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.


For more about CouchDB visit or follow us on Twitter at @couchdb

Have a suggestion on what you’d like to hear about next on the CouchDB blog? Email us!

CouchDB Weekly News, July 20, 2017


Releases in the CouchDB Universe


Opinions and other News in the CouchDB Universe

CouchDB Use Cases, Questions and Answers

Use Case:

  • time2relax: a Python CouchDB driver (requests under the hood)

Stack Overflow:

no public answer yet:

PouchDB Use Cases, Questions and Answers

Stack Overflow:

no public answer yet:

For more new questions and answers about CouchDB, see these search results and about PouchDB, see these.

Get involved!

If you want to get into working on CouchDB:

  • We have an infinite number of open contributor positions on CouchDB. Submit a pull request and join the project!
  • Do you want to help us with the work on the new CouchDB website? Get in touch on our new website mailing list and join the website team! –
  • The CouchDB advocate marketing programme is just getting started. Join us in CouchDB’s Advocate Hub!
  • CouchDB has a new wiki. Help us move content from the old to the new one!
  • Can you help with Web Design, Development or UX for our Admin Console? No Erlang skills required! – Get in touch with us.
  • Do you want to help moving the CouchDB docs translation forward? We’d love to have you in our L10n team! See our current status and languages we’d like to provide CouchDB docs in on this page. If you’d like to help, don’t hesitate to contact the L10n mailing list on or ping Andy Wenk (awenkhh on IRC).

We’d be happy to welcome you on board!


Job opportunities for people with CouchDB skills

Time to relax!

  • “When shooting a documentary, the vast majority of what you film gets edited out of the final production. But instead of letting thousands of hours of breathtaking footage go to waste, the creators of Planet Earth II have re-purposed hundreds of breathtaking mountaintop shots into this 10-hour-long relaxation tool.” – Chill Out With 10 Full Hours of Relaxing Planet Earth Mountain Footage
  • “As adults, our summers tend to be no different from any other potentially stressful time of the year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still perks of the hot season, though.” – Summer’s best ways to de-stress (that aren’t a vacation)
  • “A recent study from the University of Sydney found that women who ate five to seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables slashed their risk for stress by 23 percent compared with those who ate fewer or none.” – These Surprising Foods Could Help You De-Stress
  • “It’s important to establish what’s going on, to work out their current situation, and make sure they’re getting what they need. If their mental health issues are going to impact their work longterm, you, as a boss, needs to know about it – and you need to create a plan together on how you’re going to work around it.” – How bosses can make their workplace more mental health friendly

… and also in the news

Submit news to the CouchDB Weekly

Reach out to us with your news suggestions by sending us an email or by contacting us on Twitter @CouchDB.