Outage debriefing

posted by simon on Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I promised to write a little on our outage earlier this month. In short what happened was that our scripts suddenly stopped working. They would crash when reading a CGI parameter. The @params var in CGI was being set to an empty hash instead of an object with a special [] method (see here under Parameters. We suspect that Dreamhost had perhaps updated something or modified some Apache configuration to cause this sudden change. So I made a little "hello world" test page to attempt to recreate the problem. To my surprise the test page worked fine. After a lengthy period of making the real page successively more identical to the test page while swearing repeatedly I found that removing require 'haml' made the problem go away. Now Haml is a nifty little templating engine that I was using to render our html. (Actually I'd had a conversation with Daniel on the plane just days earlier about how I wanted to stop using Haml since it's benefits were minimal and it was one more place where things could go wrong. So I was right about that). Luckily it wasn't hard to revert back to the plain old html templates that I was using before installing Haml.

In defence of Haml, we were using 1.5 and the latest version was 1.7 at the time (now 1.8). Perhaps the bug (if it is a Haml bug) is fixed in a new release. But at this point I don't care. I still believe Dreamhost must have done some kind of update to something ruby related for this to have suddenly happened like it did, though their (excellent) support team were not able to verify this.

Thanks for the many messages of good-will and support we received via email, twitter and this blog. Surprisingly not a single negative message arrived during the outage. Which perversely makes me want to encourage some negative feedback. Come on guys, we can take it. :)

...and we're back

posted by simon on Monday, January 07, 2008

I'll tell you about it later. Let's just say for now that haml.rb is off my Christmas card list. Please let us know (via support@tiddlyspot.com) if you're still having problems.

EeePC user praises TiddlyWiki and Tiddlyspot

posted by simon on Monday, January 07, 2008

So what is TiddySpot? It is a free hosting service for TiddlyWiki. Setting up a wiki at TiddlySpot takes just a few seconds and it does not even require a potential user to jump through hoops. TiddlySpot even gives its users a choice on what type of TiddlyWiki they want to set up... A big bonus of using the TiddlySpot service is a user with a hosted TiddlyWiki can save a local copy and work with it offline, then synchronize changes whenever there is an internet service available (cool huh?).
Read the article here.

Major Outage

posted by simon on Monday, January 07, 2008

Apologies for the current outage. At present saving online is not working and you can't create new sites. This time we can't easily point the finger at Dreamhost, (even though our code was working fine one day and not the next). For some reason ruby's CGI class has stopped functioning properly and we've yet to find out why. Will let you know as soon as there is some progress. A speedy resolution has been hindered by the fact that I've just gotten back from my Christmas holidays. This is a frustrating time for the Tiddlyspot team. Please feel free to express your thoughts and emotions in the comments below...