The roadmap for 2018
In no particular order, I want the following things to happen in the near future:
- Finishing the book (github.com/ravendb/book). I currently have more than 300 pages in it, and I’m afraid that I’m only 2/3 of the way, if that. RavenDB has gotten big and doing justice to everything it does take a lot of time. My wish list here is that I’ll finish writing all the content by the first quarter and have it out (as in, you can have it on your desk) by the second quarter. Note that you can read it right now, and the feedback would be very welcome.
- All the client APIs RTM’ed. We currently have clients for .NET, Python, JVM, Go, Ruby and Node.JS. Some of them are already ready for production, some are at RC level and some are still beta quality. We’ll dedicate a some effort and release all of these in the first quarter as well. I think that alongside with being able to run on multiple operating systems, we want to give people the choice of using RavenDB from multiple platforms and having a client for a particular platform is the first step on that road.
- Getting (and incorporating) users’ feedback. We have worked closely with several of our customers on the release of 4.0, and we have got people chomping at the bit to just get it out (who wants to say no to being 10 – 50 times faster). But RavenDB 4.0 is a huge undertaking, and there are going to be things that we missed. The feedback from the RC releases has been invaluable in finding scenarios and conditions that we didn’t consider. I’ve explicitly put aside time to handle that sort of feedback as people are rolling out RavenDB and need to smooth any rough corners that still remain.
These are all the near term plans, for the next few months. These mostly deal with actually dealing with the aftermath of a big release, with nothing major planned for the near future because I expect all of us to be dealing with all the other things that you need to do with a big release.
The last year had seen us grow by over 40% in terms of manpower and the flexibility of having some many great people working here which can push the product in so many directions at once is intoxicating. I have been dealing with a lot of retrospectives recently as we have been completing RavenDB 4.0 and it amazed me just how much was accomplished and how many irons we still have in the fire. So let’s talk about the big plans for 2018, shall we?
Additional storage types
In 4.0, we have JSON documents and binary attachments that you can add to a document. One of our goals in 2018 is to add two or three additional options, turning RavenDB from a document database to a true multi paradigm database. In particular, we want to add:
- Distributed counters
- Time series
- Graph operations
These are all going to be living together with documents, so you have have a user’s document with a FitBit and a heartrate time series on that document that updates every 5 seconds. Or you can have a post document in a blog and use a counter to track how many likes it has gotten. And I don’t believe that I need to explain about graph operations. We want to allow you to define connections between documents and query them directly.
The idea here is that we got documents, but they aren’t always the best tool for the job, so we want to offer you the option to do that in a way that is optimized, fast, easy and convenient to use.
We already have done a lot of work around working with additional services and environment, we just need to polish and expose that. This means things like being able to get a PouchDB instance that is running in your browser and have it sync automatically and securely to your RavenDB cluster. Or being able to point RavenDB into an instance of a relational database and have it such all the data, build the document model and save your a lot of work on migrating to a document database.
Performance is addictive, and it has caught us. We are now orders of magnitude faster than ever before. We have actually been scaling down our production servers intentionally to be able to see if we can find more bottlenecks in the real world, so far we went down CPU by half and memory to one quarter and we are still seeing faster response times and better latencies. That said, we can do better, and we are planning to.
I’m looking forward to are things like Span<T> and Memory<T> which would really reduce overheads in some key scenarios. We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of SIMD intrinsics in the CoreCLR and already have some code paths that are going to be heavily optimized as a result. Early results show something like 20% – 40% improvement, but we’ll probably be able to get more over time. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the release is that people get to actually use the software and see how much it improved, but also give us feedback on the things that can be made even faster.
Until we have actual people using us in production over a long period of time, it is hard to avoid optimizing in the dark, and that never gives a good ROI.
Everything before was mostly technical things. Features that are upcoming and new things that you get to do with RavenDB. We are also going to invest heavily in getting the word out, showing up at conferences and users’ group. We are also scheduling a lot of workshops around the globe to teach RavenDB 4.0. The first round is already available here.
There is also the new community license for RavenDB, allowing you to go to production without needing to purchase a commercial license. This should reduce the barrier for adoption and we hope to see a lot of new users starting to come to RavenDB. We are now free to use, running on multiple operating systems and available in the most commonly used platform. And we are easy to get right, although it was anything but easy to get there. A good example of that is the setup video.
All in all, 2017 has been a major year for us, both in term of growth on any parameter we track and the culmination of years of efforts that lead us to the release of RavenDB and seeing the new version take its first steps on the first days of 2018.
Happy new year, everyone.