Wishful Coding

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My bookshelf 1/5: CouchDB

I recently ordered four programming books from Amazon, and one from Manning. I'm planning to share some comments, insights, thoughts and something akin to a review, as I 'resurface' on the web in between my reading spurts.

My bookshelf 1/5: CouchDB
I started with CouchDB: A definitive Guide, because I expected it to be the least mind-taxing of the five, and because I am considering CouchDB for two projects of mine.

The book contains a lot of good information, but is also very messy in places. It is baginer-paced, but omits a lot of details.

I found the first chapters, the chapter about CouchApp and the appendices to be the most informative.

The first chapters take you on a high-level tour of CouchDB, with a great deal of fine information. I was pleasantly reminded of the nature of MVCC and B-trees.

Multi Version Concurrency Control means there is absolutely no locking involved, so reads are really fast. Even more so, because views are generated on writing.

Because both databases and views are stored as B-trees, a surprising number of actions are completed in logarithmic time. Surprising ones include updating a (re)reduced view, and taking a range from a large number of items.

Another thing to remember is that everything is sorted by keys, and that keys can be complex types, such as lists.

After about half of the book, I started to skip sections, and I completely skipped the chapters about scaling, which seem nearly inappropriate for a beginner-level book.

One chapter I did read thoroughly is the chapter about CouchApp. CouchApp makes it really easy to maintain and deploy complex web applications that run sans lingua(I made that up; it means "nothing but CouchDB").

That chapter was really helpful, but comes with a flip-side. The information about CouchApp on the web is really sparse:
This blog post is in response to a lot of well-deserved confusion in the community around CouchApps.
The appendices mainly go into detail about things like installation and the details about the use of B-trees.

So, that's it for now. I'd call this book a "good mess". Keep an eye on this blog or my Twitter feed for the next books, and my first CouchDB apps.
Pepijn de Vos