Monthly Archives: December 2008

Booko review

Thanks to my referrer logs, (well, thanks to Piwik) I found another great review for Booko. The site, “Frock You – The Blog” had this to say:

There’s millions of sites out there (aside from the mega giganticAmazonFishpondThe NileBooktopia and even Dymocks are all good online stores, though you sometimes have to wait awhile to receive your goodies) and I have just discovered a site to take all the hard work out of cyber-browsing: is a search-and-compare site with direct links to the books you want to buy! I have just been testing it and give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up. Price, shipping, and total price inc shipping are all displayed in AU$, which makes it quick and easy to make the best purchasing decision possible!

Traffic Aftermath

It’s a few days now since Booko was brought to its knees by an enormous (by Booko standards) spike in traffic. It’s an exciting way to have your web project fail – a massive number of users who are trying to use your site. Traffic’s dropped off to a fair degree, but is still far above pre-spike levels which is great.

The largest problem was the method the price grabber used to find books which need to have their prices looked up. It worked fine with just a few users, but didn’t scale at all well. This was fixed pretty quickly – it was making the site unusable – prices just weren’t getting looked up. The next bug was in the code which calculates the price of the books in the cart – this was doing great big table scans which was running the machine out of memory – it was a pretty simple fix once I’d identified it. It was disabled for a few days while I fixed and tested it. It’s now back in action. There have been a number of performance fixes too which should speed up the site.

Booko on the Net

Looks like Booko’s been mentioned out there on the Tubez today resulting in a 10x increase in my previous maximum visitors.  Oz Bargain Blog and Lifehacker are today’s top two referrers – Hello Guys! Sorry for the slowness – I’m doing my best to get things sorted out.  For those of you of a graphical nature, here’s a visual representation of the traffic for Booko.



What a Day

Booko is on track to have received 10x the traffic it received on its busiest day ever. In an hour today it received more traffic than the busiest day previously in total.  Several bugs have been found and squashed – naïve  approaches to problems have been refined. Problems still remain however which I’m working on.

 The biggest problem I’m having is the decreasing responsiveness and increasing memory usage of the application. Twice today the host rebooted due to lack of memory. Naturally I suspect a memory leak somewhere, but I’ve had very little success finding any problems. Of particular interest however is some weird strace output – lots and lots of this:

rt_sigreturn(0) = 4
--- SIGVTALRM (Virtual timer expired) @ 0 (0) ---

Some Google work leads me to think this may be thread related – there were reports of decreasing responsiveness, so I’ve removed threading support for the one place it’s used in the Rails app – the search field.  Search will now be quite a bit slower, but hopefully, everything will continue to work.

New Hosting for Booko

Booko’s got some shiny new hosting! I’ve moved to a new Slicehost host doing nothing but serving up Booko pages. I’ve decided to try Ubuntu for hosting this time, moving from my much loved Gentoo, just for something different. I’m more familiar with Debian, but Ubuntu is very similar and I feel like something new. I’ve not done any performance testing, but it certainly feels snappier. 😉

Booko’s DNS has also been moved to Slicehost’s DNS hosting. Just to get everything in one place.

The blog will stay on the old host, shrunk down a bit now that it’s doing less work. Also, I’ve now added Online Bargain Megastore.