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CouchDB Conf Recap

February 01th, 2013

On January 25-27th 2013 we ran CouchDB Conf Berlin. A one-day conference and two-day CouchHack event dedicated to the Apache CouchDB community and technology.


CouchDB Conf was born out of the desire to run an Apache CouchDB Technology conference. Couchbase’s CouchConf used to be that, but has moved away, while sadly keeping the name.

The CouchDB community is a busy bunch and any excuse to get together is taken up with enthusiasm. CouchDB Conf was sold out with ~70 participants in a wintery Berlin.

Conferences in general are great for various reasons:

Eventify captured a few good impressions.


The slides for the talks are all linked up on the conference site.

One common thread through all presentations that CouchDB’s replication feature is most the popular thing CouchDB has to offer. HTTP and JSON are nice and simple, but replication is the one thing all would go out of their way to point out that it is the thing that makes CouchDB most attractive.

CouchDB’s vision early on was to be able to run on small clients, big servers, with lots of data and very little data, mobile phones and really any device that one can carry around, and crazily enough also in the browser. For the longest time though this was a bit of a pipe dream, as the Erlang CouchDB implementation wasn’t really suited to run on low-power devices and definitely not in a browser.

This now changed. BigCouch makes the start, as it handles CouchDB’s BigData and clustering aspirations. It has been around for a while, but is now finally being integrated into Apache CouchDB proper.

Hot on the heels is TouchDB, which comes in two flavours: iOS and Android, or Objective-C and Java respectively. Both are native reimplementations of CouchDB for mobile devices. TouchDB-iOS is production ready (a few apps are already live), the Android version is a little behind and both are open for contributions.

The newest player on the scene is PouchDB, a pure JavaScript implementation of CouchDB targeted at modern desktop and mobile browsers. Albeit being the newest member of the CouchDB family, it has the highest activity and was recently selected to act as a sample project in the Stanford Computer Science course. It is on the verge of being production ready.

All of this finally brings CouchDB’s vision together. Lots of data can live on BigCouch clusters, regular data can live on regular servers, user-data can live on mobile handsets, tablets and even in the browser and data can float freely between all of them. Application developers no longer have to worry about how to get a user’s data in front of them, handle concurrent updates, sync with offline devices and online servers. Even peer-to-peer sync is possible.

Towards the end of the day, when the whole vision inadvertently came together, the energy levels were very high. And nothing fuels developers better than seeing users getting excited.

Shit is getting real, as the kids say.


The following weekend was dedicated to hands on hacking, some more cool show & tell type talks and a Skype-powered video talk from Bangkok.

Among the highlights are:

Use the Time Slider feature to see the topics for all days.


As the organiser, I couldn’t be more happy about how CouchDB Conf has turned out. Of course, I couldn’t have it all done by myself, so I’d like to thank the following people and companies:

The Speakers

Katrin Apel, Dale Harvey, David Zuelke, Martin Hilbig, Nuno Job, Volker Mische, Oliver Kurowski, Jason Smith, Robert Newson, Joan Touzet, Stephan Strohmeier, Till Klampaeckel and Randall Leeds.

The Helpers

Gregor Martynus, Dave Cottlehuber and Jan Friedensreich.

The Companies

Co.Up for hosting us, for the flawless ticketing, GitHub & Cloudant for the drinks, Nodejitsu, FreshX, Mozilla, EasyBib and IrisCouch for sending people or donating company time.


There are preliminary plans to set up a CouchDB Conf in Seattle later this year. We’ll keep you posted.

Members of the CouchDB Community will be attending the following conferences:

You are welcome to join us and nerd out about CouchDB :)