Performance Tuning in Grails 2.4.x: Part 1

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Over the weekend I made performance optimizations to an internal web app that we use for time tracking and invoicing. The app runs on tomcat and is built using grails 2.4.2. Grails 2.4 included some major changes including asset pipelining. This is the first time I’ve tuned a grails app, and I had to do quite a bit of web crawling in order to find my way. I thought I would share some of the helpful tips I encountered, parts of the configuration I used, as well as some dead ends that could waste your time.

Your Own Mini-Heroku on AWS

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Heroku
is one of those really great tools to help you get started fast with hosting. They support a variety of stacks and save you blood, sweat and tears when it comes to deploying an app. But what about those times where you need to mess with filesystems or have custom binaries that you want to run? How about just having more control of your servers?

Tip and tricks for learning a new code base

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As a consultant, approaching new code bases is something that happens every day. As exciting as it sounds however, working on many different projects can be really tough. This is because in many occasions we are not provided with all the details that we need, but we just requested to fix something that is broken.

What makes these tasks difficult is that the data and code structures can be very large and not very intuitive. Also, it might not be clear who holds the knowledge on them, or in some cases the knowledge can be even lost; for example being held by people who left the company.

Of Darts and Buckets

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Web Services

Recently, I had the opportunity to work on an exciting in-house project for Grio called Filedart.  This service, which will launch in the near future, affords the denizens of the web the ability to effortlessly upload content to the cloud by dragging photos or files to a small icon in their taskbar.  After the file is uploaded by the client, the service automatically copies a mini-fied URL to the client’s clipboard.  This URL leads to a brand-new, public web hosting wrapper for that file that they can easily distribute to their friends of colleagues to share.  The service is free, and users don’t even have to log-in to use it.

Basic AppEngine Asynchronous Tasks

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Google’s AppEngine is a very useful platform in the way it allows developers to have an application server up and running within 10 minutes.
It leverages the Google infrastructure, too, offering high speed, high capacity, etc.

Wow (Awesome!)

However (Hmm), AE does not allow for the usual multi-threading mechanisms…

Zend DB Config.ini for Oracle DB options

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Anyone who has worked much with the Zend framework much will be familiar with the framework’s reliance on config files. I recently worked on a project where I needed to set some database configurations in a Zend config file and it took me some time to figure out the correct syntax for them. 

How to deploy your web app to Amazon EC2 using Capistrano

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What is Capistrano?

Capistrano is an open source tool mainly used to deploy web applications from source code management (SCM) to one or more servers. The aim of this guide is showing how to easily deploy your app to amazon EC2 using Capistrano. We can leverage its multi-stage extension to provide a different deployment strategy in different scenarios.

Getting started with Amazon DynamoDB

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What’s Amazon DynamoDB?

DynamoDB is one of the most recent services offered by Amazon.com. Announced on January 18, 2012, it is a fully managed NoSQL database service that provides fast and predictable performance along with excellent scalability. Let’s quickly analyze its positive and negative aspects in the lists below:

How to set up and exploit an Apache Solr environment on Amazon EC2

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What’s Solr?

Solr is an open source enterprise search platform from the Apache Lucene project. Its major features include powerful full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted search, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g., Word, PDF) handling, and geospatial search. Solr is highly scalable, providing distributed search and index replication, and it powers the search and navigation features of many of the world’s largest internet sites.

Launching EC2 On Demand: Video Transcoding

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At Grio, we use EC2 to power almost all of our server needs. Amazon hosting provides a convenient means of housing a web server and database server, a wiki, and our client development environment. It’s a cost efficient solution for companies like ours, in that we can avoid the hassle or purchasing and maintaining hardware. The strategy allows us to add servers only when we need them and remove them when they are no longer needed. Since Amazon’s pricing structure is based on the duration of server’s up-time, we want to make sure that we only use a server when necessary.