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Database syncronization woes

November 3rd, 2009 by Narshlob

Database resyncronization depends on what went wrong but the steps below will most likely solve most issues.
Run these commands on the slave database

  1. STOP SLAVE; # stop the Slave I/O threads
  2. RESET SLAVE; # forget about all the relay log files

Then go to the master database and run these

  1. RESET MASTER; # reset the bin log counter and wipe out bin log files
  2. FLUSH TABLES WITH READ LOCK; # flush buffers and LOCK tables
  3. show master status\G

Note what the show master status command returns. You’ll need to know the file name and the position.
You can do one of two things here, make a dump of the entire master database (in which case I suggest you follow this)
or you can just update the tables.
Usually we just need to update the tables so release the lock on the master database tables (UNLOCK TABLES;) and then run this command on the slave database (download maatkit tools here),

  • cd ~/maatkit-5014/bin && sudo ./mk-table-sync –[print][execute] u=[user],p=[pass],h=[master_host_name] –databases [database_name(s)] localhost

I suggest you run –print before you run –execute. If you run –execute first, you have no idea what just happened. –print will let you know what it’ll do without actually doing anything.
Back to the slave database mysql client, issue these commands,

  1. CHANGE MASTER TO MASTER_LOG_FILE='[file name from show master status command]’, MASTER_LOG_POS=[pos];

Run this command,

  • show slave status\G

And check that these aren’t NO or NULL,

Slave_IO_Running: Yes
Slave_SQL_Running: Yes
Seconds_Behind_Master: 1634

If things aren’t back to normal, follow the instructions on this website.

Don’t Call it “Case Equality”

July 30th, 2009 by Brett Rasmussen

I’ve recently learned to love Ruby’s “triple equals” operator, sometimes referred to as the “case equality operator”. But I stand with Hal Fulton, author of The Ruby Way, in disliking the latter term, since there’s no real equality going on with its usage. It’s also not really an operator–it’s a method–but I’m not going to complain too loudly about that one, considering that I prefer the term “relationship operator”. I’m also not opposed to “trequals”, which has a certain jeunesse doree about it. You could say “trequals” at a trendy restaurant with post-modern decor and everyone wearing black.

With one equals sign you assign a value to a variable:

composer = "Beethoven"

With two equals signs you see if two things are the same thing:

puts "9th Symphony" if melody == "Ode to Joy"

With three equal signs you get, well, essentially you get a placeholder that you can use to define arbitrary relationships between objects which you will mostly never call by hand yourself but which Ruby will call for you when you run case statements:

class Composer
  attr_accessor :works
  def initialize(*works)
    @works = works

  def ===(work)

The trequals operator (ok, method) returns true or false depending on a condition I’ve defined. Now I can test a given work against a bunch of composer objects using a case statement:

beethoven = Composer.new("Fur Elise", "Missa Solemnis", "9th Symphony")
mozart = Composer.new("The Magic Flute", "C Minor Mass", "Requiem")
bach = Composer.new("St. Matthew Passion", "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring")

case "Requiem"
  when beethoven
  when mozart
  when bach

The trequals is called behind the scenes by Ruby. Since I’ve defined it on the Composer class to look for a matching entry in that composer’s list of works, the case statement becomes a way of running different code based on which composer wrote the work in question.

This example is contrived, of course, because if it was this simple a need you’d probably just check “some_composer.works.include?(‘Requiem’)” by hand. But the example demonstrates the crucial point, that there’s no equality being checked for. A work in no way is the composer. It’s a relationship that the case statement is checking for–the given work was written by the given composer–and it’s a relationship that I’ve defined explicitly for my own music-categorizing purposes.

That case statements work this way is yet another example of the magical and powerful stuff that characterizes Ruby. Instead of simply a strict equality match, we can now switch against multiple types, all with different definitions of what qualifies as a relationship:

class String
  def ===(other_str)
    self.strip[0, other_str.length].downcase == other_str.downcase

class Array
  def ===(str)
    self.any? {|elem| elem.include?(str)}

class Fixnum
  def ===(str)
    self == str.to_i

string_to_test = "99 Monkeys"
case string_to_test
  when "99 monkeys jumping on the bed"
  when ["77 Rhinos Jumped", "88 Giraffes Danced", "99 Monkeys Sang"]
  when 99
  when /^\d+\s+\w+/

Here, if the string to be tested is the first portion of the larger string (case-insensitively speaking), if it is part of any of the elements in the specified array, if it starts out with 99 (string.to_i returns only leading integers), or if it matches the given regular expression, the respective code will be run. In this case, it matches all of them, so only the code for the first case–the string match–will be run (in Ruby, switches automatically stop at the first match, so you don’t need to give each case its own “end” line).

Note that I didn’t need to define (actually, override) the trequals on the regular expression. The relationship operator is a method on Object, so all Ruby objects inherit it. If not overridden, it defaults to a simple double-equals equality check (thus contributing to the momentum of the misnomer “case equality”). But some standard Ruby classes already come with their own definition for trequals. Regexp and Range are the notable examples: Regexp defines it to mean a match on that regular expression, and Range defines it to mean a number that falls somewhere within that range, as such:

num = 77
case num
  when 1..50
    puts "found a lower number"
  when 51..100
    puts "found a higher number"

Note that since === is really a method, it is not commutative, meaning you can’t swap sides on the call; “a === b” is not the same as “b === a”. If you think through it, it makes sense. You’re really calling “a.===(b)”. If a is an array, you’re calling a method on Array, which will be defined for Array’s own purposes. If b is a string, and you swapped the order, you’d be calling a String method, which would have a different purpose for its trequals operator, so “b.===(a)” would most likely be something quite different. This concept also means that the variable you’re testing in a case statement is being passed as a parameter to the trequals methods of the various case objects, not the other way around. These two snippets are equivalent:

case "St. Matthew Passion"
  when mozart

process_mozart_work if mozart === "St. Matthew Passion"

Note that the second snippet was not

process_mozart_work if "St. Matthew Passion" === mozart

It’s also good (although I’m not sure how useful) to know that the relationship operator is used implicitly by Ruby when rescuing errors in a begin-rescue block.

rescue ArgumentError, SyntaxError
rescue IOError
rescue NoMemoryError

In this example, Ruby runs ArgumentError.===, passing it the global variable $!, which holds the most recent error. If that returns false, it moves along, doing the same with SyntaxError, IOError, and NoMemoryError, each in turn. With errors, the trequals is defined to just compare the class of the error that occurred with that of each candidate class (in this case, ArgumentError, etc.) and its ancestors.

It took me a long time before I cared about this little Ruby feature, which I think is sad. I think I just saw the phrase “case equality” and thought something like “Hmm, another subtle variation on what it means for two objects to be equal. I’m sure I’ll have occasion to use this someday. I’ll figure it out then.” But it’s more useful than that, and I think it would get better traction without the specious nomenclature.

Ruby file trimming app

July 17th, 2009 by hals

We recently had an interesting experience with very large files. These were comma delimited files (.csv) containing hundreds of thousands of records, each with a dozen or so fields.








While testing the setup, we had smaller files to work with. The goal was to create a new file containing only the first field from each record.








During testing this was easily done by opening the file in a spreadsheet program (such as OpenOffice), which would split the records on the comma delimiter and place each field in a different column. Then, it was easy to select the first column and write it out to the new file.

On switching to production files, we discovered that OpenOffice has a limit of 65k rows – a fraction of what we needed. We then tried some other spreadsheet programs, which produced the same results. We knew there was at least one spreadsheet program that would work, but it was not open source.

At this point the comment was made: “well, we ARE ruby developers …”

And that lead to the following simple solution to the problem at hand.

With a few lines of ruby code, the source files could be read in, line by line, split on the comma delimiter, and the first entry written out to the destination file.

So, when the usual tools just don’t work – remember that a new ruby tool might be just around the corner.



#  trimfile.rb


require “rubygems”

require “ruby-debug”

class Trimfile

attr_accessor :fileName, :newFile

def initialize(fileName, newFile)

puts “\nSplit off first comma delimited item of each line.”

@fnam = fileName

if @fnam == nil then @fnam = “trimin.txt” end

@newfnam = newFile

if @newfnam == nil then @newfnam = “trimout.txt” end

linecount = 0

puts “\nFilenames – input: [email protected]}, output: [email protected]}”

aFile = File.new(@newfnam, “w”)

IO.foreach(@fnam) do |line|

aFile.puts line.split(‘,’)[0]

linecount += 1



puts “\nTotal lines: #{linecount}”



test = Trimfile.new(ARGV[0], ARGV[1])

Working with Git

June 19th, 2009 by Narshlob

This tutorial covers all the commands (hopefully) we’ll need for the projects we build here at PMA. If there’s anything that needs to be added to it, feel free to comment.

Starting with the basics, we’ll first cover retrieving a project:

git clone [repository]

This will get the currently active branch from the repository

Obviously you’ll want to do something with this newly retrieved working copy of the project. Let’s first create a branch for the new features/bug fixes we’ll be coding.

git checkout -b [newbranchname] origin

Ok, so we got a new branch. While we’re coding, it’s a good idea to commit tons of times to preserve the changes we’ve just made. Don’t worry about the log, we’ll make it pretty later. Just commit often.

git add [filename(s)]
git commit

If it’s a small change that doesn’t require much explanation, you can use these commands

git add *
git commit -m "The commit message"

Or, even shorter

git commit -a -m "The commit message"

You finished that feature so now it’s time to merge that branch with the master branch (or some other branch depending on what VCS (Version Control System) paradigm you/your team chose). First, you should make those hard-to-read commits less hard-to-read. Let’s rebase!
Please note that if you rebase after pushing to the repository, you will create problems for those pulling from that repository. Rebase changes the history of the project. Your teammates merges will not be fast-forward[able]. It won’t be pretty, trust me.

git rebase -i HEAD~[number of commits back]

You’ll now be looking at something similar to this:

pick ce86448 A random commit
pick a8564a9 Another random commit

How you order things in this editor will affect the order of the commits. Note that merge commits are not shown here. They aren’t editable.
Replacing “pick” with “edit” will allow you to edit the changes you made as well as the commit message.
After you’ve edited the files you wanted to edit, you can now

git add *


git commit --amend

and move on.

As I mentioned before, you have the opportunity to clean up the mess you made with all those many commits using the rebase option. Here’s how:

  1. Run the
    git rebase -i HEAD~[x]

    command from earlier

  2. Replace “pick” with “squash” on the commit you want to be combined with one exactly previous to it.
    pick ace72dd I squashed these commits. I'm cool.
    squash e99fd59 This commit will be sqaushed with the one above it
    pick d0770e8 commited again
    pick af845d0 I'm really committed

Pretty straight forward and easy. Everyone loves rebasing
If you want to know more about git-rebase, I recommend checking it out here.

Now, you’ve made all these changes and everything looks great. What are you gonna call this pretty new feature? Are you gonna tag it? I would..

git tag -a [fancy_feature] -m "A fancy message for a fancy feature"

If you happen to leave out the -m, git will open an editor and you’ll be able to add your fancy message there, just like with commit!
Read more about tags here.
One scenario for using tags could be that, within a project, one wants to keep track of versions. Each commit could be tagged with a version number like with bug fixes in some VCSs. If something goes wrong, it’s really simple to go back to a previous version using git rebase, as we’ve already shown.

You’ve squashed those ugly commits, changed the commit message(s), and tagged everything. Time to merge. Switch to the master branch (or whatever branch you’re wanting to merge with) and type this command which will merge [branchname] with the current branch:

git merge [branchname]

You’ll probably want to fix any conflicts and continue with the merge.
It’s now safe to delete [branchname] because all the changes from that branch are now on the current one.

git branch -d [branchname]

This next feature is pretty neat. Say you’ve done a bunch of changes that haven’t been committed yet and you realize you aren’t on a feature branch. Here’s what you do:

git stash
git stash branch [newbranchname]

This will stash away all uncommitted changes, create a new branch and check it out, then unstash all your stashed changes into that new branch. Awesome

Stash is also useful in scenarios where you don’t want to commit yet but you need to switch to a different branch and do something. You could stash the current changes using the above git stash command, do the needed changes, then switch back to the branch you were working on and use this command to unstash the changes:

git stash apply

It’s a good idea to check out the other things offered by git stash (git-stash)

To get this new branch into the origin repository, do:

git push origin [branchname]

To delete a branch from the origin repository, do:

git push origin :[branchname]

Don’t forget the colon!

Another scenario; your co-worker does some work on a feature and gets stuck. You don’t want to type on their computer cause yours is set up just the way you want it. Is there a solution to this quandary? Yeah. There is…
Tell them to push their changes then do this:

git fetch origin [remotebranchname]:[localbranchname]

You now have the branch they were working on locally and can modify to your hearts content.

Noteworthy Notes

There’s a difference between

git pull


git fetch

The difference is that “git pull” will run a “git fetch” then a “git merge” to merge the retrieved head into the current branch.

git log -p path/to/file.rb

This command will show the history of a specific file;

git blame path/to/file.rb

will go line by line in a file and give a short description + the name of the person that changed the line last (brilliant, actually)

From the Git manual

check it out
A few configuration variables (see git-config(1)) can make it easy to push both branches to your public tree. (See the section called “Setting up a public repository”.)

$ cat >> .git/config <
      [remote "mytree"]
           url =  master.kernel.org:/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/aegl/linux-2.6.git
           push = release
           push = test

Then you can push both the test and release trees using git-push(1):

git push mytree

or push just one of the test and release branches using:

git push mytree test


git push mytree release

To rebase your current working tree to obtain the changes from the master tree,
Suppose that you create a branch “mywork” on a remote-tracking branch “origin”, and create some commits on top of it:

git checkout -b mywork origin
$vi file.txt
$ git commit
$ vi otherfile.txt
$ git commit

You have performed no merges into mywork, so it is just a simple linear sequence of patches on top of “origin”:
o–o–o $ git checkout mywork $ git rebase origin

This will remove each of your commits from mywork, temporarily saving them as patches (in a directory named “.git/rebase-apply”), update mywork to point at the latest version of origin, then apply each of the saved patches to the new mywork. The result will look like:
o–o–O–o–o–o $ git rebase –continue

and git will continue applying the rest of the patches.
At any point you may use the —abort option to abort this process and return mywork to the state it had before you started the rebase:

The commands

Here’s a list of all commands covered in this tutorial:

Asynchronous Processing with Workling and Starling

June 18th, 2009 by fugufish

When working with applications whose actions may take some time to complete, it may be better to  handle the request asynchronously. A quick and easy way to do this is using Starling and Workling. Starling is a light weight message queue based on the Memcache protocol, and Workling is a simple, lightweight consumer. Setup is dead simple:

First, install Starling:

 sudo gem install starling 

This will install Starling and it’s dependencies (memcache-client and eventmachine) if you don’t already have them.

Now install Workling. This doesn’t have a gemspec so we will install it as a plugin:

cd ~/path_to_your_project
script/plugin install git://github.com/purzelrakete/workling.git

Finally, tell Workling, which will want to use Spawn by default if it is installed on your machine, to use Starling by placing this in your environment.rb:

Workling::Remote.dispatcher = Workling::Remote::Runners::StarlingRunner.new

That is it for the installation process! Easy. Now for actually handling requests. Believe it or not, it is just as simple as the installation. Say you have a controller that has to do several long running tasks:

class SkinnyController 

Now typically, you should avoid doing things that take longer than a few seconds to complete. And this is okay for most application requirements, however in some cases, it is inevitable that a few tasks will take much longer, such as above. That is where Workling comes in. Simply refactor the code into a worker (conveniently located in app/workers):

# app/workers/fat_worker.rb
class FatWorker 

Now, in your controller, call the worker:

class SkinnyController 

Just start up starling and workling (starling start, and script/workling_client start respectively) And that is all. You can now handle large tasks asynchronously, and because the tasks are queued with starling, the action can be called multiple times, and it will queue up the worker and process it as soon as the previous tasks are complete.

The Scan() Method for Regular Expressions

June 16th, 2009 by Chris Gunnels

As I was writing a simple script to display the education I received from reading The Ruby Way 2nd Edition chapters 2 and 3, I found a really neat method that helped me complete my task. If you didn’t read the title of this blog post then your out of luck, but if you read the title then you will know that I am talking about the scan() method.

Back to my script, since I wanted to find the number of occurrences white space showed up in a given string I had to come up with a way to count white space. My first thought was to do some regular expression matching. Well after a little thought and a lot of reading, I found a this:
Read the rest of this entry »

Setting PowerDNS To Ignore Records For Downed Web Sites

June 10th, 2009 by Aaron Murphy

If you are using PowerDNS for round robin on multiple websites, you can set it up so that it will return only the records for sites that are up. I set up a Ruby daemon to monitor sites and connect to the PowerDNS MySQL table used by PowerDNS on Rails. You can use any language or system you like. It just needs to be able to access your PowerDNS database. Read the rest of this entry »

Regular Expression Lookahead

June 10th, 2009 by Aaron Murphy

Using standard regular expressions is pretty easy for most tasks. However, there is one task that requires lookaheads. I am referring to using negative lookahead to check for strings that do not follow a desired match. The syntax is


where “someregexp” is a regular expression to match. The negative lookahead will reverse the logic for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Test?

June 10th, 2009 by fugufish

I come to PMA from a large corporation over 40,000 employees strong, including an entire army of QA Engineers testing every change and release we made, something we took full advantage of. At first, I was of the opinion (as many BDD converts) that the process of defining the and testing the code before actually writing the code would slow me down. As I moved more and more to BDD however, I found that I was completing tasks faster. The time saved comes from the ability to define how you expect your application to work. By doing this you will find that your actual code requires much less debugging. Things just seem to work. It continuously surprises me using BDD that things just work, so instead of spending hours looking for a mistyped association, I can spend those hours in actually coding.

Even with an army of QA Engineers, some bugs will sneak through. QA time on untested code takes longer, and debugging the code even longer than that. The release process can go from a day to several days, or even weeks.

With BDD, when new features are added to the application, it as easy as running your spec or test suite to ensure that the original functionality is undamaged. It of course seems like a no brainer to me now. It’s like looking back and remembering when you thought the world was flat, and seeing how narrow minded you were. The moral of the story? Test before you code! You fill find yourself with more time, and less headaches.

Ruby, what I’ve learned

June 9th, 2009 by Narshlob

Being a beginner at Ruby, I’ve found the language to be extremely easy to learn and use. Being used to, and fond of, the object oriented design pattern has made it fun for me to learn Ruby. The fact that everything in Ruby can be seen as an object makes it more intuitive for one that thinks that way.

The only thing that makes it somewhat difficult to program correctly would be the conventions that need to be learned. There is a lot of help out there to ease this burden though, so it’s not too big of a deal. Another thing about the language is the amount of functions available to do different tasks. There might be five different functions that do essentially the same thing. Using RDoc Documentation (http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/) or ri helps tremendously in learning what these functions are and how to use them.

Coming from a background in Java, it’s easy to expect that Ruby would be stringent about how things are to be done. This is not the case, however. The language seems to balance strict coding enforcement with an almost scripting language like syntax. This gives a fair amount of freedom in the style of coding a user can implement, instead of being tied down to one way of doing things. At the same time, one does not get a jumbled mess of code to sift through every time a bug appears (assuming the coding conventions and good coding practices in general are implemented).

I used to work for a company (which shall remain nameless ;) that used PHP for all of their projects. The one thing I’ve noticed in Ruby, and thoroughly enjoyed, is that you can take an array and instead of doing this

foreach($array as $key => $val)
    $$key = $val
    #or do something else with the key/value pair

it would be something as simple as this in Ruby,

array.each do |arr|
    #blah blah we do something

Much easier to read and much cleaner than PHP’s implementation, imo.

Good luck to everyone learning Ruby. You’re definitely in for a treat

As far as PMA Media group goes, what a company, I tell you what. These guys are awesome. They treat their employees in a way that encourages good work ethic without using negative reinforcement. So far, I have been looking forward to going to work since I’ve started here. Thanks guys :) cheapest college essays

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