Web sites are moving towards becoming single web applications, offering users a richer and smoother user experience. We wanted the NET-A-PORTER website to follow a similar approach, taking advantage of the new features and APIs available in HTML5 browsers.
In the Labs team here at Net-A-Porter, we have been using Amazon EC2 to run small proof-of-concept web applications, and we have enjoyed working with it. In under a minute, you can fire up a new server in the cloud and SSH in. That is incredibly useful when you want to get something up-and-running quickly.
We have learnt a few lessons along the way which I’d like to share in this post. Just to reiterate: we have been using EC2 for small prototypes, so the suggestions below are targeted at small dev teams who don’t have backgrounds in system admininstration. The suggestions are going to be less relevant if you are running large-scale production systems in EC2.
[Some notes on a talk given by Peter Sergeant]
Back in ancient history, when people started creating dynamic web pages, the CGI specification was born. It defined the interface between the web server and the program that was generating the page. The program read input from STDIN and the environment, and wrote output to STDOUT.
CGI turned out to be a rather slow way to generate dynamic pages. So, people developed faster methods such as mod_perl and fastcgi. Each of these had different interfaces. This made it hard, for example, to take a CGI application and run it under mod_perl,
We’re going to cover:
- The Concept
- Our Technical Approach and Challenges (For the devs)
- Our Design Evolution (For the designers/UX)
- Video Production Considerations (For the producers)