Ted Leung on the air
Ted Leung on the air: Open Source, Java, Python, and ...
Tue, 06 Jan 2004
Presentations at a distance
Today at the Chandler staff meeting we were trying something new, little demos of what we've been working on. I was supposed to talk about the unit testing work that I've been doing on the Chandler repository. I attend the staff meeting via telephone, a disembodied voice to the rest of the group, although I would have flown down for today's meeting and a stopover at Macworld ;-). Today there was something wrong with the technology. I could hear what was going on, but nobody could hear me. Bad news for making a presentation. So when it came time for me to talk, and it became clear that the phones were busted, we yanked an IRC channel up onto the laptop being used for the demos and projected it. I then made my remarks via IRC. I've yet to go to one of those conferences where there's an IRC backchannel being displayed while someone is speaking, but I guess this is what happened next. It was weird to be typing and hearing audio reactions while it was happening. I guess if I had thought a little more clearly we could have fired up the iSights, but I don't know how loud the sound would have been. As the price of things like iSights comes down, I hope that we'll see more interesting applications of this technology to decentralized software development. Too bad Apple didn't announce the rumored multi person iChat AV today.

As far as the details of what I talked about: I've got tests for most of the repository API, there are a few areas that still need to be done. This should help us "keep the bar green" as we make additional changes to the repository, and will help us to find repository problems faster. Also, the tests are a decent set of examples for how to use the repository API's.

The other thing that I've been working on is a stress/performance test for the repository. Right now it consists of a bunch of RSS feed data that I downloaded onto disk and then jam into the repository. As a first cut it is interesting because it turned up some bugs. There's also a bit of work left to be done here to make real performance tests that yield commit throughput rates and so forth. We also need to do tests of different usage scenarios. But as of a few days ago, we can read about 700 RSS feeds (~20MB), containing almost 11000 RSS items and commit them into Chandler without falling over. I'm in the process of assembling a much larger set of RSS data - about 20000 feeds, that should get us closer to the state of the repository when someone has been archiving their RSS data.

[23:36] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
No snow days
There's lots of snow all over the ground, easily 5, possibly 6 inches, with more to come tonight. I haven't seen a snow like this since we left the East Coast almost 9 years ago. That's 2 snows inside of 2 weeks. The neighborhood kids were out of school, and playing around in the snow. It brought back fond memories of snow days when I was a kid.

The problem with working from home, and schooling your kids at home, is that there are no snow days...

[23:03] | [places/us/wa/bainbridge_island] | # | TB | F | G | 2 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Feed cleanup toolkit
Want to check whether your blog's feeds (or any other URL) are doing HTTP conditional get and gzip? Here are two tools (for now) that will help you do it.

To test out whether for conditional HTTP support, use Mark Nottingham's Cacheability Engine. Mark is likely to add gzip support to this, and when he does this will be a one stop solution. There are links to web versions of the Cacheability Engine that you can use without installing it, but there's also smackin' Python source code available as well. Don't leave the site without reading Mark's tutorial on making pages cacheable.

Until Mark adds gzip support to Cacheability, you can use this page to verify that your feed is compressed.

[22:59] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 1 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
We need help with conditional GET
With the goal of helping blog software produce feeds that support conditional http GET and Gzip, I present a sampling of RSS feed URL's which fail to produce 304's. They also happen not to Gzip. In the table below, I show a semi-randomly selected feed URL and the blogging software which I believe is being used. I generated this list by hand, using NetNewsWire's bandwidth statistics window as a guide. Next time around I'll probably end up writing a script. But I hope there won't be a next time...

http://blogs.gotdotnet.com/aconrad/BlogxBrowsing.asmx/GetRss?Gotdotnet blogs - BlogX
http://weblogs.asp.net/MainFeed.aspxWeblogs.asp.net - .Text
http://www.cincomsmalltalk.com/rssBlog/rssBlogView.xmlWhatever the Cincom blogs use

Jay at Makeoutcity http://www.makeoutcity.com/RSS/index.rss gets his own special category because his feed is *huge* (400kB a shot) and does neither 304 or Gzip, and I have no idea what blog software he is using.

If the JRoller/Roller and gotdotnet/weblogs.asp.net systems would support 304 and gzip, it would change my statistics dramatically, due to the number of feeds using those systems.

[01:31] | [computers/internet/weblogs] | # | TB | F | G | 15 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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