Using Subversion for Application Development and Deployment

I recently wanted to update our install of WordPress to the latest version. WordPress is a fairly easy install, and we could learn a thing or two about application set-up by examining their code. But I recently switched to using subversion to deploy and maintain our install. In just the little bit I’ve used subversion so far, I believe development and deployment of our internal applications would be simplified by employing it for all our projects. Here’s a quick outline of the process, with examples based on my WordPress deployment.

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Expanding Search Terms for More Inclusive Results

While working on the Benchmarks search I wanted to try and provide a feature I find useful on Google and other search engines: word form expansion (lemmatisation). A little research showed to me that this would require more work than we really should be spending on search functionality. Especially considering that the built-in MySQL full text search capability is sufficient for our needs. So I decided to focus on a feature that would still provide value but require little time: word stem expansion.

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Items Utility: School Reports Update

I made a few updates to the school reports at the request of the researchers.

  • Added a save feature so that packet/item selections for a report can be retrieved at a later date.
  • Added the ability to set thresholds that must be met before the script will include statistics in the report.
  • Updated tables to reflect changes in displayed information and formatting.

In regards to the above changes, the save feature is of particular note for it inscrutibility. While the technique used to save/retrieve the report setting is adequate, the code to enable this functionality is not well-implemented. Unfortunately, time constraints required a fast, rather than best, implementation.

As modifications are requested this script is getting to be a little harder to work with. The code was created over the course of a week or two back in January. I was able to make quick work of it by using some concepts I initially worked out for summary table generation (and based on discussions with Brian W). While the data is stored in a psuedo object-oriented format, the script itself is fairly linear in design. If more modifications are requested the script may need some rewrites to enable a bit more flexibility.

Best Practices for Setting MySQL Server Runtime Parameters

Since we’ll be exposing MySQL to significantly more traffic (due mainly to the transition to a database-driven version of Benchmarks Online [dbBOL]) I decided to spend some time optimizing the server’s settings. There are a number of settings that can be tweaked to improve performance. I based my decisions on the information available from the references cited and the performance statistics reported by MySQL (SQL SHOW VARIABLES or use PHPMyAdmin). MySQL has been running for 131 days as of the writing of this post (see cached copy of the runtime stats), so I expect the data will be a fairly good indication of the performance of MySQL under its current usage. Unfortunately, I expect the usage pattern to change significantly once dbBOL is released. As a result some of the settings used will be based on expected usage patterns. At specific intervals after dbBOL is released we should examine the performance of MySQL based on the runtime stats to determine if additional tweaking needs to be performed. I recommend the following schedule: 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, then every 6 months.

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