Jul 232009

I spent most of my time this week trying to make things go faster without upgrading the old server things are running on. One of the bigger slowdowns I noticed was BackgrounDRb which wasn’t only taking up a hefty chunk of memory when running, but was also querying the database non-stop looking for new jobs in the queue.

I ended up switching out BackgrounDRb with Workling/Starling. While I lost the persistent job queue (something I’ll look into handling internally) the performance gains I’ve noticed are pretty significant. This change has been committed and pushed to github and I was looking forward to saying you can check out how I did it here but it looks like the change was too significant for GitHub to track. You can always download a local copy of the code and see what I changed if you’re interested.

It boiled down to installing working, starling, and some dependencies (like daemons). Converting the actual background scripts was pretty straightforward. I had to change the top of the classes to reference Workling instead of BackgrounDRb and strip out references to the persistent job queue. In the controllers/models that call the conversion I adjusted my function usage slightly (removed the hash wrapper I had on my arguments) and presto, things were working.

On another note, this week the Concerto team launched the Concerto public site at http://www.concerto-signage.com/. Its a pretty great looking site! I also spent some time working on the new version of Shuttle Tracking at RPI, which will be released under an Open Source license this year. I’ve slowly been re-writing the user portion of the application in Ruby on Rails and trying to optimize the code as much as I can for maximum performance. The javascript has also been completely reworked so we can use the faster Google Maps V3 API when they add functionality for polylines, or something that will allow us to draw the shuttle routes.

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