Tag: Ruby On Rails
DbCharmer 1.7.0 Release: Rails 3.0 Support and Forced Slave Reads
1 Sep2011

This week, after 3 months in the works, we’ve finally released version 1.7.0 of DbCharmer ruby gem – Rails plugin that significantly extends ActiveRecord’s ability to work with multiple databases and/or database servers by adding features like multiple databases support, master/slave topologies support, sharding, etc.

New features in this release:

  • Rails 3.0 support. We’ve worked really hard to bring all the features we supported in Rails 2.X to the new version of Rails and now I’m proud that we’ve implemented them all and the implementation looks much cleaner and more universal (all kinds of relations in rails 3 work in exactly the same way and we do not need to implement connection switching for all kinds of weird corner-cases in ActiveRecord).
  • Forced Slave Reads functionality. Now we could have models with slaves that are not used by default, but could be turned on globally (per-controller, per-action or in a block). This is a new feature that brings our master/slave routing capabilities to a really new level – we could now use it for a really mission-critical models on demand and not be afraid of breaking major functionality of our applications by switching them to slave reads.
  • Lots of changes were made in the structure of our code and tests to make sure it would be much easier for new developers to understand DbCharmer internals and make changes in its code.

Along with the new release we’ve got a brand new web site. You can find much better, cleaner and, most importantly, correct documentation for the library on the web site. We’ll be adding more examples, will try to add more in-depth explanation of our core functions, etc.

If you have any questions about the release, feel free to ask them in our new mailing list: DbCharmer Users Group.

For more updates on our releases, you can follow @DbCharmer on Twitter.

DB Charmer – ActiveRecord Connection Magic Plugin
3 Nov2009

Today I’m proud to announce the first public release of our ActiveRecord database connection magic plugin: DbCharmer.

DB Charmer – ActiveRecord Connection Magic Plugin

DbCharmer is a simple yet powerful plugin for ActiveRecord that does a few things:

  1. Allows you to easily manage AR models’ connections (switch_connection_to method)
  2. Allows you to switch AR models’ default connections to a separate servers/databases
  3. Allows you to easily choose where your query should go (on_* methods family)
  4. Allows you to automatically send read queries to your slaves while masters would handle all the updates.
  5. Adds multiple databases migrations to ActiveRecord

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Loops plugin for rails and merb released
17 Feb2009

loops is a small and lightweight framework for Ruby on Rails and Merb created to support simple background loops in your application which are usually used to do some background data processing on your servers (queue workers, batch tasks processors, etc).

Originally loops plugin was created to make our (Scribd.com) own loops code more organized. We used to have tens of different modules with methods that were called with script/runner and then used with nohup and other not so convenient backgrounding techniques. When you have such a number of loops/workers to run in background it becomes a nightmare to manage them on a regular basis (restarts, code upgrades, status/health checking, etc).

After a short time of writing our loops in more organized ways we were able to generalize most of the loops code so now our loops look like a classes with a single mandatory public method called run. Everything else (spawning many workers, managing them, logging, backgrounding, pid-files management, etc) is handled by the plugin itself.

The major idea behind this small project was to create a deadly simple and yet robust framework to be able to run some tasks in background and do not think about spawning many workers, restarting them when they die, etc. So, if you need to be able to run either one or many copies of your worker or you do not want to think about re-spawning dead workers and do not want to spend megabytes of RAM on separate copies of Ruby interpreter (when you run each copy of your loop as a separate process controlled by monit/god/etc), then I’d recommend you to try this framework — you’ll like it.

For more information, visit the project site and, of course, read the sources 🙂

Bounces-handler Released
3 Aug2008

Today I’ve managed to finish initial version of our bounces-handler package we use for mailing-related stuff in Scribd.

Bounces-handler package is a simple set of scripts to automatically process email bounces and ISP‘s feedback loops emails, maintain your mailing blacklists and a Rails plugin to use those blacklists in your RoR applications.

This piece of software has been developed as a part of more global work on mailing quality improvement in Scribd.com, but it was one of the most critical steps after setting up reverse DNS records, DKIM and SPF.

The package itself consists of two parts:

  • Perl scripts to process incoming email:
    • bounces processor — could be assigned to process all your bounce emails
    • feedback loops messages processor — more specific for Scribd, but still – could be modified for your needs (will be released soon).
  • Rails plugin to work with mailing blacklists

For more information, please check our README file. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them here as a comments and I’ll try to reply as soon as possible.

Dog-pile Effect and How to Avoid it with Ruby on Rails memcache-client Patch
10 Mar2008

We were using memcache in our application for a long time and it helped a lot to reduce DB servers load on some huge queries. But there was a problem (sometimes called a “dog-pile effect”) – when some cached value was expired and we had a huge traffic, sometimes too many threads in our application were trying to calculate new value to cache it.

For example, if you have some simple but really bad query like

SELECT COUNT(*) FROM some_table WHERE some_flag = X

which could be really slow on a huge tables, and your cache expires, then ALL your clients calling a page with this counter will end up waiting for this counter to be updated. Sometimes there could be tens or even hundreds of such a queries running on your DB killing your server and breaking an entire application (number of application instances is constant, but more and more instances are locked waiting for a counter).

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