<antirez>

antirez 1383 days ago. 171780 views.
Today Redis is 5 years old, at least if we count starting from the initial HN announcement [1], that’s actually a good starting point. After all an open source project really exists as soon as it is public.

I’m a bit shocked I worked for five years straight to the same thing. The opportunities for learning new things I had because of the directions where Redis pushed me, and the opportunities to learn new things that I missed because I had almost consistently no time for random hacking, are huge.

My feeling today is that the Redis project was possible because of the great coders I encountered in my journey: they made Redis popular adopting it in its infancy, since great coders don’t follow the hype. Great coders provided outstanding additions to Redis in the form of patches and ideas that were able to surpass my instinct to be conservative when the topic was to extend the system or accept external contributions. More great coders made possible to sponsor Redis when it was in its infancy, recognizing that there was something interesting about it, and more great coders applied it in the right way to solve problems in the course of many years, wrote an incredible ecosystem of client libraries and tools, and helped other coders to apply it when it was not clear what was the best way to solve a given problem.

The Redis community is outstanding because in some way it managed to attract a number of great coders.

I learned that in the future, whatever I’ll do more coding or I’ll be in a team to build something great in a different role, my top priority will be to stay with great coders, and I learned that they are not easy to recognize at first: their abilities don’t correlate with the number of followers on Twitter nor with the number of Github repositories. You have to discover great coders one after the other, and the biggest gift that Redis provided to me, was to get exposed to many of them.

In the course of five years there was also time, for me, to evolve my idea of what Redis is. The idea I’ve of Redis today is that its contribution should be to try to explore corner designs and bizzarre ideas. After all there are large teams of people much smarter than me trying to work on the hard problems applying the best technologies available.

Redis will continue to be a small research in more obscure places of the design space. After all I’ve the feeling that it helped to popularize certain non obvious ideas, like using data structures as data model for key value stores and caches, or that it is possible to apply scripting to database systems in a different way than stored procedures.

However for Redis to be able to do this research, I should be ready to be opinionated and change development direction when something is weak. This was done in the past, deprecating swap and diskstore, but should be done even more in the future.

Moreover Redis should be able to purse different goals at the same time: once Redis 3.0 will be stable, the design of Redis Cluster is conceived in order to leave my hands free about changes in the data model, without too much limits or compromises. This will result in a Redis 3.2 release that will focus again on the API, stressing one of the initial and fundamental aspects of Redis: caching, data model and computation.

It is entirely not obvious to me, after five years, to consider the Redis journey still ongoing, and I’m happy about it, because my motivations are not investors or shares, nor that I’m particularly in love with Redis as a project. If something new appears tomorrow that marginalizes Redis and makes it totally useless I’ll be very happy to start some new gig, after all this is how technology works: for cycles. And, after all, starting from scratch with something new is always exciting. However currently I believe there is more to do about Redis, and I’ll be happy to continue my work on it in the next weeks.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=494649
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