Multiple DB connections in Rails/ActiveRecord

You might often want to connect to different databases using ActiveRecord. Here’s how you do it:

#DB definitions:

class DatabaseCurrent < ActiveRecord::Base
  self.abstract_class = true
  establish_connection settings['database']

class DatabaseOld < ActiveRecord::Base
  self.abstract_class = true
  establish_connection settings['database2']

#Model definitions (current):

class Video < DatabaseCurrent
  belongs_to :user

  set_table_name :videos

class Photo < DatabaseCurrent
  belongs_to :user

  set_table_name :photos

class User < DatabaseCurrent
  has_many :videos
  has_many :photos

  set_table_name :user

class Tag < DatabaseCurrent
  set_table_name :tag

#Model definitions (old):

class FileDB < DatabaseOld
  set_table_name :file

Pretty easy. The only thing to note is that you should set_table_name, otherwise, AR chokes up. Also, often you want to directly play directly with SQL. Unfortunately, ActiveRecord::Base.execute doesn’t work any longer (coz it doesn’t have a connection), but you can do it this way:


That’s the tutorial for the day!

OpenSocial and Facebook

A lot has been said about OpenSocial and Facebook, this is an attempt to say a bit more. As usual, a free-flowing list of observations:

  • Google uses Javascript as its base client-side language and extends gadgets with OpenSocial features. This I consider “good enough” but perhaps more importantly has a much lower barrier to adoption. The way a FB app is delivered (request-mapping, restricted FBML, fine-grained privilege control) feels much more professional, but at the same time a bit intimidating for newbies to the field. Libraries for almost all languages (esp. rfacebook) lower the barrier, but it’s never as simple as a .xml file which is mostly html and javascript (this is what a gadget is).
  • It’s currently not clear how OpenSocial apps communicate between each other across networks and how one app maps a user profile in one network to another. Without this, it’s mostly a single API which works across multiple containers in isolation. A single API that collates multiple containers is much more interesting.
  • Is there any set of UI guidelines? Is a gadget supposed to emulate the look and feel of its container or is it supposed to look the same across networks? Facebook provides extensive CSS classes and Javascript goodies (AJAX friend selector) to keep the experience uniform. I hope OpenSocial addresses this and soon. on MacOSX

I’m loving for developing tiny web apps. Here’s how to get it going on a Mac:

sudo port -v install python2.4 py-setuptools mysql5
#coz macports insists on adding a '5' suffix to all mysql5 tools.
sudo ln -s /opt/local/bin/mysql_config5 /opt/local/bin/mysql_config
sudo easy_install cheetah markdown MySQL-python DBUtils

Not the twenty odd steps that’s on the page (that even includes installing and configuring postgresql – bizarre!).

What I love about is that this small bit of code:
import web

urls = (
'/', 'index')

class index:
    def GET(self):
        print "Hello, world!"

if __name__ == "__main__":, globals())

… and running python in a terminal gets you a working dev environment. Even camping doesn’t feel this tiny.

Edit: the performance numbers for this simple action are also very impressive:

time httperf --client=0/1 --server=localhost --port=8080 --uri=/ --send-buffer=4096 --recv-buffer=16384 --num-conns=10000 --rate=500
httperf --client=0/1 --server=localhost --port=8080 --uri=/ --rate=500 --send-buffer=4096 --recv-buffer=16384 --num-conns=10000 --num-calls=1
Maximum connect burst length: 17

Total: connections 10000 requests 10000 replies 10000 test-duration 20.000 s

Connection rate: 500.0 conn/s (2.0 ms/conn, <=24 concurrent connections)
Connection time [ms]: min 0.1 avg 1.8 max 2987.4 median 0.5 stddev 42.2
Connection time [ms]: connect 0.7
Connection length [replies/conn]: 1.000

Request rate: 500.0 req/s (2.0 ms/req)
Request size [B]: 60.0

Reply rate [replies/s]: min 499.8 avg 500.0 max 500.0 stddev 0.1 (4 samples)
Reply time [ms]: response 1.0 transfer 0.0
Reply size [B]: header 108.0 content 14.0 footer 2.0 (total 124.0)
Reply status: 1xx=0 2xx=10000 3xx=0 4xx=0 5xx=0

CPU time [s]: user 3.75 system 9.17 (user 18.7% system 45.8% total 64.6%)
Net I/O: 88.9 KB/s (0.7*10^6 bps)

Errors: total 0 client-timo 0 socket-timo 0 connrefused 0 connreset 0
Errors: fd-unavail 0 addrunavail 0 ftab-full 0 other 0
httperf --client=0/1 --server=localhost --port=8080 --uri=/ --send-buffer=409  3.75s user 9.17s system 64% cpu 20.028 total

That’s 10K connections and more than 500req/s in a 20 sec timeframe. Really good.