CouchDB Developer Profile: Michelle Phung

Michelle Phung is a project management committee (or PMC) member of the Apache CouchDB project. Michelle has a bachelor’s in computer engineering from San Jose State University, with a minor in mathematics. Currently she teaches computer science at New York University and has been an active contributor to CouchDB for the past 2 years.

Recently Michelle shared some of her insights about the project with us.

Do you want to talk about your background, or how you got involved in CouchDB?

A few months after I applied for a position at Cloudant, Joan Touzet called me for interviews and then eventually offered me a job, working on the Cloudant Dashboard for IBM. The Cloudant Dashboard is actually a fork of CouchDB’s Fauxton.
Getting the job felt fantastic and really exciting, but at the time I really didn’t know anything about NoSQL or CouchDB, or even what IRC was. All of my database experience was using MySQL and its variations. My team at that time was: Garren Smith, Robert Kowalski, and Ben Keen. Garren and Robert had been in the community for a while by then, and Ben just picks everything up really quick. They all really helped me figure out what open source means, what it meant to work on CouchDB, to be part of the community, and of course, coding.

What areas of the project do you work on?

I work on Fauxton (the admin console), some small parts of the website (the 404 page) and the Fauxton Visual Guide.

The visual guide, Andrea Lee designed it for us when we were at IBM together. I’m so happy she agreed to do it. There are still some aspects of her design I haven’t implemented yet, actually. 🙂 But the site is one of my favorite things.

The 404 page, Paul Davis designed.

What’s a recent development/event/aspect of the project that you’re excited about?

Getting 2.0 out was pretty exciting — everyone was able to rally. There was a lot of build up, and it’s been a few months since then, but it still feels recent in my mind.
More recently than that: a week ago, the legal team from Apache asked us to stop using ReactJS, a JavaScript framework, for “legal reasons.” At first I kinda just sighed, but then as the news started to sink in, I got excited. I felt like it’s an opportunity to restructure the code base, or clean it, or take a look at it in a different way. Although, realistically, we probably won’t be making any big changes, but the possibilities abound!

What do you think are the top three benefits of using CouchDB as a database solution?

1. The filtered replication is quite cool.
2. It’s robust, every node can update itself.
3. You get Fauxton!

What do you look forward to in the future of CouchDB?

I’d like to see new ideas for the next iteration of the UI.

I know we just switched to Fauxton, but front end technology and trends move really quickly and I wonder what will be next in that space. There are a lot of features in CouchDB that aren’t implemented in Fauxton. It’s always interesting to see how concepts take shape and get realized into a visual form.

What advice do you have for someone who just discovered CouchDB?

It was a new way of thinking for me. There is a learning curve, but it’s really interesting. Also, make stuff that will help the people in the world.


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One thought on “CouchDB Developer Profile: Michelle Phung

  1. CouchDB Weekly News, August 3, 2017 – CouchDB Blog

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