Wednesday, 12 October 2005

Planet Express

For some time now I’ve allowed people to make “weblog” entries upon the Debian Administration website.

Once I’d done that it was suggested I setup an installation of PlanetPlanet to aggregate them all. So I did: Planet Debian Administration.

However this solution was suboptimal:

  1. Users create weblog entries, which have their own XML feed.
  2. Local Planet installation makes a request to http://localhost/ – for each account.
  3. Planet processes the XML entries and outputs the static HTML + feeds.
  4. Repeat from step 2 every hour.

The overhead of processing each of the blog feeds on the server side was a little too high – to the extent that making a hundred odd requests at 7 minutes past the hour was noticable if you were logged in to the server.

So I figured it made sense to skip all this, and just fetch the contents of the weblogs from the local database – where they are all stored anyway.

This immediately speeds things up. Generating the new planet now takes less than a second, total time.

It also means that I can take advantage of my knowlege of the Yawns table structure to list the number of comments upon each entry – or do other similar things.

Since the site is driven by software called “Yawns” (irony is ..) the new software is called “Yawns Planet”. There is a CVS repository here.

Start to finish this was about three hours work. But damn I love developing in perl… the hours just flew by :)

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