Modern Database Clients On The Command Line with Amjith Ramanujam


June 10th, 2018

30 mins 39 secs

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About this Episode


The command line is a powerful and resilient interface for getting work done, but the user experience is often lacking. This can be especially pronounced in database clients because of the amount of information being transferred and examined. To help improve the utility of these interfaces Amjith Ramanujam built PGCLI, quickly followed by MyCLI with the Prompt Toolkit library. In this episode he describes his motivation for building these projects, how their popularity led him to create even more clients, and how these tools can help you in your command line adventures.


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  • Your host as usual is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Amjith Ramanujam about DBCLI, an umbrella project for command line database clients with autocompletion and syntax highlighting.


  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python?
  • What is the DBCLI project?
    • Which of the clients was the first to be created and what was your motivation for starting it?

  • At what point did you decide to create the DBCLI umbrella for the different projects and what benefits does it provide?

  • How much functionality is shared between the different clients?

  • What additional functionality do the different clients provide over those that are distributed with their respective engines?

  • How do you optimize for cases where large volumes of data are returned from a query?

  • What are some of the most interesting or surprising things that you have learned about database engines in the process of building client interfaces for them?

  • What are the most challenging aspects of building the different database clients?

  • What are some unexpected hardships that you encountered through this open source project?

  • What are some unexpected pleasant surprises that you encountered through this project?

  • Why did you hand over the project leadership for pgcli and mycli to other devs? Was it a hard decision?

  • Why do you optimize on being nice over being right?

  • How did Microsoft get involved with dbcli? mssql-cli

  • What’s been the reception for the projects?

  • What are your plans for upcoming releases of the various clients?

  • Which database engines are you planning to target next?

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The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA