment won’t be considered an order. Also, please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.