Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged webdevelopment in Aug

Filters: Month: Aug × webdevelopment ×


What’s the cheapest or free stack solution to deploy and experiment with a realtime application in 2016?

Heroku have a good free tier, and comprehensive support for deploying both Python and Node.js. If you are mainly interested in realtime I would suggest starting out with Node.js on Heroku. Depending on the complexity of your project you might even be able to use raw Node.js without adding something like Express.

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How long should I budget for an experienced designer to design a responsive ecommerce store?

There’s no single answer to this—it depends on the scope of the project. A one-page store selling 3 items is quicker to design than a thousand page store with dozens of category homepages etc.

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How are you gonna solve when the user has a gender issue?

Don’t ask for gender at all, or if you do make the field optional or provide a text field that the user can put anything they like in.

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Can I pitch my app idea to google?

You could pitch it to Google Ventures, but you’ll need a lot more than just the idea.

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Are there any alternatives to CGI for web servers?

Yes. CGI stopped being relevant around the turn if the century! Many languages can be embedded in web servers now (mod_php, mod_python, mod_perl for Apache etc), there’s the FastCGI protocol which allows web servers to communicate with external processes without needing to start a brand new process for every request, and it’s also common these days to run an HTTP server written in the same language as your application and proxy requests to it—Unicorn, gunicorn, Jetty are all examples of this.

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What are the different ways in which web sites can be developed?

There are a few languages that provide an alternative syntax that compiles to HTML (Haml is quite a popular one) but generally you need to have a very good understanding of HTML in order to do any web development at all, no matter what server-side technology you use. Likewise for CSS—Sass and LESS provide alternative syntax that compiles to CSS, but they are no replacement for understanding how CSS actually works.

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Why aren’t there any popular web frameworks in C/C++ even though they are more performance intensive languages?

Because it’s very hard writing secure code in them due to the way they handle memory management, and web applications have an enormous number of potential paths for malicious input. It’s much easier to write secure web application code in a higher level language (which isn’t to say it’s easy at all even then).

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What is the difference between Windows and Linux for web hosting, in other words, what are the pros and cons of each, each’s limitations, performance development environment and deployment between Windows and Linux?

Any and every operation you perform on a Linux server can be trivially automated by copying the commands you ran in to a text file. I haven’t managed a Windows server in years and I hear PowerShell is pretty great these days but an OS based around a GUI is always going to be harder to automate than one based around a command line.

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Can you use dropbox to host a wordpress site?

No. Running WordPress requires a web host that supports PHP. Dropbox only supports static content.

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Why weren’t the features of Sass originally built into CSS?

This is not a straight-forward issue: CSS has a very long, complicated history. A good starting point for understanding the reluctance of the CSS working group to add variables/constants etc to CSS is this essay by Bert Bos of the W3C (entitled Why “variables” in CSS are harmful) http://www.w3.org/People/Bos/CSS...

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How can a web developer keep up with new technology?

Keep an eye on Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/

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Why do tech companies provide MacBooks for software development?

Smart tech companies give their engineers the laptops that they ask for. Engineers are EXPENSIVE, and anything you can do to increase their productivity is worth the money. If they prefer to work on a Mac, buy them a Mac.

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What is the largest production deployment of Server Side JavaScript?

I believe Flickr used to use Rhino for scripting the image processing (resizing, thumbnailing, sharpening) that was applied to every single uploaded photo. No idea if that’s still the case though.

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How do Solr, Lucene, Sphinx and Searchify compare?

Lucene is a Java library for creating and searching through a full text index. If you want to make use of it, you’ll need to write your own Java code that integrates with it.

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What is the best way to learn about setting up server software for Python based web apps?

I’m a big fan of Fabric for automated deployment scripts. Start by reading this tutorial: http://morethanseven.net/2009/07...

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In what circumstances should one use “magic quotes” in PHP?

Absolutely never. Magic quotes was a badly designed feature, and PHP has been trying to escape its legacy for years. If you are constructing SQL strings using string concatenation you’re asking for trouble—use prepared statements or a library that interpolates and correctly escapes variables for you.

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