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I'm joining MariaDB!

·650 words·4 mins
Alejandro Duarte
Alejandro Duarte
Alejandro Duarte is a Software Engineer, published author, and award winner. He currently works for MariaDB plc as a Developer Relations Engineer. Starting his coding journey at 13 with BASIC on a rudimentary black screen, Alejandro quickly transitioned to C, C++, and Java during his academic years at the National University of Colombia. Relocating first to the UK and then to Finland, Alejandro deepened his involvement in the open-source community. He’s a recognized figure in Java circles, credited with articles and videos amassing millions of views, and presentations at international events.

A sea lion

Some weeks ago I decided to accept a position as a Developer Advocate at MariaDB Corporation. As one of the public faces in the Vaadin community, I thought it would be a good idea to tell more about this career move.

My journey with Vaadin started more than ten years ago when I was looking for a way to implement CRUD web views on top of JPA/Hibernate for a web application in a reusable way. I tell more about this in my book Practical Vaadin (Apress, 2021) if you are interested. In short, Vaadin was the web framework I was looking for. It allowed me to implement the presentation layer of a web application using my favorite programming language—Java. My enthusiasm for Vaadin opened doors at Vaadin, the company, where I moved to a Developer Advocate position. I interacted with developers from everywhere in the World on topics related to Java and Vaadin. I published three books, many technical  articles, a multitude of  videos, and spoke at international conferences and Java User Group events.

In the world of Developer Relations (or Developer Advocacy), you interact with many developers including fellow developer advocates. One of these interactions was with Rob Hedgepeth (Director of Developer Relations at MariaDB) on a collaboration between Vaadin and MariaDB. It was a great match since (almost) every Vaadin application needs a database and (almost) every MariaDB database needs a graphical user interface. We thought it’d be useful to show Vaadin developers some of the cool features of MariaDB, and MariaDB users how to build web UIs in Java using Vaadin. I even published some videos showcasing MariaDB ColumnStore engine well before I thought about joining MariaDB.

As I investigated MariaDB, I realized I had no idea about all the cool features it has. Things such as encryption at rest, multi-master clustering, Oracle PL/SQL compatibility, columnar storage, zero interruption failover, hybrid transactional/analytical processing, distributed SQL, and others, made me interested in learning more about MariaDB’s technologies. As I continued to use MariaDB I came across a job ad for a Developer Advocate position at MariaDB Corporation. The description of the job sounded great, so I asked Rob about it. The rest is history.

I’m leaving the best company I have ever worked for. A company with the most talented people I have ever met. With the nicest people that I have met. A company that builds the best Java web framework in the market, make no mistake about it! During the latest years, I got to share the cool things that Vaadin builds and I cannot count the number of “wow” reactions that I have seen.

But I’m excited about the future. MariaDB Corporation has its headquarters in Finland, where I live. As an expat, moving from one Finnish company to another feels great. Also, the possibilities for a developer advocate are endless! You can build anything on top of MariaDB using any technology. I probably won’t move away from Java but I’ll be able to reach out and help more developers than before, including developers from other platforms. The journey is about to start and there are many things that I have to learn. I’ll give my best to share my learnings as I go through them.

What will happen to my Vaadin add-ons? I’m the maintainer of Crud UI and Report UI, two popular add-ons for Vaadin. I’ll try to maintain the add-ons on a best-effort basis. I probably won’t be able to add a lot of new functionality to them but I’ll try to keep them compatible with the latest Vaadin LTS version. I can definitively use some help with this! If you are interested in taking over these add-ons or contributing, drop me a line!

Thanks to everyone at Vaadin—these 6 years working with you were the best. Now it’s time to say goodbye to the reindeer and hello to the sea lion!


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