Simon Willison’s Weblog


Saturday, 4th February 2012

NoSQL: On a shared server, what are the alternatives to using SQL?

You could probably run Redis on a shared server—it doesn’t need to be installed as root, but it does require a process to run all the time which shared hosts may not allow.

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If python dictionaries are inherently orderless, why were they given the name if a real dictionary is sorted by letter?

The metaphor here is that paper dictionaries make it easy to look stuff up by letter or word—just like Python dictionaries make looking something up by key an instant operation.

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How can I parse unquoted JSON with JavaScript?

Unquoted JSON isn’t JSON—the JSON spec requires that strings are quoted (with double quotes, not single quotes).

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Was CoffeeScript invented to help Ruby programmers get over that dirty yucky feeling they get when working in JavaScript?

The original Prototype JS library might fit that description—more than CoffeeScript, at any rate.

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How long until Ruby developers are as cheap as PHP developers? is it already happening? should I still learn it or it only has a couple years left and I’m better off with SSJS?

If you want to be a highly paid engineer, you should worry less about your expertise in a specific language and more about developing broad and deep skills across a wider range of development topics.

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What are the best SXSW blogs?

My co-founder has put together a very useful Twitter list of SXSW blogs and twitterers:

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What are the best practices to avoid XSS and SQL Injections attacks (platform agnostic)?

Input validation is, in my opinion, a red herring. Sure—if you ask the user for an integer or date you should make sure they entered one before attempting to save it anywhere or use it for processing, but injection attacks often involve text fields (e.g. names, or comments posted on Quora) and validating those on input is a recipe for banning “Tim O’Reilly” from ever creating a proper profile on your site!

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How can I install Django in a server without shell access?

I don’t think you can.

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Why does Google use “Allow” in robots.txt, when the standard seems to be “Disallow?”

The Disallow command prevents search engines from crawling your site.

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2012 » February