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OSCON Day4: WebSockets

The first talk of the day I attended at Day 4 of OSCON was from Sean Sullivan (Aravo), who gave a talk on “Programming WebSockets“.


WebSockets is a technology that enables bidirectional communication between web browsers and server side processes. It provides a persistent connection between client & Server, hence enabling ‘push’ abilities where you can push data/notification to browsers from the client. Other client communication options to compare it with would be Ajax
and Comet (basically Ajax with long polling).

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OSCON Day3: Database Scalability

I spent the afternoon of Day3 at OSCON attending two interesting database scalability talks. The first was on Database Scalability Patterns; The second on Database Sharding (and Spider for MySQL).

All my notes are below…

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OSCON Day3 – Google App Engine

I have seen several talks on Google App Engine before, but have still not used it in anger, so this talk, Introduction to Google App Engine, acted as a refresher. It was given by Ikai Lan, a software engineer working for the Developer Programs groups at Google.

Google App Engine is a way to run your applications on Google infrastructure. You push your code to App Engine and it gets scaled out depending on how many instances you need.

My notes from the talk are below, but you can find the full slides here or here.

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OSCON Day3 – The Joys of Engineering Leadership

The first talk of Day 3 at OSCON was “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The Joys of Engineering Leadership” by Brian ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussman, both from Google.

What is an engineering leader?

  • Serves the team
  • Eliminates roadblocks
  • Provides advice, guidance and helps get job done
  • Mutual respect/Mutual trust
  • Promotes technical and social health
  • Leadership is not a waste of time…
  • Being a team leader is a way of scaling yourself

The speakers broke their talk on how to be a good leader down in to two sections, which were (in good coding tradition) patterns and anti-patterns…

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OSCON Day1: The Productive Programmer, part 2

The following are my notes from the second part of Neal Ford‘s “The Productive Programmer” talk on best practices (see here for part1 on mechanics). Again, you can get the original slides form here.

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OSCON Day1: The Productive Programmer

I spent the afternoon of day 1 at OSCON listen to Neal Ford give his “The Productive Programmer” talk and I have to say I loved it. I have heard Neal talk before and he is an excellent speaker: clear, funny, interesting and knowledgeable.

The talk was in 2 parts: Mechanics and Practice.
Below are my notes from the first part of the talk (see here for part2), but you can also get the original slides form here. The talk is based on his book of the same name, The Productive Programmer. Which is similar in theme but not to be confused with the “The Pragmatic Programmer” book.

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OSCON Day1: Test Driven Database Development

The first tutorial at OSCON was on Test Driven Database Development. The idea was to use pgTAP to write unit tests to check database correctness, including table structures, views and stored procedures. As a fan of Test Driven Development (TDD) for regular code, the concept of using it on the database tier makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately I had a lot of problems getting the required software setup working, which included PostgreSQL, pgTAP, Test::Harness, make and perl. Ultimately I wasn’t able to get the examples running due to imcompatabilities between PostgreSQL and pgTAP on my Macbook Pro (OS X 10.5.8) and ended with this error:

dyld: Library not loaded: /usr/local/lib/libxml2.2.dylib
Referenced from: /Library/PostgreSQL/8.4/lib/postgresql/pgxs/src/makefiles/../../src/test/regress/pg_regress
Reason: Incompatible library version: pg_regress requires version 10.0.0 or later, but libxml2.2.dylib provides version 9.0.0

I considered trying to upgrade libxml, but there were suggestions that this could cause my machine to not boot! I even considered upgrading to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), but decided that this was a little too close to shaving yaks.

I would really like to get more familiar with pgTAP at some point, but I will have to put on hold for now…

Update: I managed to get some input from David Wheeler, worked through the technical issues and got all the tests running. Thanks David! Despite the earlier setup problems, I came away with a very positive feeling about TDDD and pgTAP and can see it playing a part in any future database schema development I do.

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