Category Archives: Open Source

AMP has arrived!

Google's AMP project websiteThe announcement hit our inbox this morning: Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project – aka AMP – is officially out now. Previewed last October, AMP is an open source project for content creators who can now “create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.” Crucial stuff now as the Web’s primary viewership moves over to mobile devices!

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Swift now open source!

Swift logoBig News: Apple has just made its Swift language open source under the Apache 2.0 license. The company has also launched to facilitate this new chapter for its popular language which is used for both iOS and OS X development. offers downloads, compilers, documentation, community boards, and much more – situating itself as the go-to hub for all things Swift.

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NYC subway info systems derail

Old machinery at the MTACityLab recently published a fascinating story about the ongoing struggle to upgrade internal and customer-facing information systems in New York City’s subway system – the MTA. I highly recommend the read.

James Somers does a succinct job surveying the complexity – physical and human – of bringing large-scale change to a system that’s a hundred-plus years old, a utility depended upon by millions every single day. Though the MTA’s is a monumental endeavor, the issues will be painfully familiar to those of us involved in software development on smaller scales: entrenched systems, non-cooperative organizations and entities, non-existent requirements docs – the list is wince-inducing. It’s a clear-eyed view into the trials and tribulations of dragging a transportation system rooted in the 19th century into the 21st.

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ContainerDays NYC 2015

ContainerDays NYCThe ContainerDays (un)conference makes its way here to Gotham at the end of this month. Hosted in Microsoft’s Times Square offices, events will span two very full days: October 29th and 30th. There are great speakers lined up, a wide range of workshops for both the contanier newbie and the expert, and even a Thursday evening soirée at the AWS Pop-Up Loft in SoHo.

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Now Playing: A New Video Format

A new open source streaming video codec is coming

Tech giants Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Netflix are joining forces as the Alliance for Open Media and creating a new format for streaming video. This new format will be open source and they plan to release it under Apache License 2.0 – one of the most permissive open source licenses available. Unlike most current video formats, this codec can be used by any company to create or convert videos without paying a fee!

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ImageOptim: Save for Web

imageoptim logoThe average page size of the Top 100 websites is 1.6 MB. This is a hefty download for smartphones when WiFi is not available. Almost 70% of that 1.6 MB is images. Making sure that these images are optimized for the Web is of vital importance.

Tweaking settings in Photoshop when saving images for the Web can reduce the file size greatly. But there is a wonderful free tool that manages to squeeze out even more bytes without affecting the image quality: ImageOptim – a simple tool with a simple interface, but oh so very powerful!

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Storing sessions with Drupal

Drupal logoWhen developing a Web app with PHP, especially when using a framework or a CMS, most often you just don’t care about sessions. Less frequently, you store and access some information from a session, accessing it via language constructs (like “singleton” object (e.g. ZendSession  in Zend framework), some special wrapper functions or just $_SESSION  global). More often, though, you don’t bother monitoring how and where sessions are stored. But sometimes you should.

The basic purpose of this post is to talk about how, when developing a high-load website, to allow users to log on and access some personalized information. When you have hundreds of thousands hits per day, you should expect that tens of thousands users will log in to their respective accounts. That’s when you need to start caring about session storage. Continue reading