May 10

Redis tutorial

Simon Willison has published published the slides from his Redis workshop at the recent NoSQL EU conference. They’re pretty comprehensive, and delve beneath the usual “here’s what redis does” into a little more “here’s what you might do with redis”.

(the conference was excellent and I’m sorry I’ve not had a chance to write about it here, but I had to dash straight from attending to implementing a rush job using one of the NoSQL projects covered)

Feb 10

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 Baraúna has written up a tutorial on monitoring delayed_job using it.

Jan 10

Friday Links – January 8th 2010

It’s time for me to take another stab at occasional link blogging. While I really appreciate those who blog individual links, I seem to keep coming back to ways of packaging links. Here’s a first installment for 2010:

Last month may have been the time for advent calendars—with Drew’s 24ways yet again containing many excellent articles that have me very excited about HTML5—but the jQuery team have decided to follow a similar model in the run up to the release of version 1.4. jQuery14.com kicks off on January 14th, but already has details of their new API website based on the contents of the jQuery Reference Guide.

The folks (downstairs from our new office) at the Really Interesting Group have been keeping busy. Not only can you now see the price list for Newspaper Club (want to make a newspaper like we did at Greenbelt? Newspaper Club should be your first port of call) but you can also read about the fun they had exposing data in Christmas presents. On the newspaper front, I found the idea of the Nashville Retrospect fascinating – it’s a free monthly newspaper devoted to Nashville nostalgia and history.

There’s all sorts of excitement around key-value store Redis. Simon Willison pointed out that the addition of BLPOP and BRPOP support over Christmas means you can use it to drive a queue server without polling. Ezra Zygmuntowicz has been working on an Actor library for ruby based on it. And there’s lots more. It’s good to see that the NoSQL/LessSQL movement is developing beyond simply replacing relational databases and opening up new possibilities and techniques.

For those of us who work with drupal, Project Verity could be quite a boon. Mark Boulton and Leisa Reichelt quite rightly point out that If you’re a company that takes pride in good design and user experience, handing over a Drupal backend can be a bit embarrassing and difficult to reconcile with your company philosophy. Project Verity is their response and while I’ve not actually seen it, I suspect those two are likely to be onto something. It certainly would be nice to be able to deliver a drupal site with a friendly face for admins. I’ve not really been tracking drupal 7 development, and hopefully it’ll reduce the need for such projects. If not, I imagine a port won’t take long to surface.

Given that I’ve been playing around with a Palm Pre and WebOS lately I’m delighted to see Palm using github. There’s a fair range of sample code that comes with the SDK, but this looks likely to be more comprehensive and it’ll be fascinating to see what develops as people begin to fork the code, throw in comments, etc.