Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Data clouds

Migrating MySQL from local servers to AWS RDS has its ups and downs…

Several of my clients, and a few of my own projects, have local instances of relational databases, usually MySQL (or MariaDB/Percona derivatives) and there is growing interest in moving these into the cloud. Amazon’s almost-drop-in replacement is the obvious candidate. You can find plenty of detailed information online about AWS RDS, typically addressing matters that concern large database installations. Maybe such matters sound more exciting than moving a small database that has probably been ticking away nicely on that small box in the corner for years. So what about the small scale cases? Most of my consultancy clients would be using single database instances with just a [click title to read more…]

npm Hell

A few years back I blogged about the RPM Hell (TreeTops, Jan 2012) that came about because of ineffective dependency checking. Needless to say, this reminded a lot of people about the infamous DLL Hell from many years prior. DLL and RPM dependency issues have generally been overcome with a variety of approaches and improvements in the tools and operating environments. Pushing functionality onto the Web or into the Cloud can help move the problem away from your local machine. After all, if the functionality is now just some JavaScript on a Web page then this shouldn’t be affected by whatever mess of libraries are installed on your local machine.

That worked for a while. Eventually the JavaScript workload grew [click title to read more…]

Sync or swim

The headline article in last month’s Communications of the ACM (“Attack of the Killer Microseconds”1) got me thinking. The article was drawing attention to the fact that computations are now happening so fast that we now must now even consider the time it takes data to move from one side of a server warehouse to the other at the speed of light. Multi-threading (a)synchronous programming methodologies need to be re-thought given that the overheads of supporting these methodologies are becoming more of a burden compared to the actual computation work being undertaken.

That is not what got me thinking.

What got me thinking was a point being made that despite our generally held belief that asynchronous models are better performers [click title to read more…]

Long, long, long paths

You may not be familiar with the MAX_PATH limitation in Windows, but if you are then you know how much of a nuisance it can be. Windows, unlike Unix, limits the full path of a file to 260 characters. People of a certain vintage who remember the 8.3 file name format will laugh at 260 characters being called a limitation but to Unix followers the notion of such a limit is crazy.

That 260 character limit is there, has been for a very long time, and is even present in the current incarnation: Windows 10.

Why is this a problem? Normally it is not and one can work away for years and not even be aware of it, but as [click title to read more…]

Stacking Up – part 2

In the first Stacking Up I looked at the bedrock of Internet/Web technology and showed that far from being stable it is more like flowing lava. Now I’m taking a quick journey through the frameworks that are layered on top of this lava, where naturally things are on fire.

Part 2 : Frameworks

First let me clarify what I mean by “framework”, as this is often a source of confusion. This definition is only in the context of Web-related technologies:

A framework is a set of generic software elements whose behaviour or characteristics are intended to be customized through extension, configuration and/or combination in order to assist the typical developer in the production of application-specific solutions. Through such customization, the [click title to read more…]