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Vision and philosophy

Project values #

Trino is used for critical decisions, such as financial analytics for public markets, and results must always be correct.
Trino is a gateway to sensitive information, and must protect that information.
Long term
We expect that Trino will be used for at least the next 20 years. We build for the long term.
These can be formal standards like ANSI SQL, JDBC or ODBC, or implicit conventions of industry standard databases. This makes it easier for users and integrators, because their existing skills transfer.
Just works
Simple to get started. Trino should just work out of the box and provide good performance with minimal setup. Trino is a large complex system, so simplification makes everything better.
Everything that ships with Trino is supported. This means that features that cannot be tested and supported are not added. For example, PowerPC support was only added when test hardware became available.
Real world uses
Trino is designed and tuned for real world workloads over synthetic benchmarks.
Commercially viable
We encourage enterprises to use Trino for their analytics needs, and we encourage vendors to base products on Trino. We appreciate contributions back, but do not require them.

What Trino is, and is not #

A server
Trino is a standalone server, and only provides libraries, such as a JDBC driver and a Python client, for external applications to connect to Trino. The internal details such as the parser, planner, analyzer, optimizer, etc., are not public APIs, and are not supported as libraries.
For analytics
Trino is designed to perform queries over large segments of data, and is not designed for point reads and updates of single rows of data (i.e. OLAP not OLTP).
Big analytics
Trino is designed to process large, resource-intensive queries. This includes traditional long-running batch workloads, but also includes workloads that must be done quickly or with limited resources.
Distributed system
Trino is designed for computations across many networked computers. It is not designed for single computer installations. If your analytics can be executed on a single computer, there are many other excellent solutions available.
Trino performs authentication and authorization of requests, and therefore is assumed to be a trusted environment.

Development philosophy #

Opinionated software
There are many ways to develop software; this is the way that works for this specific project.
Guidelines, not rules
We believe in having good programmers, who make high quality, thoughtful, decisions, not those that just follow rules, because rules need to be broken from time to time.
Our code is written for the readability of the next person. This takes longer, but eases maintenance and improvements over the long term.
High quality
We have a high bar for changes, and carefully review each proposed change. The change process is optimized to reduce the burden on end-users, admins, and future maintainers, and not the productivity of the developer proposing the change.
System-wide changes are carefully considered. End user visible changes such as functions, language changes, connectors, etc., are carefully selected to provide a consistent user experience over the long term. Library dependencies are carefully chosen based on quality, reliability, and impact on other dependencies. System-wide abstractions are carefully designed to ease the development of the entire system. Expect any change of this type to be discussed and considered at length.
Java software
Trino is written in Java, and takes advantage of modern Java features. Standard Java build tools, libraries, and development environments are used to ease the on-boarding of developers.
Complexity balance
There is a careful balance between the value a feature provides and the complexity introduced to the system. Similarly, the complexity of performance improvements must be justified by the real world impact. From the opposite side, real word requirements often necessitate complexity.
Multiple use cases
Trino is designed for a variety of use cases. There are installations that exclusively run multi-hour batch jobs, and others that run sub-second queries. Some installations must be able to share resources between interactive low latency queries and long-running background queries. Features cannot break one use case to improve another case; all cases must be well-supported in one codebase.
Adaptation over configuration
As a complex multi-tenant query engine that executes arbitrary user defined computation, Trino must be adaptive not only to different query characteristics, but also combinations of characteristics. Without adaptiveness, it would be necessary to narrowly partition workloads and tune configuration for each workload independently. That approach does not scale to the wide variety of query shapes seen in the real world.
Trino was created over 10 years ago, and its co-creators are still active in its development, serving as project leaders. They steer technical decision-making with the best interests of the project in mind.