This edition of SingleStore’s engineer showcase puts a (guest) spotlight on software engineer Charlie Joseph, a London-based programmer and entrepreneur. Hear how Charlie got his start in tech, his favorite tools, why he chose SingleStore, advice to developers navigating a crowded market and more.
At the age of 21, UK-based web developer and designer Charlie Joseph has already forayed into complex development projects — using SingleStore as his favored, go-to database. We sat down with Charlie to learn a bit more about his background and what he's got in the works using SingleStore.
Q: What’s your name, company and title?
A: I'm Charlie Joseph, and I founded Octanna Ltd.
Q: Where are you located?
A: I'm located in London, United Kingdom
Q: Give us a bit of background on yourself — the project, app or product you're working on, and how you chose SingleStore.
A: I'm a 21 year old software engineer and entrepreneur who has been programming since I was 13 years old. I'm currently working on Analyse — a game analytics SaaS for server administrators to monitor and improve their server experience.
I chose SingleStore because I knew I'd be dealing with a high volume of data from launch, and didn't want the headache of migrating this data in the future. I wanted to choose something solid from launch, so I could focus more time on my core application instead.
Q: What is in the future for your project? Any other plans for using SingleStore?
A:  Currently we solely provide community performance metrics but would love to expand into monetary metrics. It would allow us to provide better insights to the server administrator so that they can fine tune gameplay, to better convert their player-base who aren't yet subscribed.
Q: What is SingleStore's biggest strength, weakness or something you wish was different?
A:  Personally, SingleStore's biggest strength is its MySQL connector as it allows me to continue working on my application without the need to learn a new query language. This has meant its been fairly straight forward to implement in my application, combined with the speed that SingleStore has — I haven't had to fear about storing high volumes of data.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SingleStore? What made you want to use it?
A: My favourite thing is hands down the self-hosting option, without it I wouldn't of been able to afford the cloud hosting. This is due to being a start-up where saving every dollar is crucial, but still gives me the opportunity to move to their cloud hosting once my SaaS generates enough revenue.
Q: Aside from SingleStore, do you have any favorite frameworks, languages or tools?
A: I'm a huge fan of the Laravel framework as it lets me focus on my core app, rather than authentication, email notifications, etc. They have lots of first-party packages ran by a company, so I don't have to worry about software becoming unmaintained.
In addition to this, I am a huge fan of Vue.js as it is straight forward to learn, but provides lots of flexibility with components. I use Laravel and Vue together for Analyse, and I've been extremely efficient with delivering new features.
Q: What advice would you offer developers as they navigate the crowded, often confusing database market?
A: I've had a project involving close to 100 million rows of data using MySQL, and it involved so much stress to maintain with lots of caching involved. SingleStore is hands down the go-to choice if you want an out-the-box solution without fearing maintainability. I no longer have to cache results with Analyse meaning my customers love a live dashboard, and I get to focus on building features not infrastructure.
Q: What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?
A: The best advice I've ever given is to "Ship fast, refactor later", by this I mean that we should first build code that works and does its job. After that's done, then you'd work on optimising it at a later date. I've been guilty of spending countless hours making my code "clean", or "super optimised" but it's often a waste of time.
It can slow down releasing a new feature or application, when instead the better option would be to build and release it, and then optimise it once you've got more time. I was guilty of this, and since hearing this advice I've been more productive as I focus on functional over optimised.
Q: What technology can you not live without?
A: Of course, this is where we say SingleStore, right? It's been hugely beneficial to my application and certainly worth living without the long-term headache. Aside from this, I am extremely grateful for the Laravel team for building such a wonderful and pleasant developer experience. Without this, I'd be mashing together 30 Javascript libraries hoping they all stay maintained.
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