SlamData: SQL Isn't Just for RDBMS Anymore

Short Form


NoSQL: the technology that everyone loves to hate on. Yet despite shaky formal foundations and horror stories of career-ending proportions, there's one thing I'm pretty sure of: NoSQL is here to stay.

MongoDB is now the 4th most popular database of the world, and the company commercializing the open source database is valued at more than $1.6 billion dollars.

For the longest time, the only way of accessing data in these NoSQL databases has been writing code: every database has its own API which lets you do various random things in sometimes very strange ways.

That works for building applications, but it doesn't work for tooling, most specifically, for analytics and reporting. If you've ever tried to building a data processing workflow or some reporting machinery on top a NoSQL database, you know exactly what I'm talking about: it's painful, write-once, often buggy code you'll end up throwing away some day.

What if there were another way? What if you could query databases like MongoDB as easily as MySQL? What if you could hook up standard open source database tools to MongoDB like Squirrel, and have things just work?

Thanks to an open source project I've been working on for the past year and a half, I'm happy to say all these things are possible.


SQL can’t possible work on NoSQL databases — or can it? In this presentation, John De Goes digs into the guts of a new open source project called SlamData. Unlike competing approaches which have chosen to tack on JSON accessor functions to a relational core, SlamData extends the foundation of relational algebra so it can natively slice and dice, transform, and aggregate nested, heterogeneous documents. SlamData plugs directly into MongoDB to allow running advanced analytical SQL queries entirely in-database. John discusses how the open source project pulls off this technical feat, what some of the limitations are, as well as plans to support other NoSQL backends.


nosql, mongodb

Speaking experience

I have spoken at many conferences over the years (Strata, NEScala, LambdaConf, OSCON, BigData TechCon, MongoDB Days, etc.), and I have not given this talk before. Here's one of my previous talks:


  •  bjo6891

    John A. De Goe

    De Goes Consulting Inc.


    A mathematician by training but a software engineer by choice, John A. De Goes has been contributing to open source for more than 6 years, having authored or contributed to dozens of software projects, including the SlamData open source project. John currently consults at De Goes Consulting, and serves as CTO at SlamData Inc., a company he founded to provide commercial support and training around the SlamData project. John has spoken at Strata, OSCON, BigData TechCon, NEScala, LambdaConf, and many other conferences, and has also published a variety of books on programming. When not hacking on open source or starting new companies, John enjoys spending time with his family in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, as well as cooking, hiking, biking, and weightlifting.