PGBR 2011 recap

PGBR 2011 group photoThis is a summary of what I saw and heard at PGBR 2011.

The night before the conference I had the opportunity to greet Alvaro Herrera, Bruce Momjian, Dave Page and Greg Smith.

The conference opened on Thursday 3rd November with introductory remarks by Fábio Telles, Flavio Gurgel, Bruce and Euler Taveira. I then attended Dave’s talk which covered the new foreign data wrapper functionality in PG 9.1.  The presentation was given with “simultaneous” translation into Portuguese, which meant I listened to almost every point twice. Next I went to Rogerio Bassete‘s talk which dealt with the PostgreSQL windowing functions. Rogerio gave a multitude of examples, but unfortunately the time was relatively short.

At lunch, I talked with Rogerio, Fabrízio de Royes Mello and Dickson Guedes. It was personally satisfying to find out that Fabrizio had downloaded and tried Pyrseas, and was possibly going to “adopt” some of it. Dickson also mentioned that some years ago he had tried to implement something similar, so he was glad when he found out about Pyrseas.

The first slot after lunch was taken by the round table on the Brazilan market for PostgreSQL-based services. The participants included Euler (representing Timbira), Rodolfo Gobbi (for 4Linux–I hope I have the name right), Charly Batista (for XPort), Nabucodonosor Coutinho (for Mondrian Tecnologia) and Luis Dosso (for Dextra), with Fernando Ike acting as moderator. The overall take was that the Brazilian PostgreSQL market is mature yet still challenging, supporting variously sized provider companies serving a variety of public and private organizations. After a snack break, where I chatted with Coutinho, I attended Greg’s benchmarking talk (without translation).

The first day was topped off by the group photo followed by “happy hour” which consisted mostly of Brazilian “chopes” (allegedly 200 litres of it).

On Friday I had breakfast with Jaime Casanova and mentioned I had earlier been responsible for another product named “repmgr” (for another DBMS). I later attended Greg’s performance pitfalls talk, translated by Flavio, and Dickson’s presentation covering the PG 9.1 EXTENSION capabilities and PGXN. At lunch I spoke with Charly.

Probably the most interesting session was Diogo Biazus‘ PL/pgSQL programming dojo. Diogo sported a mohawk although the Brazilians called him a “mohicano,” but it wasn’t his hairstyle that was interesting: it was the concept of “dojo” as in “learn by doing.” Rather than giving a tutorial on PL/pgSQL, Diogo presented a programming challenge (the hard of hearing granny) and then assisted the attendees in developing a solution in PL/pgSQL using TDD and pair programming. Participants took five minute turns being the “pilot” and “co-pilot” of the pair. A most interesting experience!

For the last formal talk, I heard Flavio’s talk about myths and realities of Postgres DBA projects. To close, the Brazilian PG group presented their first ever awards to community members, followed by quite informal lightning talks, closing remarks and another group picture.

Overall, a very useful and enjoyable event. Thanks to all the organizers, speakers and others with whom I spoke! Thanks also to those who invited me back (no promises, but we’ll see).

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