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Lorna Mitchell gave a presentation at php[tek] 2013 last week titled “Tools for Better PHP”. I did not attend the presentation (because I wasn’t at php[tek] 2013), but I just reviewed the slides she posted at SpeakerDeck. In the presentation, Ms. Mitchell talks about some useful development and operations software that PHP programmers ought to consider using.

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This is the second of a two-part newsletter on “going big”. By “going big” I mean how one transitions from a Web site with little to moderate traffic, to one that can handle tons of traffic. The previous newsletter looked at going big from the macro perspective: theory, implementation, hardware, and networking. In this newsletter, I’ll look at the micro perspective: how to write code that scales well. And, as it turns out, this newsletter again got to be too big, so this is part one of two parts that makes up part two of the two-part series. (Huh?) In this newsletter, I’ll mostly focus on code. The next will mostly focus on the database.

Before going into details, I’m going to define what it means to be a “big” site. As I said in the previous newsletter, it actually depends upon the kind of content and activity the site has: X number of video requests is far more demanding than the same X number of mostly text pages. Likewise, X number of WordPress page requests is far more demanding than the same X number of static HTML page requests. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say that “big” is a site that gets in the broad neighborhood of 100,000 to 500,000 pageviews per day. At that point (if not before), you’ll need more than one server to handle the load. (As a counterpoint, on the highest end, Netflix sometimes requires up to 20,000 servers at a single time.)

As always, questions, comments, and all feedback are much appreciated. And thanks for your interest in what I have to say and do!

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Thomas Fuchs, creator of the JavaScript library and the Freckle online time tracking site, posted a great page of useful services a couple of weeks back. These are sites and tools that Thomas and Amy Hoy have found to be invaluable in running their Freckle SaaS (Software as a Service). From Web site and server monitoring, to log management, to email tools, there’s about a dozen or more products that come highly recommended (and not all necessarily cost).

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I’m just about finished with Chapter 7 of the fourth edition of my “PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites: Visual QuickPro Guide”. I thought I’d take this time to finally share the rough version of the Table of Contents (this is actually version 2, as the first version was changed while working on the SQL and MySQL chapters).

In my newsletter, I had presented some of my thoughts as to changes for the fourth edition, and I received a ton of very useful replies. Before showing the TOC, I want to discuss the feedback and how that impacted my plan. Continue Reading…

The Linux File System Structure

September 18, 2010

If you’re like me and, well, most people, you probably aren’t using Linux on your personal computer. Yes, many technical people are using Linux and love it, but the fact of the matter is that the market for Linux as a desktop system still isn’t that big (and that’s not a reflection of how great Linux is, because it’s pretty great). But if you do a lot of Web development, like I do, you probably interact with Linux servers all the time. If you work with a Linux system from a command-line interface (or any Unix system, really), you may not have the vaguest idea what the /etc directory is, or /dev. For that matter, the difference between /bin and /sbin or /usr/bin may be lost on you. I recently StumbledUpon this article that explains the Linux file system. It’s a short and simple, yet excellent, discussion of the topic.