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From J Chris Anderson <>
Subject Re: CouchDB Huh! What is it good for?
Date Wed, 11 Aug 2010 18:02:04 GMT

On Aug 11, 2010, at 10:43 AM, Victor Stan wrote:

> So in going through the CouchDB book, and playing a bit more with it,
> as well as thinking about the needs of my own projects I came to
> realize that perhaps there are some things that I need to better
> understand or that couch db may not be able to handle because of it's
> inherent nature. I will like it of you folks helped me shed some light
> on these discoveries/opinions...
> The way I see it now, Couch DB is a really good platform for creating
> highly scalable apps that are restricted to the data in the database,
> and whatever JavaScript can do in a web browser. This means that Couch
> DB can do anything that is implemented in a web browser like HTML,
> CSS, SVG, Web3D/webGL(in the future/nightly builds) and whatever
> documents exist in the database.
> However, what CouchDB can't handle is anything that needs to be
> computed, which relies on specific libraries, outside the scope of
> CouchDB itself, such as for example, image processing, video/audio
> processing/encoding, cryptography(although maybe some js options
> exist)
> This means that CouchDB can excell at information and data that is
> stored exactly in the way that it is meant to be displayed (if it is
> not computed on the fly, or text) but can't handle any 'heavy'
> computation on binary data. This would limit the extend that CouchApp
> can be seen as a true 'application' development platform, to the
> extent that it is pretty much limited to dealing with database
> introspection, input/output, but no complex computation (that is
> beyond map/reduce)...
> How much of that is right/wrong?

That's right as far as it goes. Eg: there's a whole slew of things you can't do with just
a standalone CouchDB (from an RSS reader to a image resizing, to certain kinds of view queries
which require a client to pipe the output of view A to database B for further processing.)

However, there are a few simple patterns for embedding CouchDB and CouchApps in more heavyweight
processing chains. For instance, the easiest way is to follow the _changes feed.

We are doing a webcast on the 25th on exactly this topic:


> I appreciate all enlightening information from you!
> Victor Stan

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