All entries for Thursday 27 April 2006

April 27, 2006

SOA integration with Flickr and

Writing about web page


Very Well Made. :–)

Catchup entry

So, long time no blog. Items of note:

- Sitebuilder2 gathers pace, now we’ve got the library, ITS, elearning and comms migrated, with a batch of faculty sites coming soon. Funky new auto-generated podcasts soon as well.

One of the coolest things from my point of view is how much more manageable the new version is than the old one. Case in point; re-deploys. Sitebuilder 1 has had about 50 new versions in it’s 3.5 years or so. Inspired by the flickr setup ( Sitebuilder 2 has had 120 deploys in the last 4 months. Moreover, whilst we’ve had to invoke the rollback procedure a few times, we’ve not had more than a minute or so of deploy-induced downtime. Which is nice, as they say.

- Sitebuilder1 rumbles on as ever. We’re serving about 1/2 a million (dynamic) page impressions a day at the moment, or about 3 million (dynamic + static) requests. Quite frankly I don’t understand why we get so many hits; obviously this ‘web’ malarkey is going to be big.

I’m re-discovering some of the more traditional unix tools, rather than writing everything from the ground up in java (which is nice, but time consuming). Particularly enamoured by squid caches at the moment, as an alternative to in-memory java caches that require a 2GB java heap (bleagh). My medium-term gaze is turning to things camel-shaped, specifically perlbal, Perl::Magick and Text::Textile. The only downside is that you end up actually having to write perl. I did fifty lines of so of log-file-parser* the other day and had to have a bath afterwards. {shudders}

  • doubtless someone more competent than me could have done it in 3 lines.

- On the server-side, we’re starting to consolidate* our almost-limitless fleet of crappy old sun boxes; we have about 30 of them and if you take out the top 5 then the combined processor power of the rest is roughly equivalent to my laptop. Solaris 10 with Zones is coming to the rescue; causing the sysadmins to shout with joy at not having to co-ordinate 30 patch schedules any more. It’s going to be a bugger of a downtime when we do patch the consolidated box though :-)

  • read: bin

- Paul and Nick and their ‘leet client-side coding skill means I’m finally getting an idea of what this ajax business is really all about. Ajaxing-up existing apps so that they lazy-load data on demand and/or merge data from different systems without tieing up a central co-ordinating server is most appealing from a performance management point of view. Ajax portals ahoy!

- On the desktop, Ubuntu Dapper is looking nicer with every passing update. Now that deskbar is in and working as a mostly-serviceable replacement for quicksilver, I’m giving serious thought about whether to find a new home for my Powermac and get an nice fast x86 Linux box instead. Eye candy is so over .

- In bike news: Hooray; it’s finally spring. Out with the waterproofs and on with the shorts for riding to work. Mudguards off next week. And I got a trip up to the borders at easter and rode Kirroughtree and Drumlanrig, both of which are ace, in a rocky-rooty-techfest sort of a way.

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