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Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky.

28 February 2010 21:50

Recently I was flirting with the idea of creating an online game, but I got distracted by wondering how to make the back-end more flexible.

To communicate the state of the game to N connected clients I figured I needed some kind of server which would accept "join"/"quit" requests and then make changes available.

To that end I came up with the idea that a client would make requests via HTTP such as:


This would regard the originating client as part of a new chess game, for example, and return a UID identifying the "game channel".


This will retrieve a list of all events which had occurred in the game which had not already been sent.

(Here 1-2-3-4 is obviously the UID previously allocated.)


This would submit the move "move" to the server.

After mulling this over for a while it seemed like a great reusable solution, I'd make an initial "join" request, then repeated polling with the allocated UID would allow game moves to be observed. All using JSON over HTTP as the transport.

It was only this morning that I realised I'd have saved a lot of time if I'd just proxied requests to a private IRC server, as the functionality is essentially the same.

Still I'm sure this pattern of "join"/"poll"/"quit" could be useful for a lot of dynamic websites, even in the non-gaming world. So although the idea was mostly shelved it was an interesting thing to have experimented with.


ObFilm: Conan The Barbarian



Tonight I've mostly been using Sinatra

6 January 2012 21:50

This evening I've mostly been using Sinatra to build a little file storage service which uses a REST API.

That means I can upload a file:

skx@birthday:~/hg/sinatra$ curl -X PUT -F file=@/etc/fstab http://localhost:4567/

Download that same file:

skx@birthday:~/hg/sinatra$ curl -X GET -F id=dbd1bdc11b5a1a8e80588a135648b4c2edffb49a  \
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
/dev/cdrom        /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto     0       0

Get an index of files:

skx@birthday:~/hg/sinatra$ curl http://localhost:4567/

And finally we can delete a file:

skx@birthday:~/hg/sinatra$ curl -X DELETE -F "id=dbd1bdc11b5a1a8e80588a135648b4c2edffb49a" \

We can also upload to different paths so we can replicate a file-system if we wanted to. (I added in "type" to hold either "file" or "directory", though I guess if we were to code up a FUSE client we'd want to store things like ctime, UID, GID, etc. THe list operation will show both files and sub-directories)

The code was trivial once I got the hang of Sinatra, and I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I don't yet need to use it for anything, but I'm thinking of unifying the way that I store images on a couple of sites - and fetching them via JSON and Javascript might be an option this was an experiment in that direction. (Though I'd probably want to hook in rsync so we replicated the eventual upload location for safety.)

In other news I've been all organized and upgraded the kernel on my guest:

steve@steve:~$ uptime
 22:00:28 up  4:18,  1 user,  load average: 0.14, 0.05, 0.05
steve@steve:~$ uname -r

So for once I'm up to date with a cutting edge kernel. Happy times.

ObQuote: "How you expect to run with the wolves come night when you spend all day sparring with the puppies? " - The Wire (Omar)