Scale your database

There is a very good ongoing series on O’Reilly Radar called Database War Stories. Or in other words, how various people with a lot of users and page views address their database scalabitity issues. It ranges from using no database at all and using flat files, to using a cluster of databases (with one master, and several slaves).
If you ever hope to see your application reach the stratosphere, it is worth a read. Scalability is something to keep in mind, but please, don’t over engineer your application from the get go. Focus on features and usability first, and make it more scalable when you need to. Knowing what it takes might help make your life easier when you get there.

The first 5 posts include stories about:

Of course the, database is only one dimension of scalability, but if you don’t get that one right, you might as well go home.

in News | 175 Words

Tracks: Getting things done

Yesterday, I came across a cool rails project: Tracks and it got me very excited. I spent 30 minutes to install it, and started entering some data. And the best part, I already completed 2 actions!
Tracks is a web based application to help you in Getting Things DONE: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, a very effective method by David Allen. David’s approach is based on a few simple tenets: chanelling all inputs to as few buckets as possible, figuring out what the next action is for each project, deciding what to do next based on energy level, time available and priority… David developed this method based on his years as a consultant and anyone can approach it and implement it effectively with a little discipline.
Using Tracks can help you Get Things DONE! I had been trying to use BaseCamp so far, but I like Tracks approach better. With basecamp, I can’t figure out easily what to do next. Tracks presents you all the actions to be done on all projects sorted by due date.
Don’t get me wrong, BaseCamp is a very nice tool and comparing the 2 is not really fair for either. I had been trying to use basecamp to do what Tracks is designed to do.

The project is still a bit rough and I didn’t see much installation instructions, and it could be I didn’t look hard enough. I got the source code from the project subversion, and after after a few attempts, here’s what I did on Kubuntu 5.10.

svn co –username=guest tracks-local/

password is “guest”

create a database (tracks)

Create environment.rb and database.yml from the templates provided:

cp environment.rb.tmpl environment.rb
cp database.yml.tmpl database.yml

Edit database.yml (set correct user, password if you used tracks). I did not need to modify environment.rb.

Create a log directory

mkdir log

Remove the updates from 2adduser_id.rb

#    execute “UPDATE ‘contexts’ SET ‘user_id’ = 1;”
#    execute “UPDATE ‘projects’ SET ‘user_id’ = 1;”
#    execute “UPDATE ‘todos’ SET ‘user_id’ = 1;”


rake migrate

check the path to ruby in script/server
And finally run:


Then first, create a user: http://localhost:3000/signup.
Then you can start using it: http://localhost:3000 cheat sheet

Try to say this 10 times fast ;)

Amy Hoy, of (24)slash7 has released a very useful Effects Cheat Sheet for If you are not already familiar with, it is a set of javascripts to help web2.0ify (I’m sure this is not a word (yet?), but I think you’ll get the meaning) your application with more AJAX, drag&drop and the like.

Thank you, Thomas for alerting us.

in News | 76 Words

Find out the page rank of the links on a page

See it with
Enter url

By the same token, I just found out that this page just got a page rank (5 if you must know). Not bad for being up just over a month. And I would think all thanks to [RubyCorner](] who has a 6. That was news to me. The time it took is one up against the Google Sandbox Myth I guess. I’m dismissing the possibility that I did everything just right.

in News | 82 Words

do you know your web 2.0?

I almost fell out out my chair when I read my score, and what it meant after taking the web 2.0 test courtesy of Chris Carfi. I got 27 out of you guess it, 43 things (full pun intended ;) ). This meant that I have been drinking “Too…much…kool-aid…” lately. Hmmmm… What’s your score?

The best one, though, for those lucky few that guessed the 43 right …

Thank you Paul of CharterStreet for the link.

in News | 72 Words

More stats options has the most details about individuals visits. I gives you a blow by blow account of what happened, where people came from (referrer, search keywords), the pages they visited, in the order they visited, and where they went when they left. Quite amazing.
They have a free option, but if you want more stats, it is going to cost you! If the free option is not enough, they have plans ranging from $9 to @29 per month.
Check out the killer Visitor path page.

The second one is going to keep us waiting for some more time. Thank you Mashable! for alerting us about Crazy Egg. Their big thing is going to be to superimpose directly on your page where people click, either as a plain stat, or has a heatmap! Looks really cool. Remains to see whether this is going to be as useful as hyped. We’ll just wait patiently.

In the meantime, I’m going to give statcounter a test drive.

in News | 165 Words

Web 2.0 getting overdone?

Oh boy! And I thought I was on top of that web 2.0 thingy. Then I just found out about the list Bob Stumpel put together, courtesy of Christian Mayaud.

Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do to stay on top of it.

It may seem that everything under the sun if being worked on by 10 or more companies in each category, but there are still a few niches that haven’t caught up to the craze yet. Just requires a bit more creativity, and maybe the niches are smaller, or people are just taking their sweet time.

I happen to be working on some of these ideas, but I’m not ready to talk about it just yet.

in News | 121 Words