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From Troy Kruthoff <>
Subject Re: Designing a database
Date Tue, 29 Dec 2009 06:44:04 GMT
I made an app that does exactly what you described, although it was a  
"for-fun" hack just to showcase couch to my buddies (it was called  
tweetmesexy, so you can imagine how much fun it actually was)...  What  
I ended up doing was:

1)  Each new comment is a new doc that references the tweet id
2)  Use view collation to get the tweet(s) and comments via single  
http call (
3)  Run a script (via cron or whatever) to move the comments to the  
tweet (and delete the comments) when the tweet is no longer "hot".   
This is not required, but in our case it allowed us to do some nifty  
analytics thanks to couch's incremental map/reduce

As for if couch is a good fit or "update-heavy" applications, I think  
an RDBMS has advantages in a true "update" scenario (like 'update  
stats set counter=counter+1').  But remember, you are only using the  
word "update" because couch's awesomeness allows you to even consider  
storing the comments inline with the doc.  Technically you can do the  
same with an SQL database, using a serialized blob and have the same  
conflict issues (without built-in revision love).

So assuming I'm correct that the structure of your data will be  
similar if using a SQL database or couch, you would be well served  
with couch:

1)  You can archive the comments inline, as I mentioned above and run  
cool map/reduce on the tweet and comments together
2)  Simple master-master, allowing you to scale writes to your heart's  
3)  With SQL you'll need multiple queries (or go the ugly join route)  
to get the comments and the tweet, vs a single http call

Bottom line, just because you find yourself structuring your data like  
you would in an SQL database, does not negate the other advantages of  


On Dec 28, 2009, at 10:09 PM, Sean Clark Hess wrote:

> Our system will have comments related to live data - imagine people
> commenting on tweets right after they are written.
> I'm having trouble deciding how to model it. It makes a lot of sense  
> to make
> one document containing all the comments for each data segment, but  
> we could
> theoretically have hundreds of users commenting on the same segment at
> once.
> Would data consistency become a nightmare? With an RDBMS you would  
> have a
> comments table, and insert a new row for each comment - preventing
> conflicts. I could do the same thing with couch, by adding a separate
> document for each comment, but it seems to violate a fundamental  
> principle
> of couch.
> Is Couch DB a bad fit for an update-heavy system? Updates will only  
> be heavy
> within the first minute or so after the data is released, then it will
> switch to a very read-heavy system.
> Thanks for your help

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