What I’m going to see at PostgreSQL Conference West

“I’d like to use my lifeline to figure out what to go to at PostgreSQL Conference West…”*

PostgreSQL Conference West is coming up this October 10-12, and the schedule was just published. Unfortunately, it’s a little tricky to navigate the list of talks on the site, so I decided to post my itinerary to help you if you’re looking for a guide!

So, I cheated a little and included some things that I won’t be able to see – but there’s really a lot of good stuff.

I’m so happy to see so many Portland locals presenting at this conference! All the Portlanders called out below are members of PDXPUG. Our next meeting is on October 16, 2008, 7pm at FreeGeek.

It shows how strong our community is that we were able to support two PostgreSQL-specific conferences (the earlier was PDXPUG day before OSCON) IN PORTLAND this year!!! Yay for us.

Here’s what I’ll be attending:

Code Sprint!, October 10 (1-5pm)

I’ve invited developers, students and core PostgreSQL community members to a half-day event. We’re planning to tackle some small problems and submit some patches to projects by the end of the day. Friday is usually a great night for a pub meeting, so we’ll all retire to a nearby restaurant (Maybe Paddy’s again?) afterward. And maybe continue the hacking!

Proprietary to PostgreSQL, from Josh Williams, October 11, 2008 (10:45am)

I’m not quite sure who Josh Williams is (maybe this guy?), but I’m looking forward to what he has to say. We need more talks about how people can make the shift from closed to open source. Hopefully Josh will talk about the business reasons as well.

PostgreSQL Optimizer Exposed, from Tom Raney, October 11 PORTLANDER!(11:30am)

Tom Raney is a developer and Portland State University alum who worked on a great tool called the Visual Planner for Google Summer of Code 2007. This tool exposes all the plans that the PostgreSQL optimizer might have picked, but didn’t, while trying to find the best plan for fetching your data. His tool is fun and extremely useful, for both professionals and students trying to learn a little more about how the planner portion of the database functions. This will be a fabulous talk.

Build Search.postgresql.org, from Magnus Hagander, October 11 (11:30am)

Ok, so I don’t have a magic time machine that will allow me to attend this talk as well, but I saw Magnus give this at PgCon in Ottawa this spring. It was a fabulous tutorial for setting up a PHP-based full-text search-enabled website. Magnus is an entertaining speaker, and had great slides.

Modeling the Hierarchical Nature of Data, from Richard Broersma Jr., October 11 (11:30am)

Once again, the nature of time will prevent me from attending this talk, but Richard is a great guy – currently the leader of Los Angeles PostgreSQL Users Group, and he’s running for the board of the United States PostgreSQL Association. He’s very sharp, has lots of experience, and I’m sure will give a great talk. If you want to learn more about modeling your databases, I’m sure this talk is for you.

Inside PostgreSQL Shared Memory, from Bruce Momjian, October 11 (4pm)

Bruce Momjian has been with PostgreSQL essentially since it’s inception. He’s a regular on the conference circuit, spreading the word about PostgreSQL. This talk is a great one if you’re looking to understand how PostgreSQL uses the various memory-related parameters, and how that might affect your performance.

Filesystems, RAID and More, from Mark Wong and Gabrielle Roth, October 11 (4pm) PORTLANDERS!

Looking to find ways of getting more performance from your Linux systems running PostgreSQL? Check out this great talk that dives into the fundamental assumptions systems operators use to size and tune RAID operations, and get an overview of the testing data Mark Wong has collected from our Portland PostgreSQL Performance Pad (AKA Performance Lab). Gabrielle and I gave a version of this talk at the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC). Mark and Gabrielle will be adding a few more details and providing results from additional tests run since LPC.

GUC 3 Hour Tour, from Josh Berkus, October 11 (3-6pm)

Josh Berkus is giving his 3-hour tour of user-configurable options in PostgreSQL again. More details can be found on the PgCon2008 site! Those new to PostgreSQL, or looking for a refresher on configuration would learn a lot from this session.

And now for Sunday!!

Lightning Talks, October 12 (9-9:45am)

These will be 5-minute presentations about just about anything. I’ll be giving a talk about why open source needs to be fun, and I’m sure there will be a ton of other technical, informative and entertaining talks from others.

Developing a PL for PostgreSQL, from Joshua Tolley, October 12 (10am)

This is a must see for language junkies, and lovers of LOLCODE. Joshua is responsible for PL/LOLCODE, and pgsnmpd. His plan is to dive into what it takes to link Your Favorite Language into the amazing PostgreSQL procedural language interface. He’s been toying with linking in Parrot, a language-independent virtual machine being developed by Allison Randal and others. The ramifications of this are.. well.. awesome. I’m looking forward to meeting him in person for the first time, and if I’m lucky he’ll show up for the code sprint.

‘top’ for PostgreSQL, from Mark Wong, October 12 (2pm) PORTLANDER!

pg_top is a very useful utility for checking out what PostgreSQL is doing. It uses a top-like interface to query system statistics, let you know what locks are out there, list processes and otherwise interactively stalk PostgreSQL. I’ve been helping make pg_top work on Mac OS X, and Mark’s being doing a ton of development to get pg_top to talk remotely to other systems.

Streaming Database Systems: exploit natural ordering to scale up, from Jeff Davis, October 12 (3pm) BASICALLY A PORTLANDER!

Jeff Davis is a former member of PDXPUG (well, he can always come back to us!) who recently relocated to the Bay Area to work for Truviso. This talk I’m sure will be a head-spinner! If you’re interested in what it is exactly that Truviso does, this will be a great talk to wrap your head around what exactly it is that streaming databases do.

PgTAP – Unit Testing for PostgreSQL, from David Wheeler (3pm) PORTLANDER!

David Wheeler is a PDXPUG regular and fantastically entertaining speaker. He’ll be sharing his latest project, PgTAP and extolling the virtues of unit testing — even for SQL. This will be a great talk for developers and DBAs interested in making their code better and more fault tolerant.

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