AllThingsOpen With Blaine Carter of Oracle
AllThingsOpen With Blaine Carter of Oracle
At AllThingsOpen in Raleigh, North Carolina, I had the chance to interview Blaine Carter, an open source developer advocate at Oracle, where we discussed his talk, Oracle, and the open source community.
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Your talk is on database version control with Liquibase. Why do you feel like this is an important topic to cover?
Too many developers today treat the database like a black box where they simply write and read individual rows of data, but do all the interesting work outside of the database, but the structures that hold your data should be designed and managed just as carefully as every other part of the application.
Lots of developers seem to think that database design, testing, and deployment are much more difficult than they actually are, so they avoid taking full advantage of their database.
On the other hand, sometimes they are right. For example; I have been involved in days-long discussions about how to properly track database structure changes in our version control system. It's not as easy as 'just check your .sql files into Git'. You have to be able to stand up a database at a specific version, rollback changes when there are problems, and track which scripts have actually been run. Sure, this can be done manually (and that's how lots of people do it, even those of us in love with our databases) or you could use a cool tool like Liquibase.
What’s one thing that you hope people take away from your talk and why?
My narrow objective is get people excited about what Liquibase can do, so they go back to work and give it a try. More broadly, I'd like database developers to get more involved in open source projects and stop hoarding all of the awesome 'back pocket' scripts and tools that we tend to keep on a thumb drive. The more open source projects we get involved with, the more we share.
Can you describe your job at Oracle, and Oracle’s role in the open source community?
I focus on a couple of areas.
I introduce database developers to open source solutions and encourage them to get involved in the open source community.
I help open source developers who are working with Oracle Database better understand and leverage the capabilities of the Oracle Database. It's jam packed full of great features for developers.
Oracle has been a contributor to open source projects for many years. You can check out http://www.oracle.com/us/technologies/open-source/overview/index.html and https://github.com/oracle for a sample of our open source initiatives. I'll also throw in a plug for https://github.com/oracle/dino-date. It's an open source application that my team has built to showcase the advantages of treating your database like an important partner in development, instead of a necessary evil.
What do you feel is the most exciting thing happening in open source technology right now?
Very simply, how it is moving so rapidly and widely into the mainstream of application development. Attitudes towards open source are shifting all over the place, from small dev teams to government institutions. And a big part of that is the growing trust in open source solutions.
More and more people are realizing that an open source application is at least as secure as a closed source one — and even more secure when you get enough eyes looking at it, critiquing it, and cleaning it up.
Usually I completely disagree with the saying "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear." but (baring trade secrets) I'd say it applies to software. I find it harder to trust things like encryption and e-voting if they are closed source.
What’s something you feel should be standard practice in the community but hasn’t caught on yet?
The number one challenge for all software today: Improving security. Especially in the IoT realm! There are way too many projects shipping in which developers and architects haven't given sufficient thought to security and privacy.
My second wish for better practices in open source: being nice to the newbies. We've gotten a lot better lately, but there's definitely room for improvement. If we treat newcomers with disdain and lmgtfy, they'll develop a bad feeling about open source and walk away. Open source needs more people involved, not fewer.
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