Paul Jongsma - Developer at Webtic, Netherlands


(Paul Jongsma) #1

Created an account for this community when it just started but never took the time to complete the rite :slight_smile:

Just updated my profile text; might as well post it here:

Cofounded Dutch ISP XS4ALL back in the early '90s being a hardware and network guy. Switched to building webstuff when Netscape Navigator showed images in their browser. Started [Webtic](https://webtic.eu) have growing the web ever since. Mainly back-end, database and information migration stuff. Mostly SQL before I grew up and became an adult Graph user..

But let me tell you a bit more; one of our projects is Historiana and during an early phase we discussed some information architectural issues with the people who create the content. One of their wishes was being able to connect anything to anything. Being the tables and relational data person I was I frowned and prototyped something which showed them that it was not a really feasible thing to do. With only a few hundred entries the model took forever to load.

Upon which Steven, the project lead, said something along the lines of it being a shame that the world of technology was so distant from the real world where all kinds of strange relations between things exists.

Something clicked, perhaps I was just using the wrong tool for the job, perhaps something better existed. From the early days in my career I remembered there were all kind of databases and I decided to have a look if there was anything better in doing relations than a relational database..

At that time the noSQL movement was getting traction and projects like MongoDB and CouchDB were the new kids on the block. However to me they seemed of little more value for the problem at hand. Via OrientDB I found this "new" technology called Graph database. It seemed promising but having flunked in math all the new terminology with vectors, nodes and edges seemed overwhelming.

While trying to grasp Tinkerpop and looking at both OrientDB and ArangoDB I suddenly saw some Cypher.
Finally the graph made sense and having a query language which was easy to grasp made me try Neo4J.

There were some struggles; Neo4J being at 1.9 at that time was an absolute "meh" ; the thought of coding in Java was not a very pleasant foresight to me. Luckily the 2.0 release gave us a web interface; and more importantly a REST interface. Via which I could do all the things I wanted too. New parts of the Historiana project were modeled in Neo4J and the experience was great.

Ever since then Neo4J keeps evolving into a better product with every release.
It is now the central tool in my toolkit and we are using it in most new projects we work on.
It even made me switch from FreeBSD to Linux for hosting as the support was much better.

Current stack is Python in the backend with the excellent py2neo and Sanic as an API framework with VueJS in the front-end stack.

Graph the world!
Paul


(Karin Wolok) #2

Aww, Paul! That's a great story! :heart: Thank you for sharing! If you ever want to share in more detail about your project and where it's going, you're welcome to post about it in the #projects-collaboration category! :smile: