Items in Apr, 2007
I believe this tribe is, over time, growing farther away from the rest of the world. That’s happening for an interesting and important reason, which is that the tools we are building and using are accelerating our ability to build and use more of these tools.
Poll results: 50.4% of respondents maximise windows. Interesting graphs that break down browser window maximisation by operating system. # 17th April 2007, 4:22 pm
Most HTML templating languages are written incorrectly. “If you ever find yourself in the position of designing an html template language, please make the default behavior when including variables be to HTML-escape them.” I couldn’t agree more. # 15th April 2007, 8:28 pm
Fading Out Nofollows? Philipp Lenssen suggests automatically removing the nofollow from links in comments a few days after they have been posted, to allow administrators time to delete spam without penalising legitimate authors. # 15th April 2007, 8:27 pm
My “why move away from SGML?” reason is the way that every time I have to explain to someone that their Mozilla bug in invalid because HTML is actually an SGML application [...] I finish up by saying “if you want to see the actual spec that I’ve been told says that, you can buy a copy for 230 Swiss francs.”
In the big picture, Twitter did exactly the right thing. They had a good idea and they buckled down and focused on delivering something as cool as possible as fast as possible, and it’s really hard, in early 2007, to beat Rails for that. When all of a sudden there were a few tens of thousands of people using it, then they went to work on the scaling.
The promise [of J2EE] was that of infinite scalability based on tooling, which assumes that designing scalable systems is a general case problem. I now firmly believe that this is flawed reasoning. Frameworks don’t solve scalability problems, design solves scalability problems.
Rails and Scaling with Multiple Databases. Ryan Tomayko explains how his team spreads a high traffic Rails application across five separate PostgreSQL databases by giving each client their own schema—similar to how WordPress MU scales. # 14th April 2007, 2:32 am
Discourse DB. A collaborative effort to collect the opinions of the world’s journalists and commentators about ongoing political events and issues, powered by Semantic MediaWiki so there’s metadata coming out of its ears. # 12th April 2007, 4:38 pm
Quercus: PHP in Java (via) A “fast, open-source, 100% Java implementation of the PHP language”, built to run on top of Resin. Claims to be compatibly with MediaWiki, Drupal, Wordpress, Gallery2 and DocuWiki. # 12th April 2007, 4:25 pm
We declined to participate in the XHTML2 Working Group because we think XHTML2 is not an appropriate technology for the web.
None of these scaling approaches are as fun and easy as developing for Rails. All the convenience methods and syntactical sugar that makes Rails such a pleasure for coders ends up being absolutely punishing, performance-wise.
Last night’s Oxford Geek Night went really well, despite more than the usual flurry of problems. It’s definitely true that the more geeks there are in a room the less likely it is that the projector will work! Thankfully we got everything up and running in time for the talks to start, although it was a pretty close call.[... 595 words]