About a week ago a large chunk of the Web vanished for a few hours as Fastly experienced a major outage in their Web cache service. Popular sites like Reddit, the BBC, Amazon and much of the UK government online services suddenly presented blank pages. There was much finger-pointing for days afterwards, then Cloudflare goes down last Friday (more fingers pointing) and today with many of those fingers finally holstered we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of an Akamai outage. Fingers out and reloading!
The thing about these services is that they are mainly caches: intermediary services that optimise the delivery of content from the origin sites. Unfortunately, when they go down, the origin sites do not just go [click title to read more…]
Nevertheless, I have observed that many major sites are flouting the law by not making the consent process clear, by using opt-out instead of opt-in, and by [click title to read more…]
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…]
Having been in the network/software business for a long time, it is tempting to assume that certain familiar technologies are essentially stable and don’t need so much as a second glance. Of course, thinking that something is stable is probably the first warning sign. I’m reminded of how character sets had stabilized (mainly US-ASCII) by the mid-80s only to have the boat rocked by this new upstart of the late 80s known as Unicode. Today, ASCII, ANSI and its variants are mere throwbacks.
With this in mind, I cast an eye over the technology stack that has been the mainstay of the Internet and Web for many years to see if there are some new upstarts [click title to read more…]