Trees in the database: It sure ain't no CouchDB!

The 2nd week of June I attended the Dutch PHP Conference in Amsterdam. Even if I've been an active member of the PHP community for over 10 years, this was my first PHP conference. I must say it was really well organised, and choosing which session to attend was sometimes tough.

I gave a talk about Tree data structures in the database, showing many different approaches on how to store a tree (be it a generic structure, a hierarchy, a taxonomy, ...) in a DBMS in an efficient way. The slides are available in my Talks page and on slideshare.

Despite being quite nervous [1] and having to give a very technical talk at the very end of the conference, I believe it was well received. I'm sure the attendees learned something new.

[1] The number 1 fear is speaking in front of others. Number 2 is death. Number 2. That means if you're at a funeral, you'd rather be in the coffin instead of giving the eulogy. - Jerry Seinfield

Twitter feedback

Cal's suggestion to tag all the tweets during the conference (#dpc) turned out to be a great idea. Some of those referring to my talk were rather amusing:

  • Trees in the database.... It sure ain't no CouchDB! @g_e_r_b
  • Save the trees! @gumuz
  • Lorenzo does have a different definition of simple to me @ianbarber
  • Tnx Lorenzo, now I need to get the image of a dog-cow hybrid out of my head... @rickmb

Some others were more traditional but great feedback nonetheless. Thanks guys!

BTW: if you attended the talk, please leave your comments on, they're really valuable to me. In return, in my next talk I might put even more pictures of hybrid animals in my slides ;-)

Other talks

I had already seen some of the talks (such as Jan Lenhardt's intro to CouchDB or Stefan Esser's security tutorial) at various meet-ups in London or over the internet, but they contained new material and were worth listening to. I loved Andrei Zmievski's keynote and talk on distributed systems, and enjoyed Scott MacVicar's about alternative databases (although I would NOT say that the relational db systems are dead, just yet).
One of the best talks of the conference tough was Ian Barber's dissertation on Document Classification: I might be biased because I'm quite interested in the topic, but his delivery was simply superb. Yes, that good. Well done professor!


As I already had experienced in other non-PHP-related conferences, the best part of the event is meeting people. I really enjoyed talking to Eli White and his trademark hat, Robin Fernandes and sMash (the php-java bridge seems to have improved leaps and bounds since last time I looked at it!), all my Ibuildings colleagues, finally meeting Christopher Jones (Oracle) in person, and many many others.

I hope to see you all again next year in Amsterdam, or somewhere in London if you live in the area!

1 response to "Trees in the database: It sure ain't no CouchDB!"

Wish I could come to this PHP Conference, it sounds great from your post.

Lorenzo Alberton

Lorenzo Alberton Lorenzo PHP5 ZCE - Zend Certified Engineer has been working with large enterprise UK companies for the past years and is now CTO at DataSift. He's an international conference speaker and a long-time contributor to many open source projects. Lorenzo Alberton's profile on LinkedIN View Lorenzo Alberton's Twitter stream

Lorenzo Alberton - Sun Certified MySQL 5 Developer


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