When I was about nine years old, I had an Acorn Electron, a home computer developed by Acorn Machines and one of the major precursors to modern home computing. It was tiny by today’s standards, having just 32K of RAM, a 2MHz CPU, and with the staggering ability to store a massive 360 Kb on the 3 inch Amstrad disks I was using at the time. It wasn’t my first machine; I cut my teeth on the Sinclair ZX81 and later the ZX Spectrum. Despite all these limitations, I built numerous different pieces of software for myself, including my very first database for my second greatest passion, books.

Through the yeras, I’ve worked on many different database systems, including dB III+, Microsoft Access, Oracle, BRS, Filemaker, Omni 4D, and what I’m probably best known for, MySQL. The fundamentals of wanting to store information and retrieve it very quickly are all possible using these tools and just as I did in 1983, I’ve built some fun and serious applications in all of them. For the most part, though, the database became a tool—just another utility that became part of the toolkit for building the application.

Then I was introduced to Apache CouchDB, and I rediscovered the passion I had when developing applications on the Electron. Building databases was fun. They could be built quickly, without having to worry about drivers, languages, or indeed many of the complexities of querying and retrieving information. Most importantly, for any database application, I didn’t have to worry about structures or how to get the information in a structured format.

When you read this book, that’s the passion I hope you get—the realization that storing and retrieving information can be fun again with the help of CouchDB.

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It should go without saying that without the brainchild of Damien Katz, this book wouldn’t exist, and CouchDB in its current form wouldn’t exist without the help and input of other CouchDB developers like Jan Lenhardt, J. Chris Anderson, Benjamin Young, and the other developers and team at CouchOne (now Couchbase). Thanks, as well, to James Phillips and Bob Wiederhold at Couchbase for supporting me while I developed this book. Bradley Holt has been a champion for CouchDB books for some time, and he provided help and support on this title. Finally, the ever patient folks at O’Reilly, including, but not limited to, Mike Loukides, Julie Steele, and Melanie Yarbrough, who gave me the opportunity and helped me turn the raw text into a good looking book.

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