22 janv. 2014

Tutoriel Javascript : Bower

Grafikart nous propose une petite introduction très bien faite à l'utilisation de Bower, le gestionnaire de paquets du Web client :

Le chien + zen

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Preprocessing the web

What is it all about?

Suppose that you need to build a complete website or webapp, despite all the simplifications provided these last years, there are still a lot of things to write. Even if you are using an intelligent editor, you will probably take hour, if not days, writing enclosing brackets, tags or things alike : You are repeating yourself and that is not agile at all. One of the main principle teached by agility is stay DRY. These repetition being solely required owing to the verbosity of HTML, JavaScript and CSS. So, it's time to put this principle even into codes.

When you move to preprocessor, you can choose a different set of languages that will keep you away from these repetitions. Therefore, you can focus more on your programs than on their grammar.

Removing the hassle on HTML : Jade

My favorite preprocessor for authoring HTML, XML*, SVG* is Jade. A little example in this field is worth a thousand words:
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="fr">
    <meta charset="utf-8">
    <title>Hello World</title>
    <p>Hi, there</p>

doctype html
    title Hello World
    p Hi, there

* : Yes, you read me well. I even use Jade for writing XML and SVG. It creates nice and readable source file while creating small XML and SVG files.

Lessen the burden of CSS : Sass

Sass is a well known preprocessor used for easing development of CSS. Many of its features are used as a basis of enhancements for future CSS evolutions : it's format is known as SCSS. You can see it as a superset of basic CSS. What you may not know is that Sass provides a second grammar. Actually, it's its initial grammar, much much more concise. It is called Sass. Pretty straightforward, isn't it? Like always, a little example gives you an instant overview of what you will not type anymore:
body {
  background-repeat: green;

.some-class {
  padding-left: 2em;
  .some-class .some-inner-class {
    padding-left: 1em;

  background-repeat: green

  padding-left: 2em
    padding-left: 1em

Relieve the pain of JS : CoffeeScript

Sure, asynchronous programming performs well. But in JS, keeping on repeating function and var over and over, adjusting parenthesis and brackets, keeping on doing the same patterns, is a pain. Even with the upcoming promises, vanilla JS is painfully slow to write. Powerful but so demanding on its grammar. Thanks to CoffeeScript, this pain becomes almost unnoticeable. Treated. Another little example of a simple class that prints out a message and you will see the difference:
var EchoingClass, inst1;

EchoingClass = (function() {
  function EchoingClass() {
    console.log('Echo World, or Eco me');

  return EchoingClass;

inst1 = new EchoingClass;

class EchoingClass
  constructor: ->
    console.log 'Echo World'

inst1 = new EchoingClass


These examples are just some of the preprocessors that I like to use. There are plenty of other ones that I haven't mentioned but used depending on the team that I've worked with: HAML, Dart, Typescript, Less, Stylus, ... 

The objective is to choose at least one of them and start being much more productive by focusing on your code, not on its grammar.

Side note
Don't you think that these language look a lot like Python? Charming snake.

13 janv. 2014

150K customers and up on a single UNIX node

Each session whether you allow SocketIO or REST in long polling consumes a file descriptor. UNIXes are configured with a limited number of file descriptors per user. This default configuration limits the number of open sessions for your customer's applications preventing a flexible scalability.

To overcome this issue, UNIXes may be configured to allow a scalability that goes over 150K clients. For a given user and its group (rights allocated for your server), the best approach consists in increasing only this user and group limits.

First, we start by checking the current limitations with the following command:
ulimit -a
The line -n describes the maximum number of opened file descriptor. Usually, this value is set to 1024.

To increase this really low value for a user 'server' and its associated group, edit your file /etc/security/limits.conf with root privileges and add or modify the following values:

server soft nofile 150000
server hard nofile 200000

Now, you must add a new security policy by adding the following line to your file /etc/pam.d/common-session, editing it with root privileges:
session required pam_limits.so
For taking this new value into account, a reboot of your server is necessary. Use the ulimit command to check if your new value has been properly set.

Note on NodeJS
The current status of NodeJS limits the heap memory to 1.4 GB per processus. Therefore, vertical scalability is limited to 250 K connections depending on your server's consumptions. There is 2 methods to overcome this issue:

  • Modify the V8 code source used for NodeJS and compile your own custom application server.
  • Scale horizontally your server (use multiple processus or multiple UNIX nodes) and make them communicate using ZeroMQ, for instance.

Nice book on Backbone.js

If you want to invest some time on HTML5, choosing a nice MVC framework is your first challenge when you will start developing. Backbone is one of the available solutions out there. Its documentation only consists of its API which could be uneasy at first glance.

Thanks to Addy Osmani, a book explains the basics and the philosophy of Backbone.

It's pretty well written and I like to come back to it whenever I'm not sure to take the proper approach of design.

The book is available for free reading on Github : http://addyosmani.github.io/backbone-fundamentals/ and it's definitely worth buying it if you enjoy it as much as I do.