WordPress for Google App Engine?

I love WordPress. A big fan. But then I once-upon-a-time used to be a huge fan of PHP, and then I’ve grown up. I know people will kill me for that statement. ;-)

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But the fact of the matter is PHP still has serious issues. And most recently, I can’t use it to run WordPress at Google App Engine, something that’s amazingly great for the starters who want to setup quick-and-not-so-dirty app.

I thought… would it be good to have WordPress for GAE? I came across Vosao – Open Source CMS for GAE/J. And I loved it immediately. Has a long way to go, and I do not see any active development on the same… surprised, what happened to the team.

StackOverflow has a question – What CMS runs on Google App Engine, but I personally didn’t like any of them.

And then I thought again… how about writing my own CMS with persistence in a Non-Relational Store with plug-in model so that I can run it on any store, be it GAE’s Data Store, MongoDB or Amazon DynamoDB or whatever.

Let me see if I can hold on my thoughts and really get on with it… At the moment, no promises! :-)

May 11, 2012  Tags: , , ,  Posted in: Technology   2 Comments

Yahoo! Mojito – Web Developers’ Dream

I’ve started to love HasGeek forum more than others… and there are reasons, mainly the audience and quality – of speakers, planning and execution. I was happily surprised to note that the guys used NFC cards, most probably during breaks. Probably because I had to leave after my session in the morning.

My session at MetaRefresh 2012 was on Yahoo! Mojito, which was recently open sourced at Github.

Below are the slides from the presentation…

May 11, 2012  Tags: , , , , ,  Posted in: Yahoo Mojito   No Comments

User Experience and Application on Google App Engine

So, we have been working on this application… web based, data driven, to be used in “social context”. I think today there’s nothing sexier than using the word social.

We designed this application nicely, fantastic by many ways. We were sure of putting this up on a public cloud, just that we were not sure of which one: EC2 or GAE. One of the most riskiest questions to keep open… but really, we were not sure. The only thing we were sure of was Java + jQuery + HTML5 (as much as possible).

EC2 gives you IaaS but then you must manage all the servers, load balancing, failovers. Even if you happen to choose BeanStalk, a lot of work has to be done, specifically database. Thankfully, we now have ElastiCache (launched around August 2011, IIRC) otherwise managing a cluster of Memcache was yet another task for the admins.

GAE provides you PaaS, so you don’t need to worry about doing all the stuff in previous paragraph yourself. Except that you have strong restrictions… a very small subset of Java SE library – specifically, not threads or direct sockets, no JDBC and Datastore, though amazing, is not an easy meat to digest for those not used to. And above all, the server side execution must complete in 30 seconds (now on what are known are front-end servers).

So, we designed our own data-access abstraction so that we can switch EC2 <=> GAE without any hassles. It took a while, but it’s a great thing that we have.

After writing core entities and business logic layer, it was time to start pushing it all up to the user interface. The dashboard – the landing page after login – has to get updates from various “components” in the system. All components worked great, except that the dashboard took somewhere around 1200ms to load for the first time. Note that most of the public resources (images, JavaScript, CSS) were loaded from GAE CDNs.

Just not acceptable!

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January 6, 2012  Tags: , , , ,  Posted in: Amazon EC2, Google App Engine   No Comments

Card and Deck – Deal and Shuffle

There are a lot of websites showing how do you write code for the classes Card and Deck implementing two key operations – deal and shuffle. And almost all of them have an O(N) solution for shuffling the cards (N = 52, the number of cards). (For example, http://math.hws.edu/javanotes/c5/s4.html and awesome discussion at http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/12/shuffling.html, or just search on Google for “card deck deal shuffle code” or even “card deck deal shuffle code optimized“)

Recently, somebody asked me – if there’s a better solution.

Now let me just generalize this problem – we have a collection of N items which need to dealed and shuffled. The order in which the items are dealed should not be predictable (that’s what randomness means, right?). Think… can we do it in O(1) with minimal memory? I did it!

For the sake of simplicity, let’s number the cards 1-52 and define the interface for the IDeck as follows:

interface IDeck
    void Shuffle();          //Shuffles so that the "fresh" deal can start
    int Deal();              //Gives me the next card
    int Remaining { get; }   //Returns the number of cards remaining in the deck

Now, let’s look at the following solution…

We need to have an array that will hold these cards, in this case – an array of int – int[] cards.
Then we need an index/count indicating how many cards have been dealt or remaining – int index.

Now, dealing is simple – start picking up the items from the start / end and update value of index appropriately. For example, we can initially have index = cards.length - 1 and decrement it each time deal is done.

But the problem is that during shuffle, we need to randomly put all the cards in the array cards. Now, to randomize and shuffle, we’ll need another temporary array so that we can start picking up the cards randomly and place them across.

Well, almost all of the solutions that Google gave me do the same.

Let’s approach is slightly differently… focus on what we need.

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December 26, 2011  Tags: ,  Posted in: Technology   2 Comments

HTML5 and Social Games

On 1st October was jsFoo by HasGeek, and I had a talk on “Effective Gaming techniques using HTML5: Single-player, multi-player and Social Games”.

Here are the slides…

October 4, 2011    Posted in: Technology   One Comment