Weekend Links

A few bits and pieces that have crossed my browser in the past couple of weeks (though mostly sifted through yesterday).

The NoSQL (or LessSQL) movement has garnered a lot of attention over the past few months, but numerous people have pointed out that MySQL can be adapted to cover many of the most common use-cases. Flickr’s Kellan kicked off a series of posts on that topic with Using, Abusing and Scaling MySQL at Flickr and Richard Crowley responded with OpenDNS MySQL abuses. On the other side of the coin, Luke Melia has a write-up of how he uses Redis to build a “who’s online now list” and Sean Cribbs’ (fairly convincing) Why Riak should power your next Rails app is worth a read even if you’re not a ruby developer.

It’s good to see that the twitter engineering team have started blogging. They’ve also extracted and released the code they use to extract key terms from tweets (links, @replies, etc).

Thanks to Ajaxian I spotted Plupload – “a generic component that allows you to create a rich upload experience on the back of a variety of transports. Whether it be HTML5, Gears, Silverlight, Flash, BrowserPlus or normal forms, you can get an upload experience with drag and drop, progress, client side image resizing and chunking.” The file upload experience is one clients are constantly asking me to improve, so this could come in very handy.

There was a flurry of posts this week about whether web designers need to know HTML, with a number of good contributions. Elliot Jay Stocks kicked things off and I principally noted contributions from Mark Boulton and Rachel Andrew. It seems that the key is that designers need to understand the capabilities and constraints of the medium, and having a basic grasp of HTML and CSS is a quick route towards that, though as Mark points out there are plenty of others.

From Mobile World Congress comes a projection that “cell phone subscriptions [are] to hit 5 billion globally” this year, and 1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. Another MWC announcement Vodafone’s launch of the “world’s cheapest phone” puzzled me. At $15 it’s $5 more than the phone I bought during our last trip to the US.

I use god on a number of servers to monitor the various moving parts of my apps. For the most part it does a good job and recent patches that squash a memory leak have been very helpful, but it sounds as if Bluepill might be worth a look as a possible alternative. Hugo Bara├║na has written up a tutorial on monitoring delayed_job using it.

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