Simon Willison’s Weblog

Items tagged webdevelopment, quora in 2010

Filters: Year: 2010 × webdevelopment × quora ×

Is there any quantified proof that .NET or others Microsoft technologies are not good for web startups?

How can you “prove” such a thing? You can disprove the statement that “.NET is no good for web startups” by pointing to examples such as Stack Overflow.

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How long would it take an average programmer to do a Ruby on Rails Reddit clone prototype?

Just FYI, Reddit is an open source Python project:

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How should you set up a staging server?

Start by reading this:

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Why do browsers allow cross-domain JavaScript to execute but not XMLHttpRequests?

It’s called the Same Origin Policy, and it’s principally about intranets. Imagine you have a URL http://intranet.corp/top-secret-...—and you then visit . If cross domain XHR was allowed the evil site could suck that secret document off your intranet without you realising.

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What are some scalable OAuth and OpenID server implementations?

Any OAuth library should scale horizontally—I can’t see how any one library would be a better choice than another.

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What are the tradeoffs (e.g. development speed, performance, scalability) between using various php frameworks, ruby/rails, or python/django?  Is there any reason to choose one overwhelmingly over another?

At this point, I’d argue that the decision between them comes down to programming language rather than framework—the frameworks have mostly converged on a very similar set of features.

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How do you work with front-end developers?

Build them a virtual machine image using VMware or similar that includes ALL of the server stack that they need, pre-installed—then give them detailed written instructions on how to run it and pull the latest versions of the codebase.

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If I have data that loads using  json / JavaScript will it get indexed by Google?

No. Personally I dislike sites with content that is only accessible through JavaScript, but if you absolutely insist on doing this you should look in to implementing the Google Ajax Crawling mechanism:

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What are people’s experiences using Memcached?

That it’s so obviously a good idea (and works so well) that you’d be crazy not to use it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s part of the default stack for any web application.

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What is the best Mac OS X text editor for a web developer? And what makes it great?

It’s still TextMate for me. It gets the basics right—syntax highlighting, sensible indentation, a good project pane (I use “mate ~/Development/my-project” at the terminal to open TextMate with my entire folder hierarchy), solid extensions and good unix integration (Filter selection through command).

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What is the best way to maintain a API wrapper class across multiple languages?

1. Use JSON for your API. That takes away a lot of the necessity for an API wrapper, since it means you’re automatically returning native data types (hashes, lists, strings etc) for most programming languages.

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Why do some websites implement their logout link as a form post via JavaScript versus a plain old GET request?

Probably because if you implement logout as a GET action, I can force you to log out of a site by tricking you in to visiting a page with an <img src="" width="1" height="1"> element on it.

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Why is software effort estimation still based on thumb rules and gut feels? How come no one has come up with an accurate estimation model?

For a truly accurate estimation, you need to have built the software before. If you’ve built it before, why are you building it again?

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What companies are using Node.js in production in Texas?

There’s a list on this page:

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How much does it cost to develop a website like Yelp or Groupon?

You’re probably asking the wrong question. The initial build phase of a site like Yelp (the bit before launch) is just the start of the process—once the site has launched, it will certainly need to evolve based on how the site’s users are using it. You can’t just pay a bunch of developers to build it and then launch it without expecting to keep working on it.

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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:

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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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