NewBits for the week ending 28th April - MySQL 8.0.1's preview demos better replication, Elasticsearch, MongoDB and etcd get updates, we get a look at CockroachDB's SQL layer, Microsoft put a Python in SQL Server, smart cricket balls, nearly smart juice machine engineering and we'll make you love your keyboard.
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While it's still a development milestone release, MySQL 8.0.1 – the second milestone of MySQL 8.0 released earlier this month – packed in a lot of enhancements to its replication capabilities. Over the weeks that followed the release, the MySQL High Availability team have been talking about the availability of Group Replication in 8.0.1 with transaction savepoints, additional timestamps to handle them, better-delayed replication, more metadata in the log to enable better filtering and much more. Some of the updates have big impacts like the changes in replication threads which boosted some benchmarks from 25% to 65% depending on the scenario.
Elasticsearch, MongoDB and etcd updates
Minor updates for Elasticsearch and MongoDB landed this week. The Elasticsearch update sees versions 5.3.2 and 2.4.5 arrive with updates to the Lucene libraries underlying each and various bugs fixed (2.4.5, 5.3.2).
MongoDB's update to the 3.4 series, 3.4.4, is also a bug fix release with quite a range of issues (we count 120) resolved. There's a similar sized list of fixes incoming for MongoDB 3.2 as we found in the release notes for the upcoming 3.2.13 - the release candidate for that arrived this week.
And keeping things straight in the updates department, last week CoreOS developers rolled out a bugfix release of etcd 3 - etcd 3.1.6, with the welcome change of not requiring authentication the check the status of the server.
CockroachDB's SQL layer
CockroachDB is one of the databases we like to follow here. The distributed, resilient database has been acquiring a full SQL layer to sit on top of it. Underneath this layer is a transactional key/value database and below that a monolithic mapping and replication systems, but the SQL layer is how the database is presented to users. In this article in the CockroachDB repository there's a useful introduction to this fast growing layer from it's PostgreSQL wire protocol translator, through the front-end parsing, middle-end planning and back-end runners and executor. And all the code behind this explanation is, of course, there for the reading.
Pythonic SQL Server
Python is now coming from inside the server in the latest technology preview of Microsoft's SQL Server. The CTP 2.0 release of SQL Server 2017 reworks Microsoft's R services into a new "Machine Learning Service" and puts Python next to R as an option. As with most things, it's not a new idea. PostgreSQL's Python extension has been around for a while but while that focuses on scripting, the SQL Server Python appears to be oriented towards Python-based data models.
Smart Cricket Balls
Over at our essential AM read, The Morning Paper, is a look at a paper on instrumenting a cricket ball. It's an prototype system but uses a Intel Curie board, an inertial measurement unit and a UWB radio to track range, trajectory, spin and wobble in real time with pretty impressive accuracy. And if you don't think thats impressive, try orienting yourself after being hit by a cricket bat.
The good people at Bolt looked at the now notorious Juicero cold press and broke it down into the exquisitely engineered beast that it is. The takeaway is one everyone can learn from - The Juicero engineers took on a hugely complex problem (applying lots of force over a large surface) and missed the fact that people and squeezers don't squeeze things like that for a good reason - it's really really hard. If your problem needs a lot of brute force, you may be missing what the actual problem is.
Having trouble with something you don't like about your keyboard? Consider yourself lucky to have one. The tale of how Masahiro Sakuri, developer of Nintendo's Kirby, wrote it without a keyboard using only a trackball and on-screen keyboard should make you appreciate every single key in front of you.
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