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From Jan Lehnardt <>
Subject Re: Seeking advice on using couchdb for rewritting a project.
Date Tue, 11 Nov 2008 18:19:19 GMT
Hi Bjorn!

On Nov 11, 2008, at 19:02, Burobjorn wrote:
> My name is Bjorn Wijers and I recently started to play with couchdb.
> It's a very interesting project and I would like to use it to  
> rewrite an
> older project called Simuze[1], but I wonder if couchdb would be the
> right tool for the job. Perhaps some of you can help me out in
> understanding the pro's and con's of using couchdb for this?
> Simuze is musicplatform (website) for musicians and music fans by
> non-profit Stichting (=Foundation) Open Media. Artists can upload  
> their
> music under a Creative Commons license of their choosing and music
> lovers can download these songs from the site. It was built quite some
> time ago in PHP and MySQL.

Personally, I think this is a cool app :)

> The basics in this application are:
> - users
> - profiles (might be multiple per user, since a user may have more  
> than
> one artist persona)
> - media files (images and audio for now)
> - media collections (such as a playlist or album)
> - ratings (every media file or collection)
> - tags (everything)
> Our objective is to rewrite Simuze in such a way that we can  
> distribute
> it as an 'easy' to install webapplication under a free/open-source
> license (Affero GPL). We would like to connect all the different  
> Simuze
> installs (replication would be very helpful for this, I guess) and
> create a distributed free (as in CC licensed and PD) music web.  
> Think of
> it as a non-suck MySpace built by musicians ;)

So far, this sounds like a good use-case for CouchDB.

> Some questions that I have are:
> 1) Would this type of application be suitable for couchdb or is this
> better suited by using a RDBMS?

I don't think an RDBMS has an advantage over CouchDB considering the
data. Things might look a lot different from what you are used to, but  
will all come together and be easier in the end.

> 2) Could we use the attachment feature for adding media files (FLAC or
> WAV or AIFF files roughly 50 MB per file) to couchdb? Or is this not
> advisable given the size of the files? The reasoning behind this is  
> that
> by using replication we can easily backup the whole system or setup an
> another node of it. Therefor having everything in one place seems  
> like a
> good idea?

There is no limitation (ok, currently it is 4GB, but that is  
adjustable) on
how big a a document attachment can be. Using replication for backup
is a good idea.

> 3) In a RDBMS such as MySQL I can use foreign keys to preserve data
> integrity. In other words I can delete the user and due to the foreign
> keys 'automatically' remove its profile(s), uploaded media etc. How
> would one solve this with couchdb?

With CouchDB you can only make "loose references" and CouchDB does
not do cascading deletes. But a two-request process helps you there:

1) Get all docs for a certain property
2) Send a bulk delete request with the previous result

Yes, this is not as convenient and there's a potential race condition,  
this is easily solvable.

> Thanks for reading this rather lengthy email. Looking forward to the
> thoughts and comments on this.

I'd say: Go for it.

Feel free to send any follow-up question.

Regarding PHP libraries to use, I'd recommend


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