Web Development

Multitenant Sites

For some time now, there has been tremendous growth in the world of Web applications. It's quite amazing to see what you can do just via a Web browser—not only can you buy just about anything, but also a growing number of sites offer "software as a service", often abbreviated as SaaS. The idea is that in exchange for a monthly service fee, you get access to a service.

PostgreSQL, the NoSQL Database

One of the most interesting trends in the computer world during the past few years has been the rapid growth of NoSQL databases. The term may be accurate, in that NoSQL databases don't use SQL in order to store and retrieve data, but that's about where the commonalities end. NoSQL databases range from key-value stores to columnar databases to document databases to graph databases.

Discourse

Back when I started to use the Internet in 1988, there was a simple way to get answers to your technical questions. You would go onto "Netnews", also known as Usenet, and you would post your question to one of the forums. There were forums, or "newsgroups", on nearly every possible topic, from programming languages to religions to humor.

Vagrant

How many times you have been hit by unit tests failing because of environment differences between you and other team members? How easy is it to build your project and have it ready for development? Vagrant provides a method for creating repeatable development environments across a range of operating systems for solving these problems.

Geolocation

There's an old saying in the real-estate business that the three most important things in a property are location, location and location. We can assume this is still true when it comes to real estate, but it also is increasingly true when it comes to Web applications.

TogetherJS

Want to add real-time collaboration to your Web application? Mozilla's TogetherJS is worth a look.

Siege Your Servers!

Setting up Web servers is fairly simple. In fact, it's so simple that once the server is set up, we often don't think about it anymore. It wasn't until I had a very large Web site rollout fail miserably that I started to research a method for load-testing servers before releasing a Web site to production.

Debugging Web Sites

I know, I'm in the middle of a series of columns about how to work with ImageMagick on the command line, but when other things arise, well, I imagine that a lot of you are somehow involved in the management of servers or systems, so you all understand firefighting.

Split Testing

It's nice to have many people visit your Web site. It's even better when people don't just come to your site, but also enjoy your content. But, best of all is when visitors to your site do what you would like them to do—sign up for your newsletter, register for your SaaS application or buy one of your products.

A Shining Ruby in Production Environments

Even the most beautiful Rails application can lose its elegance if not deployed correctly. Like other Ruby frameworks or languages, such as Sinatra, Rails is based on the Rack interface. This article provides a basic introduction to Rack hosting and Rack-based application deployments.

Cloud Computing Basics—Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Generally, good programming is considered to be the measured application of an art form, craft or discipline, with the objective of producing a competent and evolving business solution. In traditional environments, computer programming is a practice that has multiple phases, such as designing, developing, testing, debugging and maintaining application code.

Simple Ways to Add Security to Web Development

As a software developer myself, I have seen developers rushing to finish the feature they are assigned to, with little or no consideration for security in the code—no security guidelines, no coding standards, just a mad dash to finish the feature. Next comes the security review, in which the software obviously fails, and then comes the security-hardening phase.

Web Administration Scripts—Redux

It's been months, and I'm still dealing with a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack on my server—an attack that I can see is coming from China, but there's not really much I can do about it other than try to tweak firewall settings and so on.

Rails and PostgreSQL

Regular readers of this column won't be surprised to hear that I love both Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL. Rails has been my primary server-side Web development framework for about eight years, and it has managed to provide solutions for a large number of consulting and personal projects.

2013 Book Roundup

I'm always amazed to hear about the death of the publishing industry. True, books and (gulp) magazines are often fighting for their lives, and the state of journalism is in tatters.