Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged scaling in 2012

Filters: Year: 2012 × scaling ×


What are good ways to develop software architectures using multiple languages?

There are a bunch of options for communicating between different languages, but these days the simplest is definitely JSON—it maps directly to common data structures in PHP, Python, Ruby and so on. Treat it as your common interchange format and you can’t go far wrong. It’s very easy to build simple internal web services on top of JSON.

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Did Mark Zuckerberg have any knowledge on building scalable social networks prior to starting work on Facebook?

I’m going to bet he didn’t have this knowledge, simply because back when he launched Facebook in 2004 almost NO ONE had this knowledge—there simply weren’t enough “web scale” products around for the patterns needed to run them to be widely discussed.

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Scalability: What is the best way to store and serve hundreds of GB of images for a heavy traffic website?

If you’re not going to use a service like S3, your best bet is to run something like MogileFS (which was designed by LiveJournal for handling images) and stick Varnish (a screamingly fast HTTP caching server) in front of it.

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How does Twitter select trending topics?

They use stream processing algorithms—they mention trending topics calculation in their technical blog entry about Storm, their open source stream processing software: http://engineering.twitter.com/2...

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How can I sort a huge amount of numbers?

Sorting large amounts of data is one of the first exercises you’ll see described in any Hadoop or map/reduce tutorial—so I’d suggest taking a look at Hadoop.

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What’s the best way to learn how to scale web applications?

Read “Building Scalable Websites” by Cal Henderson. It’s a few years old now but still very relevant—it basically covers everything he learnt the hard way scaling Flickr. It’s a really fun read, too.

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Can Scala gain wider usage than Java any time soon?

No, because Scala is harder to master than Java.

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Which is the best open source tool to populate my database with test data for my load test?

I’ve seen tools that do this, but to be honest it’s very simple to write your own script for this (especially if you’re using an ORM). The other benefit to writing your own script for this is that you’ll have a much better chance of accurately representing your expected data, sizes etc.

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