Simon Willison’s Weblog


Saturday, 14th January 2012

Play Framework, Django or Rails? Which one do you recommend for  Social Networking Web applications.

Both Rails and Django have been used for a large number of high profile social networking web applications. Off the top of my head, Django is used by Instagram and Pinterest, Rails is used by Posterous and Ravelry. I don’t know what the largest sites built using Play are at the moment.

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Why doesn’t Google Chrome use the Google Search Engine spellchecker?

Because the Google search spellchecker runs in their data centers, while the Chrome spellchecker runs on your local machine. Sending everything you type in to your browser to Google’s servers just to check spelling would be an unnecessary privacy violation, especially since local spell checking does a good-enough job.

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If you were to build homeaway or vrbo from scratch, which software would you use?

HomeAway and VRBO are user-submitted content marketplaces, not traditional content management systems—using a CMS such as Drupal or Joomla would in my opinion be a mistake, as you’ll find yourself spending most of your time writing custom code. The benefits of a CMS will mostly be irrelevant for this application, and you’ll spend a bunch of time coding around their limitations and disabling default functionality that doesn’t fit your purposes.

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What are optimal workflows for deploying one’s web application?

The absolute first step is to automate your deployments. It’s absolutely crucial that deploying the site is a single command. I’ve found Fabric (an automation tool written in Python) works extremely well for this—Capistrano is a popular alternative that uses Ruby instead.

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What is the difference between XHTML 1.0 strict and transitional?

Not a lot. XHTML transitional lets you use a few presentational attributes and elements that aren’t available in XHTML strict. Here’s a more detailed overview from back in 2005:

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2012 » January