Listen to Eliot Horowitz on the Future of the Database

Peter Zawistowicz


"The main motivation for people trying out MongoDB and adopting MongoDB really came around from developers wanting to be more productive."

Six years after MongoDB was open sourced, we’re still thinking about how to empower software engineers by making app development more efficient and productive. Our CTO and co-founder, Eliot Horowitz, recently sat down with Jeff Meyerson, host of Software Engineering Daily, to talk about how the evolution of MongoDB and its ecosystem has been propelled by the goal of developer productivity.

MongoDB is best known for its JSON-based documents and Eliot explains that this data model provides a "fundamentally easier data structure for developers to work with. It more naturally suits the way programming languages work and thee way people think. No one thinks about breaking things up into rows and columns but they do think of things as structures."

'_id' : 1,
    'name' : { 'first' : 'John', 'last' : 'Backus' },
    'contribs' : [ 'Fortran', 'ALGOL', 'Backus-Naur Form', 'FP' ],
    'awards' : [
            'award' : 'W.W. McDowell Award',
            'year' : 1967,
            'by' : 'IEEE Computer Society'
        }, {
            'award' : 'Draper Prize',
            'year' : 1993,
            'by' : 'National Academy of Engineering'
*An example JSON document*

By basing all interactions with data on the document model the creators of MongoDB made it easier for them to store and work with data, and therefore easier to get more value out of it.

Reducing friction for developers doesn't just reduce developer headaches, it also has a direct impact on the bottom line. Since the 1980s hardware and infrastructure costs have fallen, the value of the individual developer has soared. Ensuring individual engineers are productive is critical to today’s businesses.

This is the story that Eliot and MongoDB have been telling for years, but it's particularly interesting to hear Eliot discuss how MongoDB has evolved alongside two other major trends in software engineering: cloud computing and service-oriented architectures (and, by extension, microservices).

Not coincidentally, both of these paradigms are also rooted in unburdening the individual developer. Cloud computing reduces things like lengthy infrastructure provisioning times whereas microservices decouple application logic to allow for faster iteration and feature development. As Eliot points out, it also fundamentally changes the way apps are built as developers are able to use third party services in place of coding necessary functionality from scratch.

Listen in to Eliot's conversation with Jeff as, in addition to talking about the evolution of MongoDB, Eliot talks about the future of the database as well as how we use our own products internally in a hybrid cloud configuration.

If you’re interested in listening to Jeff’s other conversations around the software landscape, Software Engineering Daily comprises hours of fascinating technical content and many of our own engineers are already avid listeners! I hope you'll listen in as this episode kicks off MongoDB’s first podcast partnership. We’re looking forward to engaging with you through this medium. As always, please give us suggestions for new ways to contribute to the ever-growing MongoDB community!

Listen to Eliot on the Software Engineering Daily podcast

Can't listen? You can view the transcript here.