Monday, December 07, 2009

ScaleCamp - LittleBigPlanet

Alex and James from Fascinating perspective of embedded developers coming to server-programming and refusing to accept commonly held views on best practices for doing so. This was the surprise hit of the conference for me; I just elected to go since there wasn't anything else in that slot that I was really passionate about. I'd been talking to them both in the queue for tea earlier and made a poorly judged joke about Map-Reduce (we pretty much had this conversation). The session they ran was an awesome talk about scaling server-side within the games sector - Little Big Planet is theirs.

Written their own C-based key-data structure store, of which we're spoilt for choice just now. Alex commented that he's looked at Redis and it has some nice stuff, but when they came to need it, there wasn't anything that met their needs, and experience with running the recommended Java stack had left them with the impression that they should stick to what they know. What they know is writing very tight code in constrained environments, so applying that mind-set to server-side development seemed to have yielded some very pleasing numbers. Other parts are in Ruby (presumably 1.9, since they're using Fibers?). I didn't get around to asking James how well that works or which implementation they're using. Very happy with that programming model though - James is or was a Java guy - funny how nice Ruby feels coming from there!

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