Hosted ElasticSearch (2017 edition)

ElasticSearch offers an excellent alternative when you need to implement a better alternative to MySQL FULLTEXT search, with nice features such as related results, facets, “did-you-mean” and many, many options to control exactly what you need to get from it.

Unfortunately, as your data grows it also becomes harder to host on your own and keep focusing on your product rather than the operation of your search cluster, which it’s why there are several services that can take care of this.

Here’s some of them and their main differences.

Continue reading “Hosted ElasticSearch (2017 edition)”

Simple, automated and low cost MySQL backup strategy

Setting up a mysql backup strategy it’s hardly an exciting task, so having a simple solution it’s key to actually get it out of your to-do list.

Here’s a simple, automated and low-cost alternative that I use to keep MySQL database backups of small to medium-sized projects.

Setting up automatic backups

automysqlbackup it’s a simple shell script that automates the creation of daily, weekly and monthly MySQL backup.

It’s available on the repositories for Debian and Ubuntu. The project it’s officially hosted on SourceForge but you can also find lots of several of forks hosted on GitHub.

If you’re using Ubuntu, the installation it’s completely straightforward; all you need it’s sudo apt install automysqlbackup and you’re done.

Backups are saved on /var/lib/automysqlbackup, organized by daily/weekly/monthly directories and then by database name.

There are a few settings that you can modify on /etc/default/automysqlbackup, such as the backup dir, whether to send informative e-mails or to keep a “latest” directory.

Off-site backups

Of course, having automated backups it’s just part of the solution: you need to keep an off-site copy of your data in case your server it’s compromised.

A very simple and cheap alternative it’s using Google Drive as external storage: for USD 1.99 you get 100 GB which are shared with other Google services such as Photos and Gmail, but even the free 15 GB are plenty.

For saving your backups to Drive you can use drive, which it’s a tiny program to pull or push files to the service. There are several platform packages for various distributions.

After the installation, you need to initialize the client, so you can get an OAuth token to authorize the application access to your Drive account.

The client doesn’t do synchronization, it trusts the user to determine the authoritative version of a file or folder, which might be problematic in some cases but it’s specially useful for copying the backups, since that will automatically take care of deleting older backups —which you can still find on your “Trash” for 30 days since deletion.

You can set a daily cron job to upload your latest backups using something like this:

25 4 * * * cd /root/gdrive/mysql-backups && drive push -no-prompt

Best way to initialize a class on a WordPress plugin

When you’re developing a WordPress plugin, there are certain patterns and practices that are extremely useful to know and apply in order to get a better fit with the platform as a whole.

One of these things it’s what’s the better way to initialize a class on a plugin, which this answer on the WordPress StackExchange covers in great detail, while also explaining other interesting topics and recommendations such as using an autoloader and global access, registry and service locator patterns.

While you’re at it, you might also want to check these posts from Tom McFarlin:

 

Big companies that use PHP

Every now and then there’s still some people who can’t believe PHP can be used for a big, successful project, when actually there are several examples of huge sites using PHP.

Here’s how some of them share their experience.

Facebook

With over 1.49 billion active users, Facebook has been forced into finding creative, out-of-the-box solutions to scaling.

First, they introduced HipHop for PHP on 2010, a transpiler that took PHP code and converted it into a C++ binary.

Even though the project was largely successful, it forced an elaborate deployment process and several incompatibilities with some PHP language features.

On December 2011, they released the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM), an open source virtual machine based on Just-In-Time compilation that allowed the greatly improved performance with an easier development and deployment process.

HHVM helped boost the PHP language development introducing lots of new features and a massive performance improvement on PHP7.

Continue reading “Big companies that use PHP”

John Maeda and the Open Web

Design superhero John Maeda is now working at Automattic as Global Head, Computational Design and Inclusion because he believes in the open web…

The fact that so many people are commenting about it on Facebook, just proves how hard his new mission is… And how easy is to just not “get” why it’s so important. 

The Open Web, Fuck Yeah! | hueniverse

Is your new thing so fucking amazing that people are going to install your app and give it a chance? Statistically speaking, unless you are best friend with a famous celebrity or Apple decides to feature your app in one of their top categories or search results, you are pretty much fucked

Source: The Open Web, Fuck Yeah! | hueniverse

Pixel Density, Demystified

…or “what you must know about designing for retina display and high-density screens”.

Pixel density it’s an often misunderstood subject: some people think that the solution it’s just to design everything at twice the size that they used to, but actually it’s a little simpler and more complicated than that… at the same time.

Be sure to also check the text version on Medium and remember:

  1. Design in vector shapes
  2. Design at “1x”