What a Difference a Year Makes

by Corey Oordt •  Published 6 Jan 2010

The end of the year makes me reminisce about all that happened in the past 12 months. Web development at The Washington Times has changed dramatically, both in technology and process. Here are just a few things that have changed:

From To
Django 0.91Django 1.1
No virtualenv usageusing virtualenv
One site8+ internal/external sites
5-6 content servers1 content server + Varnish (and a backup for each and without hardware upgrades)
Just serversHeavy usage of virtual machines
Painful and manual deployment processQuick deployment process with Fabric
Tightly integrated apps and a monolithic siteMore modular site with apps in separate repositories
One private svn repository50+ public and private svn and git repositories
Five team membersSix team members
PostgreSQL 8.1PostgreSQL 8.3
Python 2.3Python 2.6

There were also some new improvements:

  • Created a new framework for starting and deploying sites and creating apps

  • Dramatically improved the monitoring of our infrastructure

  • Released 30 apps under an open source license

  • Began mirroring our public repositories on Git Hub

  • Created a web site for our department with a blog and showing our open sourced projects

  • Increased our focus on tests and documentation

  • Converted an external PHP website to internal Django site, in one week (after it was hacked).

  • Converted overpriced Windows XP box to overpriced Ubuntu server/coffee table

  • Took over our own internal VPN and load balancing

  • Created a source repository management system

Personally, I am incredibly proud to be working with the people on our team. We have continued to evolve and grow as a team and everyone has grown his skills. I only see this process continuing this year. Here are a few of my goals for the upcoming year:

  • Convert everything to Django 1.2

  • Convert our existing infrastructure to a virtualized cloud (if we can somehow get a SAN)

  • Use Google Wave for something

  • Migrate all Subversion repositories to Git and implement a tighter change management system

  • Deploy our skunk-works project code named Calcutta

  • Use a non-SQL-based storage for something

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