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There is plenty of evidence in the ecosystem to support the hypothesis that, if given the tools to do so easily, object-oriented programmers are ready to embrace functional techniques (such as immutability) and work them into an object-oriented view of the world, and will write better, less error-prone code as a result. Simply put, we believe the best thing we can do for Java developers is to give them a gentle push towards a more functional style of programming.
How we use Redis at Bump. A couple of neat tricks I hadn’t seen before: using Redis to aggregate log files from multiple servers (they all push in to a Redis queue, then one process pulls from the queue and writes to disk), and using Redis blocking queues for RPC by specifying a different temporary queue to return the result. # 16th July 2011, 4:37 pm
We can deploy new versions of our software, make database schema changes, or even rotate our primary database server, all without failing to respond to a single request. We can accomplish this because we gave ourselves the ability suspend our traffic, which gives us a window of a few seconds to make some changes before letting the requests through. To make this happen, we built a custom HTTP server and application dispatching infrastructure around Python’s Tornado and Redis.
The New Heroku (Part 4 of 4): Erosion-resistance & Explicit Contracts. I really like Adam’s description of Software Erosion—I’ve seen that happen to my projects a bunch of times, and it really is an important problem to solve. # 29th June 2011, 5:26 pm
Visualizing WebKit’s hardware acceleration. Command line flags for launching Safari (and the iOS simulator) in a way that highlights areas of the screen that are being hardware accelerated—particularly useful if you are using the “-webkit-transform: translate3d(0,0,0)” trick. # 27th June 2011, 10:31 am
On HTTP Load Testing. Mark Nottingham explains that running good HTTP benchmarks means understanding available network bandwidth, using dedicated physical hardware, testing at progressively higher loads and a whole lot more. # 18th May 2011, 10:17 am
We Need to Stop Google’s Exploitation of Open Communities. Mikel Maron from OpenStreetMap is justifiably angry about Google MapMaker, which copies OpenStreetMap’s model of crowdsourcing geographic data (even copying the OSM idea of Mapping Parties) but keeps the data under a much more restrictive license, and uses the Google brand to market itself to African governments. # 22nd April 2011, 10 am
Why Facebook open-sourced its datacenters. Jon Stokes speculates that Facebook plan to use open source hardware to compete with Google at datacenter efficiency . This isn’t a new pattern. Years ago when I worked at Yahoo! I was furiously jealous of the secret sauce technologies that allowed Google to build big applications faster than anyone else, such as BigTable and map/reduce. Today, the open source world has created better, free alternatives—sponsored in part by Facebook, Yahoo! and other Google competitors. # 9th April 2011, 7:54 am
Qwery—The Tiny Selector Engine. A quarter of the size of Sizzle (1K gzipped and minified) due to only supporting ID, class and attribute selectors. Could be useful for things like embeddable widgets and badges, where depending on a larger library is impolite. # 2nd April 2011, 8:27 am
YC Is Not a School for Startups—It Is Marine Corp Boot Camp for Startup Founders. This is a great description of what it’s actually like to do YC. If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t blogged much over the past three months, this is why. # 20th March 2011, 5:27 pm
DNS Prefetching Implications. deviantart use a subdomain per user, which meant the DNS prefetching feature in Firefox and Chrome was costing them an extra 10 billion DNS queries per month. Disabling it with a meta tag saves them $1600/month in DNS service charges. # 9th March 2011, 10:54 pm
One interesting quirk of Pinboard is a complete absence of unit tests. I used to be a die-hard believer in testing, but in Pinboard tried a different approach, as an experiment. Instead of writng tests I try to be extremely careful in coding, and keep the code size small so I continue to understand it. Iâ€™ve found my defect rate to be pretty comparable to earlier projects that included extensive test suites and fixtures, but I am much more productive on Pinboard.
CSRF: Flash + 307 redirect = Game Over. Here’s the exploit that Django and Rails both just released fixes for. It’s actually a flaw in the Flash player. Flash isn’t meant to be able to make cross-domain HTTP requests with custom HTTP headers unless the crossdomain.xml file on the other domain allows them to, but it turns out a 307 redirect (like a 302, but allows POST data to be forwarded) confuses the Flash player in to not checking the crossdomain.xml on the host it is being redirect to. # 10th February 2011, 10:07 pm
URLs are supposed to represent resources. A web app can be a resource, and there are techniques for managing state within those. Hashbangs might be one of these. But when large web properties are converting all their links to _articles_ and other _bits of text_ (tweets/twits/whatever) into these monstrosities, it’s not innovation. It’s a huge mistake that ought to be regretted now and will certainly be regretted in the future.
Before events took this bad turn, the contract represented by a link was simple: “Here’s a string, send it off to a server and the server will figure out what it identifies and send you back a representation.” Now it’s along the lines of: “Here’s a string, save the hashbang, send the rest to the server, and rely on being able to run the code the server sends you to use the hashbang to generate the representation.” Do I need to explain why this is less robust and flexible? This is what we call “tight coupling” and I thought that anyone with a Computer Science degree ought to have been taught to avoid it.
elasticsearch: Percolator. Another fascinating elasticsearch feature: Percolator lets you register searches with your elasticsearch cluster, then pass in a document and have the matching query IDs returned. It’s an upside down search engine. I’m sure there are some very neat things you could build with this, I just haven’t figured out what they are just yet. # 8th February 2011, 11:16 pm
Erase and rewind. The BBC plan to delete 172 sites from the bbc.co.uk domain, including WW2 People’s War, described thus: “The BBC asked the public to contribute their memories of World War Two to a website between June 2003 and January 2006. This archive of 47,000 stories and 15,000 images is the result.” Appalling. # 7th February 2011, 4:24 pm
How we made an API for BoingBoing in an evening. Fluidinfo really is a fascinating piece of software. The team loaded in 11 years of BoingBoing content, allowing you to run structured queries against the data using their standard API, but also allowing users to attach their own information to the same corpus using Fluidinfo tags. Writable APIs are much less common than read-only APIs—Fluidinfo instantly provides both. # 28th January 2011, 10:56 pm
Get Lanyrd conference recommendations by email. This is the first time I’ve built a custom email subscription feature, and it’s been a very interesting ride. We’re trying to find the right balance between keeping people informed in a timely fashion with useful information while not overloading their inbox with too many messages. You can opt for daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly emails and we’ll try to ensure you only hear about events you haven’t seen before. # 28th January 2011, 11:28 am
37signals Product Blog: We’ll be retiring our support of OpenID on May 1. The support costs far outweighed the benefits to customers, especially now that 37signals have their own single sign in mechanism that works across all of their products. # 25th January 2011, 4:17 pm
Tip: Flickr standard photo response as slideshow. Neat trick—you can construct a URL to Flickr’s slideshow widget that includes the results of any API method, including the all-powerful flickr.photos.search. It’s a shame you can’t embed the resulting slideshow in an iframe. # 25th January 2011, 3:51 am
National politics of snoopiness vs corporate ethic of not being evil aren’t directly compatible, and the solution here only works because (let’s face it) Tunisia is not a rising economic force. If you’re selling ads in China, you don’t get to pretend that the Great Firewall of China is a security issue.
The Inside Story of How Facebook Responded to Tunisian Hacks (via) “By January 5, it was clear that an entire country’s worth of passwords were in the process of being stolen right in the midst of the greatest political upheaval in two decades.”—which is why you shouldn’t serve your login form over HTTP even though it POSTs over HTTPS. # 24th January 2011, 6:06 pm