The open source Apache CouchDB database project hit a major milestone this week with the release of version 0.11. The release is an important one for the NoSQL database variant as it matures toward its 1.0 release. According to the project's release notes, CouchDB is the first release of the open source database that hasn't been tagged as having an alpha or beta status.
With the 0.11 release, CouchDB introduces new features and performance improvements while locking down development for future stability. CouchDB is a popular NoSQL open source database that includes the ability for database content to be replicated in the cloud and on users' desktops.
"The 0.11 release is the first release where we're going into feature freeze, so this is the release where we'll be interface stable for 1.0, which will follow shortly," Damien Katz, the creator of CouchDB, told InternetNews.com. "That's big news for people looking for CouchDB stability."
Katz started the CouchDB project in 2005 as a way to build a scalable database that can easily be replicated. CouchDB uses the Erlang open source language originally developed by Ericsson for use in telecommunications. As opposed to traditional relational databases like MySQL or Oracle that use SQL , CouchDB is a NoSQL database and uses JSON to help facilitate database requests.
With version 0.11 Katz noted that there are a number of performance and feature enhancements.
"We have included user account authorization and authentication for users that can't access the CouchDB database server directly," Katz said. "Previously if you wanted to have a CouchDB server you had to stick it behind a proxy and have the proxy authenticate users. Now that's all directly built into CouchDB"
Locking down CouchDB development for stability is a key goal for Katz with the 0.11 release. He noted that having interface and API stability in CouchDB 0.11 is almost a guarantee that a certain feature or function will be in the 1.0 release.
As CouchDB gears up for its 1.0 release, Katz explained that what remains to be done is mostly about getting bugs fixed.
"We need to make sure that everyone in the community that is using CouchDB sees that it's stable and all their problems are addressed," Katz said. "When we hit 1.0 we have to make sure we have no production issues and want to make sure that we have a very stable and reliable server."
CouchDB 1.0 coming soon
Katz noted that the cycle between 0.11 and the 1.0 milestone will be a short one of just a few months. He expects the CouchDB 1.0 release to be out by the summer.
While having a 1.0 release will help with adoption, Katz said there are other challenges that CouchDB needs to overcome. One of those challenges is about mindset and getting developers to understand that there is something beyond SQL.
Other NoSQL projects including MongoDB and Cassandra have made noise in recent months as big sites including SourceForge.net, Digg, Facebook and Twitter have embraced the approach.
"Right now there is a large NoSQL movement that is still mostly a fringe movement led by the hardcore developers," Katz said. "Enterprise developers are still making their bread and butter from SQL databases -- and getting them to the point where they see CouchDB as a viable option with things like SQL Server and Oracle is a big challenge and I'd love to get there."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.