10 Jan 2008 robogato   » (Master)

Advogato Status Report

My New Year's resolution is to start doing monthly status reports again! Here's the first one.

Even though I haven't posted a status update in a while, minor code updates have continued. To find out what's changed in the live mod_virgule code running Advogato, see the changelog. It's always there and nearly always up to date.

The biggest change has been in the XML file store locking code. The previous system relied on a site-wide read/write lock that locked out access to the entire database when writes were happening. This was getting to be a problem because of trust recalculations and diary syndication that happens at the top of the hour. Write locks were often clogging things up for 10 to 15 minutes per hour.

But it's all good now. All the locking code has been totally ripped out and replaced with file-level locking. There should almost never be any detectable site delays caused by locking now. Besides fixing the hourly slowdowns, this also gives us a little more breathing room to continue growing.

Another recent change is a patch from fzort that improves the HTML parsing code to eliminate undesirable tag attributes. The long-term the plan is still switching to libxml2's HTML parser and junking the one in mod_virgule but, until then, this should make things a little more secure.

A few other fixes and improvements:

The GUID of syndicated blog posts is now preserved when they go out on the Advogato diary RSS feed.

Mod_virgule now has built in support for Google Analytics. Drop your GA ID code into the config.xml and the appropriate GA markup appears on every page throughout the site.

Joe Presbrey of MIT contributed a patch for an external FOAF URI on the user profile. This allows you to link your Advogato FOAF to any other existing FOAF profile you may have, helping to consolidate your online identify.

The computed trust level for each user is now exported via FOAF, referencing a local RDF schema that describes the trust levels. This mechanism was suggested by Sean B. Palmer and Dan Connolly on the W3C #swig IRC channel.

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New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!