Peter Hearty is the mastermind behind Instant DB.
Since its launch in July 1997, InstantDB has been adopted by thousands of Internet and database developers around the world. InstantDB was recently purchased by Lutris Technologies, an Open Source Enterprise Software and Services company. Lutris is committed to introducing InstantDB to the Open Source community, and believes the inclusion of the high quality InstantDB will add great benefit to Enhydra, the leading Open Source Java/XML application server.
A Short History of InstantDB By Peter Hearty
It all started four years ago, when I decided to start doing some contract programming. I hadn't done any serious programming for years, and my skills were a bit out of date. I didn't have anything to show to prospective clients, but, as I was building, I determined to program using things I found to be fun (programmers like me have a very strange idea of what constitutes fun). I spent some time with Visual Basic and quickly tired of it. But once I discovered Java, I was hooked. It's a very simple language - simple enough for most to understand, including me!
I set out to write a Java newsreader and started looking
for suitable components, including a Java relational database. I
was quite surprised to find that there was little available. There were
some admirable efforts from a team at the NCSA, which had started an Open
Source database called Decibel, but they ran out of steam. There were
also some simple SQL parsers that used a variety of backends such as text-based
files, but nothing looked like a real scalable database.
In 1997, I assumed that InstantDB would be of interest only
to people like me who were learning Java and needed a simple database
with which to play. However, it quickly became apparent that an all-Java
database also held commercial potential. A large, untapped market of startup
companies needed a small, low-cost database to distribute with their products.
Some companies need to be able not only to ship their products shrink-wrapped,
but to run demo systems out of the box.
I was also keen to see InstantDB used widely outside of the commercial arena, so I decided to make it freely available to non-profit organizations and individuals. These now make up the largest number of InstantDB users. Without the many helpful suggestions and bug reports from hundreds of different freeware users, InstantDB could never have reached the stage that it is at today. I owe this group a considerable debt of gratitude.
By mid-1999, it became apparent that InstantDB was out-growing my one-man business. I considered two options: either expand the company or make InstantDB Open Source.
Lutris Technologies, Inc. came along at just the right time. Lutris' proven expertise in managing Open Source Java projects--together with the companies need for a Java database--was to me a match made in heaven. Lutris and I quickly agreed that we would make InstantDB Open Source. I was to become an employee of Lutris and help maintain and enhance InstantDB. That brings us to today, and the exciting launch of this new InstantDB Website!
My philosophy: Keep it simple and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Here's to the exciting future of Instant DB!