Tikv Committee Nie Dianhui: open source is not only an open source code, but also an attitude and a way of communication


Nie Dianhui, tikv Committee, once a continuous entrepreneur, currently leads a research and development team in the head of the technology game department. He also likes to buy Handmade models and spell them out. He seldom sends friends and hardly uses mobile phones. He says that self mockery is the life style of the elderly, but he is still enthusiastic about participating in the community.

Have a dream, love toss

One or two years after I graduated from University, I started to start a business with passion. At that time, I was the third employee of the company. At the beginning of our project, we wanted to compete with Twitter and Facebook, but it didn’t take long for Weibo to appear, so our project gradually withdrew from the market. In 2013, I started to participate in the entrepreneurship of crowdfunding with another colleague, which was also due to the bad timing, and then did not continue.

Technicians look inward, but it’s easy to talk about technology. On the contrary, the pressure is greater, but some related knowledge crazy make-up. When doing crowdfunding entrepreneurship, the project is financial and related to equity. My knowledge is a little out of touch. In order to better communicate, I supplemented a lot of knowledge in the financial field, so that I can chat with each other more smoothly.

Entrepreneurial pressure is really great, the spirit has been relatively tight, there is a sense of responsibility on the shoulders. When starting a business, you not only need to do your own technology well, but also need to consider whether what you do is valuable and helpful to the society. At the same time, you also want to help the team grow and help in this process. Although the business didn’t succeed in the end, I have a deeper understanding of responsibility.

But if I had a choice, I would still start a business. Although five years of entrepreneurship is very tired, but very happy, there are some dreams and passion, believe that what you do is valuable.

So when I look at such a start-up company as pingcap, I have a different feeling. First of all, I think pingcap has a sense of mission in open source. I have seen very thorough open source. Since I knew about tidb, you’ve been trying all kinds of open source. At the same time, we also attach great importance to technology output. We can see that you are trying to share and impart knowledge in both related database fields and peripheral technology fields.

Secondly, there is a very magical point. When I mention PR, I feel that pingcap students have different working hours, and there are people reviewing code at different time points.

Playing with tidb open source community

Tikv Committee Nie Dianhui: open source is not only an open source code, but also an attitude and a way of communication

Understanding of open source

I have used some small open source projects in my previous work. Tikv is the first real large-scale open source project I participated in.

I think open source is not only an open source code in technology, but also a sharing attitude and a way of communication. Before, I would read other people’s source code. Later, after watching “cathedral and market”, I began to think that the original open source is like this. Open source projects are very different from the company’s internal development. For example, it is very interesting to organize a group of people in Linux and do a good job with a good way of communication.

Tidb makes me feel like the development of market, which brings many people together and ensures controllable quality. It is a big test for the communication and organization ability of the community.

First contact with tikv

My job requires me to have a wide range of technical knowledge, because I’m afraid of falling behind, so I know a development language every year. I learned about rust in 2018. Later, I found that rust was really good. I wanted to know more about it, so I wanted to find a project to start with. Later, I scanned the tikv project on GitHub and began to understand it.

Tikv is a very complex system, involving a lot of things, so I wanted to find an entry point to participate at that time. At that time, coprocessor was doing function push down, and this module was relatively independent. For me, as long as I knew a part of it, I could participate in tikv. It was very suitable to start with. The description and label of issue were also very clear, so it was a good entry point.

In the past, entrepreneurship projects paid more attention to the completeness and applicability of functions. If there are performance problems, you can go back and modify them. But for tikv PR, many are performance related. Performance is not the most important in my previous work, but because tikv is too low-level and too core, it is very pressing for performance. Maybe its function is very simple, but many of them can be optimized for performance, which is very different from my previous work.

Deep participation in community

Before I joined coprocessor, I mentioned a pr. at that time, tikv had to upgrade its version. I didn’t know much about rust at that time, so I wanted to see what libraries tikv used, so that I could quickly understand the ecology of rust.

The most difficult problem to solve in my impression should be row format. This PR involves a lot of things, and there will be some other things to do. There is a lot of preparatory work, and I need to have a good understanding of the whole tikv workflow. How to store and decode the data on tidb is a detailed problem.

My overall impression of tidb community can be summed up in one sentence: very professional and very human.

It’s professional because the community is very systematic and rich in activities. I feel that pingcap has invested a lot of energy in the community, such as challenges and insect catching contests. Recently, it has been swiped by all kinds of people. I’ve scanned your blog before, and it’s very informative.

Human interest is the first time to read the tikv review guide. The review guide mentioned some norms. For example, if you find that the knowledge of the PR speaker is not as good as you, you also need to have some patience, which makes people feel very professional and patient. It’s very friendly to the participants, the review session is smooth, and it’s easy for beginners to have an entry point.

The feeling of humanity also comes from a face-to-face experience.

One day, I suddenly received a message from breezewalsh (pingcap partner): ah, you are in Shanghai, and I am in Shanghai too. Would you like to join us? (straight man is so straightforward)

So we made an appointment at the cafe downstairs of pingcap Shanghai office. Breezewash told me about the module of tikv in detail, which made me know more about tikv. Later, the functions I wrote bit by bit were discovered by Siddon Tang (chief architect of pingcap). He said that we should not always write simple ones, but write more difficult ones. Inspired by this, I slowly started to do some ladder tasks, such as row format. Later, he also participated in the community performance challenge and the ease of use challenge.

Tikv Committee Nie Dianhui: open source is not only an open source code, but also an attitude and a way of communication

It’s quite easy to go from contributor to reviewer. I have a sense of identity in what I do. After I get to committee, I will have some pressure, because this role needs to have a deeper understanding of the project. I also hope I can spend more time to understand tikv. The more you participate, the more you feel that the code is not a problem, and the overall grasp of the project is the most challenging.

Interesting Q & A

Horizontal screen or vertical screen?Vertical screen


Mac or Linux?Linux

Firefox or chrome?Chrome just eats too much memory

What keyboard do you like to use?HHKB

Mouse or touch?mouse

Sweet bean flower or salted bean flower?As a northeasterner, of course, eat xiandouhua!

Finally, let’s answer Zhuang Tianyi’s question in the last interview: what’s your favorite dish? Do you usually cook?

I don’t like meat. I don’t like meat dishes from the beginning. I don’t have any desire to eat. I don’t cook at ordinary times. My wife is a cook who has wasted her cooking skills. She used to like cooking, but after meeting me, she felt that cooking had no sense of accomplishment. (‍ ♀ ‍ ♂️)

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