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The Limitations and Potential of SQLite with Glauber Costa

Glauber Costa, CEO of Turso, discusses the potential and practicality of SQLite database technology in a recent podcast, emphasizing its robustness, value in production, and importance in document evolution. He looks forward to learning more about real-world challenges at an upcoming web development conference and invites developers to explore Turso's offerings.

In the latest podcast, Glauber Costa, CEO of Turso and an ex-Red Hat contributor, speaks with Kent about the often overlooked yet robust SQLite database technology. Sharing their personal experiences with SQLite, they discuss its functionality, suitability in production, and the importance of version control in document evolution. Costa encourages developers to recognize SQLite's potential and looks forward to learning more about real-world challenges at the upcoming web development conference, promising insights into effectively utilizing databases in technology projects.

Watch this episode.

Meet Glauber at Epic Web Conf.


Glauber Costa
Glauber Costa


Kent: Hey Glauber, why don't you tell us about yourself? We'll get everybody to get to know ya.

Glauber: Awesome. First, thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited for the conference. I just want to repeat what I said on Twitter. It's not going to be a good conference. This lighting up should be an epic conference. So I'm happy to be there. Just got my tickets today, so super excited. I'm Glauber calling in today from London, Canada. Not the one in the UK, so I live here in, I moved out of Toronto a couple of years ago to this small town called London, Now I spend most of my time explaining to people that no, I did not move to the UK, even though my LinkedIn profile clearly says London, Canada. Here I am excited to fly to Salt Lake City soon. I am the founder and CEO of Turso, and I come from a systems programming background. My first dabbling into tech, let's call it that way, was through open source with the Linux kernel. in the early 2000s where I worked for around 10 years, most of the time at Red Hat. Some of the time in another smaller company and some of the time purely in the beginning, purely as a open source contributor, which is how I started. I later joined a startup that pivoted into a product called Silla, which is a database company in the NoSQL space and that's how I got involved with databases. And my co-founder and I, like we've been huge fans of Cicolite, as I know you are for a long time, we believe that is a very underappreciated piece of technology. And in fact, the title of my talk is going to be Cicolite is not a toy, like lots of people seem to believe and I'm hoping to be able to convince a large part of your audience about that. And Turso is just like Cicolite for production. That's how we talk about it.

Kent: That is awesome, yeah. 100% agree, SQLite is not a toy. I'm using it in production and getting many queries on every request. I should probably record it for sure, but each request, when you go to kentzydots.com, hits the database with a bunch of different queries. Every single page is dynamic, all loaded from SQLite. I actually have two databases, one for a cache and one for the actual data. And yeah, it's screaming, it's so fast. And it is, there's so many good things about like zero latency and we could go on and on.

Glauber: Yeah. And you run it in production. Like, by the way, when I claim we are SQLite for production, I don't mean that there is no way to run SQLite with... in production except for us. I mean that we want to make that journey easier, right?

Kent: Mm-hmm.

Glauber: That's what we're trying to do with Thurso. But like the talk's not gonna be too much about our product. You know, anybody is welcome to go to thurso.tech and take a look at what we offer, take a look at what we have there. But again, mostly about SQLite itself as a technology, the cool things you can do. Some of the limitations, like everything has limitations. Like I think we sometimes have people go a lot into this mindset of thinking, oh, what is the best technology, right? The best the best the best but the reality is that like everything has pros and cons, right? So you I want to I want to talk a little bit more about that about like how again everything has pros and cons but I still believe that for a large variety of use cases not a niche amount for a large variety of use cases the the pros are much, much higher than the cons. Fine technology. You know, maybe you'll get a quote from you Kent,

Kent: Yeah.

Glauber: for the time.

Kent: Well, yeah, for what it's worth, I migrated from Postgres to SQLite. I am a super fan. And like in recent years, a lot of attention has been coming over to SQLite. So of course, Terso, what you're all doing, Fly has LightFS and Lightstream, and then Codflare has their D1

Glauber: T1.

Kent: data, which is SQLite based. Even... Like, I think indexedDB or some storage thing in the browser is also SQLite based or inspired at least. So anyway, SQLite is fantastic, phenomenal technology. I'm super excited that you're going to be speaking about that database at Epic Web. Is there any other peak that you can give us into what you're planning on for your talk at this point?

Glauber: Not that I prepared the talk already, but I think that likely it's going to be done. You know, I've been having a fairly busy schedule. We're going to have a very busy month of March on our side here. So I've been focusing a lot on that. But like I do have a more or less sketch of, you know, something approximating a mental model of what I want to talk about. And I think it will just be talking about the limits of SQLite.

Kent: Mmm.

Glauber: And in talking about the limits, you can show that yes, it has limits, but hey, look, I mean, it's not small.

Kent: Yeah.

Glauber: So in talking about the limits, you can talk about what the database is capable of doing. Just to-

Kent: Yeah, that's actually, I love that approach because I think that a lot of the time when you're a super fan of a particular technology, people are always asking you, well, what are you gonna, like, what will you not use this for? When I was working at Remix, people would constantly ask me, like, okay, so like Remix sounds cool, what is Remix not good for? And people are always very interested in what those limits are. And I think... what you're describing is really going to surprise people. They're going to hear things that you say about SQLite and its limits and they're gonna say, wait a second, I'm not even close to that limit

Glauber: Yeah,

Kent: in

Glauber: yeah,

Kent: my

Glauber: yeah.

Kent: use case. And so maybe I should give SQLite a try for all the benefits that it offers.

Glauber: Yeah. And maybe this is inspired, maybe this is inspired by a book that I was reading the other day that talk about like when a, there's a detective that is collecting evidence for a case. And then he talks about like, how can determine, how can they determine like the evidence was tampered with and modified. So you see that the claim is not that the evidence. was not tampered with because all evidence at some point, I mean, some, you know, something will happen. And especially eyewitness testimony, which it was, was the one particular example he was describing, like over time, as you transcribe this and et cetera, like you can have. variations like every time you tell the story you can have a variation but if you have a track record of what those variations are you don't have to go and try to defend this wasn't altered to say no we know how this was altered and because of that I have actually even more confidence now on the original version because I know exactly like in a sense you have more confidence on the original now that you know which alterations happen

Kent: Mm-hmm.

Glauber: then like if you are, I was going to say, now this was, of course this wasn't authored. This is the original testimony. And look, think about it. It's the same reason why we have version control. And like you can see how your software was evolved over time and you can learn something from that.

Kent: Hmm.

Glauber: And I think this is, again, as I said, I haven't sat down and written the talk yet, subject to change, but I think the... The mental model that I plan to approach is this. I mean, in showing you the limits of this technology, right? So it's not a claim of this is great, it has no limits and et cetera. But like in showing you the boundaries, you can understand by yourself that what lies within the boundaries is a lot, right? Just that.

Kent: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I love that approach, Glover. I think that people are gonna love that. And yeah, I really appreciate you coming to speak at the conference. Is there anything that you would like attendees to come up and chat with you about, ask you about when they're at the conference with you?

Glauber: Look, I'm not a application developer or front end person, but always eager to learn. So we'd love to get people coming and telling me like what they want from their databases and what the use cases are Like what are the problems that you have in your day-to-day? You know how other databases and especially databases like ours that are like SAS offerings Do not provide you with the best experience and how can we do to help again? I come from this background of like systems level databases. I don't have a lot of experience writing application software So the way for me to understand how to provide you all with the best services by talking, hearing, listening. So this is super valuable to me. And people can also come and talk to me about whatever they think is valuable to them as well. Like, let's not be selfish. So

Kent: No, no, no.

Glauber: overall, if you haven't noticed through this interview, I love talking. Just come and talk to me. We're going to have a good conversation.

Kent: Super. Hey, thanks so much Globber. Really appreciate your time and we'll see you in April.

Glauber: We'll see you there, Kent.

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