Entries posted in January 2013

Shame there isn't more competition for self-hosted analytics

Friday, 25 January 2013

Today I've been mostly replanting spider-plants, aloe-vera plants, and shuffling trees around inside my flat.

Beyond that I've been updating my trivial dashboard skeleton, which was put together as part of this simple introduction article. (So there is a standalone redis&sinatra-using visualization server)

After working on the display I was suddenly reminded that I run a cluster now. That means I have four servers each writing a local Apache logfile, and no central way of viewing all my visitor-data.

There are several open source analytic packages such as piwik and openwebanalytics - but they require MySQL & PHP at the back-end.

Given that node.js is "teh new shiny" it is a surprise there isn't something out there using that, and web sockets perhaps, to collect visitor data.

I found a few toy projects, but nothing that seemed to be a clear winner. Adding some javascript to webpages to submit:

  • Browser version
  • Referer
  • Screen Size.
  • window.location
  • etc

Is trivial. The hard part is storing that and visualizing it in a neat way. Making data pretty is something I'm notoriously bad at - unless it is turning numbers into graphs using a good library I'm out of luck most of the time.

Anyway I will keep digging. Ideally I'll have a scalable node service that'll receive submissions, bung them in redis, and then show real-time activity in a sexy fashion. I can dream?

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Something, something, dark side.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

I want to like LDAP. Every so often I do interesting things with it, and I start to think I like it, then some software that claims to support LDAP fails to do so properly and I remember I hate it again.

I guess the problem with LDAP is that most people are scared by it, unless you reach a certain level of scale you don't need it. That makes installing it out of the blue a scary prospect, and that means that lots of toy-software applications don't even consider using it until they're mature and large.

When you bolt-on support for LDAP to an existing project you have to make compromises; do you create local entries in your system for these scary-remote-LDAP-users? Do you map group members from LDAP into your own group system? ANd so on.

To be fair to the application developers if the requirements for installation were "Install LDAP" they'd probably have a damn smaller userbase, and so we cannot blame OpenLDAP, or the other servers.

All the same it is a shame.

The very next piece of software I ever write that needs to handle logins will use LDAP and only LDAP. How hard can it be?

In happier news I re-deployed http://www.debian-administration.org/ over the weekend. It now uses the Bytemark BigV platform which rocks.

The migration was supposed to be a "Christmas Project", but took longer than expected due to the number of changes I need to make to the software, and my deployment plan. Still I'm very happy with the way things are running now, and don't expect I'll need to move or make significant changes for the next nine years. I just hope there is still interest in such things then.

ObQuote: "Would you like a treatment? " - Dollhouse

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Debian-Administration.org almost migrated

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The new version of the Debian Administration is almost ready now. I'm just waiting on some back-end changes to happen on the excellent BigV hosting product.

I was hoping that the migration would be a fun "Christmas Project", but I had to wait for outside help once or twice and that pushed things back a little. Still it is hard to be anything other than grateful to folk who volunteer time, energy, and enthusiasm.

Otherwise this week has largely consisted of sleeping, planting baby spider-plants, shuffling other plants around (Aloe Vera, Cacti, etc), and enjoying my new moving plant (video isn't my specific plant).

I've spent too long reworking templer such that is now written in a modular fashion and supports plugins. The documentation is overhauled.

The only feedback I received was that it should support inline perl - so I added that as a plugin this morning via a new formatter plugin:

Title: This is my page title
Format: perl
Name: Steve
----
This is my page.  It has inline perl:

   The sum of 1 + 5 is { 1 + 5 }

This page was written by { $name }

ObQuote: "She even attacked a mime. Just found out about it. Seems the mime had been reluctant to talk. " - Hexed

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