6DOYDWRUH6DQȋLOLSSR Talks Redis, Open Source, and More BY FREDRIC PAUL 5HGLVKDVFRPHDORQJZD\VLQFH6DOYDWRUH6DQȋLOLSSRŘNQRZQRQOLQH DVDQWLUH]ŘFUHDWHGLWLQ1RZWKDWKHKDVUHOHDVHG5HGLVDQG stepped back from day-to-day responsibility for maintaining the project, this is a great time to celebrate his contributions to Redis, get his insights into open source software, and try his secret pasta recipe.
Let’s talk about the very beginnings of Redis. What was your inspiration for creating it? My main motivation was solving my particular program- ming problems, but that was more the trigger than the inspiration. The inspiration itself was more towards the idea of having a database system that was internally designed more like a programming language inter- preter, processing function calls instead of “queries.” That was one of the most exciting parts of my career. We wanted to solve problems, but we also wanted to have fun. Redis was born in this kind of playful environment. What do you think is behind Redis’ early success? Three key things helped Redis become successful: First, my accountability. I was there for the users in the early days. Second, simplicity and documentation. Third, storytelling. I was telling the Redis story on Twitter, on my blog, on Hacker News, everywhere I could. Of course, Redis was also very useful, but that’s not always enough to guarantee success for an open source project. Developers who are able to communicate clearly are a
critical element. And so far, I don’t think that Redis has fundamentally diverged from the original concept.
What was the hardest part in convincing folks to discover Redis? I didn’t really try to convince anyone. What mattered, I think, was that in the end the approaches I took with Redis actually worked. In general, Redis has a tendency to expose the hard reality of computation to the end user, without abstracting away too much of what could come back to bite you if not properly understood. This can be initially challenging, but eventually many users realized that a simple, very good hammer that does what it’s supposed to do could work better than a very sophisticated multi-use tool that was hard to understand. What Redis capability do developers best understand? The community really gets, since the start, that Redis GDWDVWUXFWXUHVKDYHYHU\VWULFWWUDGHRŷV,WŚVXSWRWKH developers to use these data structures as building blocks to solve problems.
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