Speaker Interview

Markus Winand

Hi! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m the self-declared "SQL Renaissance Minister”. I’m working to convince developers that SQL is modern data processing language and not the dinosaur they might know from the previous century.

If I was working for a big company my job title would probably by “SQL Evangelist” or “Developer Advocate”. However, I’m self employed, make my living from SQL trainings and selling my book “SQL Performance Explained” (available in French, btw: “SQL : Au cœur des performances”).

Previously, I was known for my website “Use The Index, Luke!”, which is the free web-edition of my book. I’m still maintaining (and loving) this site, but I consider it mostly finished. Now I’m focusing on modern-sql.com.

How do you engage with the PostgreSQL community?

I speak at events—seven or so in 2018. I also provide bug reports and sometimes even patches—but I don’t have a lot time for that, unfortunately. And most importantly, I talk and listen to people.

Have you enjoyed previous pgDay Paris or other PostgreSQL Europe conferences, either as attendee or as speaker?

I’ve spoken at a PostgreSQL session in 2013 but that was my last visit to Paris.

I enjoy the PostgreSQL Europe conference a lot but could not join the last few years. This year it is in Milan, Italy—pretty close to Vienna, where I’m living. I hope to make it there (and you should too!).

What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

A talk about a new feature introduced with PostgreSQL 11: The INCLUDE clause for CREATE INDEX (B-tree).

From the documentation and conversations with PostgreSQL users, I got the feeling that the power of this clause is not yet fully understood in the PostgreSQL community. As I’m also working with other databases that support this clause for a while, I’ve quite some experience what this clause can be used for and I’d like to transport this experience over to the PostgreSQL community.

Also, this topic is a perfect fit for my website “Use The Index, Luke!”.

What is the audience for your talk?

This talk is mostly for developers because indexing is a development task. I know that this opinion is unpopular among developers, but it is true nevertheless.

However, admins are also welcome — they can than tall their developers.

What existing knowledge should the attendee have in order to follow your talk?

Basic SQL knowledges is good enough. I will also “bootstrap” the required indexing know-how in the talk itself, so pretty much everybody how attends the conference is qualified.

Which missing feature would you most like to see in PostgreSQL?

I made a talk about this question!

It was as PgCon.org in Ottawa last year. The title was “Standard SQL Gap Analysis”.

The talk is actually a listing of standard SQL features that are supported by other databases but not in PostgreSQL. In that talk I mention that I consider MATCH_RECOGNIZE clause (aka. Row Pattern Matching) the most important one. Another hot topic are temporal tables (aka time traveling; e.g. “AS OF” queries). Previously, only the commercial databases were offering these features, but with the latest release MariaDB became the first major FOSS SQL database to offer it. If MySQL adds that too, PostgreSQL would be one of the few not to support it.

The recording of this talk is available here.

Thank you!