But every now and then I have an itch to scratch.
For the last year and a half, I’ve wanted to “fix” a piece of our internal monitoring system at craigslist. We have a home-grown system for gathering metrics across all our systems every minute as well as storing, alerting, and reporting on that data. One piece of that is a plotting tool that has a web interface which lets you choose a metric (like CpuUser or LoadAverage), time frame, and hosts. When you click the magic button, it sends those selections to a server that pulls the data, feeds it to gnuplot, and then you get to see the chart. It’s basic but useful.
However, I wanted a tool that gave me more control, took advantage of the fact that I have a lot of CPU power and RAM right here on my computer, and make prettier charts. I wanted easier selection of hosts and metrics (with auto-complete as you type instead of really big drop-down lists), plotting of multiple metrics per chart, and a bunch of other stuff. So I went back to a few bookmarks I’d collected over the last year or two and set about building it.
As with most things, the initial learning curve was steep. But I eventually started to feel a little comfortable and productive. I had a few patterns for how to get things done and, most importantly, I understood how they worked. So I was able to piece together a first version with all the minimal functionality I thought would be good to have. Yesterday I made that first version available internally. There’s already a wishlist for future features, but I’m happy with what I have as a starting point.
It feels like I stretched parts of my brain that don’t normally get much of a workout. I like that.
I look forward your next book on the subject, it’ll definitely be a masterpiece 😉
I’m not sure if I should say welcome to the dark side or turn back, this is not the way. Let’s go with welcome!
Any way you could fix the encoding on the “Best of Craigslist” listings? The BOC pages show up as UTF-8 while the rest of the site (for me, at least) is ISO-8859-1 (Western). I guess this is some sort of global setting for http://www.craigslist.org vs. the local subdomains? On BOC, this bug often results in question marks where there should be double-quotes or single-quotes. (My guess is that the original ISO-8859-1 text is copied into a UTF-8 database without changing its encoding along the way.) Manually changing the encoding on these pages to ISO-8859-1 fixes the problem.
This occurs in Firefox 3, Safari 5, and Opera 10 on Mac OS X 10.6.
Doh! I’ll point out internationalization guy at that problem.
Cool, glad I could help. It’s been that way for years. Just to give some examples:
There are more. Just wanted to give an update since these pages are definitely in the minority, and a quick look might not turn them up.