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Tags:   postgresql (170)   france (20)   conferences (14)   pgdayparis (1)   music (10)   syndicalism (1)  
Category:   Interviews   
Interview conducted by: Andreas Scherbaum

PostgreSQL is the World’s most advanced Open Source Relational Database. The interview series “PostgreSQL Person of the Week” presents the people who make the project what it is today. Read all interviews here.

Please tell us about yourself, and where you are from.

My name is Hécate, I am 28 years old and from the Parisian suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis. I work as a backend Haskell developer. I’m also a musician, and have been for twenty years now, so music is a big part of my life. I use they/them pronouns and farcical amounts of caffeine to retain human form.



How do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies?

I split my time between trade union activism, involvement in the Haskell and PostgreSQL communities, and I play in a communal wind orchestra as a trombonist.

Last book you read? Or a book you want to recommend to readers?

I am reading the Transmetropolitan series. It is quite interesting to read it in the current context of social struggles, and how they are reported by the press. The protagonist breaks all the rules of decorum enforced by his journalist colleagues and gets to the bottom of things. And there are grim similarities with how some journalists in France speak for the power in place instead of questioning it.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Some years ago, I would have told you something along the lines of coding all day, coding all night. But now I’m much more thoughtful about how I spend that kind of time, so I will try to read more, light some candles in the evening, and really try not to stress too much about my open-source projects.

What’s still on your bucket list?

I have no bucket list, I take life as it comes to me.

What is the best advice you ever got?

“Go outside and touch grass”, not because it’s deeply insightful, but because I often need to apply it.

When did you start using PostgreSQL, and why?

I’m a relative newcomer, I adopted PostgreSQL 9.5 in 2016 when I started writing my first applications in the Elixir programming language.

What other databases are you using? Which one is your favorite?

These days I exclusively use PostgreSQL due to the nature of the systems I’m developing, although I have some experience with SQLite. But PostgreSQL remains my favourite.

None! I already give too much time for everything else, so I purposefully limit my contributions these days. I decided to be exclusively involved with PgDay Paris, for which I was a staff member in 2023. I believe that I’m most useful for my local events, and it’s really fun to do on-site activities.

Could you describe your PostgreSQL development toolbox?

I’m a fan of pgcli, which brings a lot of nice additions to the UI of psql, like autocompletion of identifiers.

Which PostgreSQL conferences do you visit? Do you submit talks?

I intend to become a regular at pgDay Paris, which has the advantage of being local, not too big and attracting really interesting people.

Do you think PostgreSQL will be here for many years in the future?

Yes, I do believe so. The ecosystem is in good shape, and it’s really great to see all the community initiatives all around the world!

Would you recommend PostgreSQL for business, or for side projects?

Both! I started with PostgreSQL for my side projects and later transitioned to using it at my various places of employment. It’s really reliable and benefits from being used by many projects that have documented their expertise publicly.

What is your opinion on ORMs?

Having written a database layer for the Haskell programming language I’m cursed with opinions about them. For me, every tool that obfuscates the end result or promises magic is a recipe for later disasters. Especially when the generation of SQL is abstracted away from the programmer under the guise of providing a more “native” interface for the client programming language.

SQL versus NoSQL databases?

Since I don’t work in environments where the limits of PostgreSQL are pushed every day, I’m not sold on NoSQL databases yet. But also I was traumatised by MongoDB early in my career.

What other places do you hang out?

You can find me on the IRC channels and sometimes on the #PostgreSQL Twitter hashtag.

Which other Open Source projects are you involved or interested in?

I am greatly involved in the institutions of the Haskell language, and that’s it. :)

Anything else you like to add?

I want to thank the staff of PgDay Paris for welcoming me into the team. It is a huge opportunity for me and I get to learn a lot about a wide variety of subjects, especially how to run a community.