Infrastructure as a disposable service

Hot-swapping infrastructure services on-the-fly.

November 14, 2013

Earlier this week we had what could have been a catastrophic infrastructure failure - our ElasticSearch cluster went offline. Given that this powers the core functional element of our entire business, this was not a good thing to wake up to.

As I started investigating what had gone wrong, I could practically hear the sniggers from the cloud . . .

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Pip Production Perils

Be very wary of using the pip '-e' flag in production!

October 27, 2013

As a Django app, running on Heroku, we lean on pip for our package management. One of pip's install options is the '--editable' flag, which allows you to install a package direct from a source repo.

Each time we deploy to Heroku, the platform runs the following command:

pip install -r requirements.txt 

This command installs . . .

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We've moved

Welcome to the new home of the YJ tech blog.

October 10, 2013

Welcome to Silvrback, the new home of the YJ tech blog.

Being a geeky bunch, having a blog on Tumblr or Wordpress was never really going to cut it for the YJ tech blog. My original requirements were very simple:

  • Write in Markdown
  • Store in git.

I didn't really want the hassle of picking a theme, or worse than that, having to edit or . . .

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Pushing Heroku release changelog to Gist

September 26, 2013

We publish our changelog on the site, which we extract from Heroku's release API, and push to GitHub's Gist API. Here's how we do it.

I've written a couple of posts already about our deployment process, and its creeping automation. The final step has always been updating the changelog, which we publish on the site.

Why do it . . .

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Using tuples (& dicts) in Django templates

September 25, 2013


Demonstrating the power of the web, and the great benefit to be had in publishing something even if it's not perfect, no sooner had I hit the send button than @stevejalim (of this parish) revealed to me that if you use a dict instead of a tuple, you can access the value by name, rather than index.
Thank you Steve.

Using tuples in . . .

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In praise of inline CSS

September 24, 2013

Inline CSS style attributes get a bad press - but sometimes they can be A Good Thing.

If you have read anything about CSS in the last five years, you will know that inline CSS styles are A Bad Thing. Some claim that the existence of inline styles demonstrates bad programming. CSS should be in included static files, which can be combined, . . .

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Roll forward, not rollback

Deployment strategies for the lean generation

September 24, 2013

If you deploy little and often, two things happen - first, you get a lot better at it, and second, you get to a point where it's easier to fix a deployment issue and redeploy than to attempt a rollback.

If you work in or around a corporate IT department for any length of time you'll get used to hearing a lot about 'rollback . . .

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