Before I joined 10gen I’d not heard of the MongoDB Masters, the Masters are a group of MongoDB core contributors and community drivers that are dedicated to sharing their passion and technical expertise with the MongoDB community around the world. The MongoDB Masters play a vital role in the adoption, education and advancement of MongoDB. We have over 40 Masters located world wide who work on various drivers from C to Python to Scala, Java and many more.
I had an opportunity to meet them this year at the Master summit in NYC during my first week. All of the masters are non 10gen employees so face time with the engineers in the office is invaluable. On day two of the event there was a barcamp style of a brain storming session where we came up with topics and broke up into sessions to discuss them. For me this was an opportunity to meet community members who were leading their projects, discussing features and planning for the coming months ahead. It was great!
During the time I thought I’d come up with a way to get to know the Masters better, again as a person who is new to the community you do have to jump two feet in first asking questions as you go along and that’s what I’m doing. I’ve come up with a set of questions to ask the masters and get to know them.
First up is Nicola Iarocci
Me: Who are you, what do you do and where are you based?
Me: How did you get involved in open source?
Nicola: I’ve been an avid developer delivering desktop applications in the .NET/MSSQL closed source ecosystem for so many years that open source wasn’t even on my radar. Then a few years ago, like everybody else, we found that we needed to get involved with the mobile world. That’s when I thought that it was time to finally to get out of my comfort zone and start looking out of my walled garden. In fact, while historically there always have been little alternative to the Microsoft/.NET/SQL ecosystem for building business Windows applications, now we were about to address a completely different beast. First step in any mobile strategy is building a proper web infrastructure, like one or more web APIs, remote servers, etc. While .NET was well suited for the task, I knew that there were other valid, robust and mature alternatives out there and that I had to learn more about them before picking any choice. My involvement with open source, the whole Python language, MongoDB and the NoSQL movement is the direct consequence of that learning process.
Me: How did you get involved in MongoDB?
Nicola: When I started looking for a database for our web API I was immediately attracted by MongoDB native JSON (BSON) storage: it really looked like the perfect match for a JSON-based REST API. I thought maybe, just maybe, that this time we can stay clear from all kind of object serialization/ORM/schema conversion issues. Of course the lack of a fixed schema was also of great interest to me, as our API and mobile apps were planned to go live as very simple utilities and then quickly grow, feature after feature and field after field, over time. So I started digging deeper into MongoDB and as I was studying it I not only realized that, indeed, it was the tool that we would adopt, but I also enjoyed its design and, as a relatively new technology, huge growth potential.
Me: What do you do as a MongoDB Master?
Nicola: I think it all started with the release of the Italian translation of The Little MongoDB Book by Karl Seguin. It was nice to find that the book was allowing many developers to introduce themselves with the technology. Still to this day I receive many emails from fellow Italian developers who are looking for help and guidance on MongoDB.
Then I went at EuroPython 2012 where my talk Developing RESTful Web API with Python, Flask and MongoDB draw a lot of attention, more than anticipated, so much that I ended up releasing a set of related open source tools, one of them being Eve, a MongoDB-based RESTful Web API Framework for the Python language.
To this day I still work on Eve and related tools, talk about MongoDB at conferences and other events when I get a chance, and love to help fellows who want to wet their hands with MongoDB. I’m also planning to release a couple of new MongoDB-related open source tools in the future.
Me: How did you become a Master?
Nicola: My first involvement with the Masters program was a actually in the form of a tweet from Francesca Krihely, Community Manager for MongoDB at 10Gen. Apparently she was in the room during my EuroPython talk! Then I just kept doing my own thing, which of course involved a lot of MongoDB activity. A few months later I was invited to join the program, something I’m still very surprised and honoured about. So my advice to anybody wanting to join the program is simple: make the best stuff you can, and then make sure to let the world know about it. People will take notice.
Me: What one thing would you like to promote in MongoDB that nobody knows about but you think is beneficial to people!
Nicola: Native JSON storage! Hardly something nobody knows about but really, this was very instrumental to my involvement with MongoDB. Also, I think most people from the SQL world are underestimating the importance of this feature, especially if they are (and everybody will, soon or later) going to deal with web-related storage.