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 has been working with large enterprise UK companies for the past 10+ years and is currently CTO at DataSift. He's an international conference speaker and a long-time contributor to many open source projects. Lorenzo Alberton's profile on GitHub Lorenzo Alberton's profile on LinkedIN View Lorenzo Alberton's profile on PHP PEAR
View Lorenzo Alberton's Twitter stream Lorenzo Alberton - Sun Certified MySQL 5 Developer PHP5 ZCE - Zend Certified Engineer


AJAX, Apache, Book Review, Charset, Cheat Sheet, Data structures, Database, Firebird SQL, Hadoop, Imagick, INFORMATION_SCHEMA, JavaScript, Kafka, Linux, Message Queues, mod_rewrite, Monitoring, MySQL, NoSQL, Oracle, PDO, PEAR, Performance, PHP, PostgreSQL, Profiling, Scalability, Security, SPL, SQL Server, SQLite, Testing, Tutorial, TYPO3, Windows, Zend Framework
Buy me a book - Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit