When I was hired at dealnews.com in 1998, my primary focus was to get our message board (Phorum) up to speed. I had written the first version as a side project for the site. Message boards were a lot simpler back then. Matt's WWWBoard was the gold standard of the time. And really, the functionality has been only evolutionary since. We added attachments to Phorum in 2003 or something. That was a major new feature. In Phorum 5 we added a module system that was awesome. But, that was just about the admin and not the user. From the user's perspective, message boards have not changed much since 1997. I saw this tweet from Amy Hoy and it got me to thinking about how message boards work. Here is the typical user [Read more...]
Amy Hoy has written a blog post about why forums are crap.
And she is right. Forum software does not always do a good job of
helping people communicate. I have worked with Amy. She did a great
analysis of dealnews.com that
led to our new design. So, she is not to be ignored.
However, as a software developer (Phorum), I see a lot of problems and
no answers. And it is not all on the software. Web site
owners use forums to solve problems that they really, really suck
at. Ideally, every web site would be very unique for their
audience. They would use a custom solution that fits a number
of patterns that best solves their problem. However, most web
site owners don't want to take the time to do such things.
They want a one stop, drop [Read more...]
Velocity is a new O'Reilly conference dedicated to "Optimizing Web Performance and Scalability". It starts next Monday. Yesterday I was contacted by Adam Jacobs of HJK Solutions about taking part in a panel discussion about what happens when success comes suddenly to a web site. I think he thought I was in the bay area. Little did he know I am in Alabama. But, amazingly, I was able to work it all out so I can be there. I wish I had known about this conference ahead of time. It sounds really awesome. Performance has always been something I focus on. I hope to share some and learn at the [Read more...]
MemProxy 0.1 is out! It has taken me a while, but I have finally gotten around to releasing the code that I credited with saving us during a Yahoo! mention. It is a caching proxy "server" that uses memcached for storing the cache. I put server in quotes because it is really just a PHP script that handles the caching and talking to the application servers. Apache and other HTTP servers already do a good job talking HTTP to a vast myriad of clients. I did not see any reason to reinvent the wheel. Here are some of the features that make it different from anything I could find:
Uses memcached for storage
Serves cache headers to clients based on TTL of cached data
So, we had a cron job hanging for hours. No idea why. So, I started debugging. It all came down to a call to in_array(). See, this job is importing data from a huge XML file into MySQL. After it is done, we want to compare the data we just added/updated to the data in the table so we can deactivate any data we did not update. We were using a mod_time field in mysql in the past. But, that proved to be an issue when we wanted to start skipping rows from the XML that were present but unchanged. Doing that saved a lot of MySQL writes and sped up the process.
So, anyhow, we have this huge array of ids accumulated during the import. So, an in clause with 2 million parts would suck. So, we suck back all the ids in the database that exist and stick that into an array. We then compared the two arrays by looping one array and using in_array() to check if the value [Read more...]
Well, it has been almost a month. I know I am late to the blogosphere on my thoughts. Just been busy.
Again this year, the Phorum team was invited to be a part of the DotOrg Pavilion. What is that? Basically they just give expo floor space to open source projects. It is cool. We had a great location this year. We were right next to the area where they served food and drinks during the breaks. We had lots of traffic and met some of our power users. IMVU.com is getting 1.5 million messages per month in their Phorum install. They did have to customize it to fit into their sharding. But, that is expected. A guy (didn't catch his name) from Innobase came by and told us that they just launced InnoDB support forums on their site using Phorum. Cool. So now MySQL [Read more...]
While I was at the MySQL Conference, I sat down with Michael Kimsal of WebDevRadio and recapped the two talks that I gave at the conference. I have uploaded the slides so you can follow along if you want.
I was reading a post about The Swag Report and realized that I stayed so busy at the Phorum booth (and a little at the memcached booth) and preparing for my talks, I did not bother to go around and collect any swag from the conference. So, if you are a vendor and want to mail me some swag that I missed, you can send it to: Brian Moon, 198 S. Hillcrest Rd., Odenville, AL 35120. Of course, I expect nothing. But, ya never know what product I might pimp because of a t-shirt. =)
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