This repository has been archived by the owner. It is now read-only.

Realtime web applications with streaming REST

Ben Oakes edited this page Apr 23, 2012 · 8 revisions

Presenter: Brad Gessler @bradgessler


I'm the CTO at Poll Everywhere, the worlds largest mobile survey platform, and I love building stuff. I've been hacking Rails since 1.x, full embraced REST, and haves since extended the concept to make building realtime Rails application easier.


As more people collaborate on the web with your applications, its not enough to just persist data to the database; it needs to be pushed out to your users web browsers so that they're always working with the freshest data.

In this session, Brad will show how to build a real-time layer on top of an existing Rails application's authorization and resource logic so that you can build on top of the hard work already invested in your Rails application.

Topics that will be discussed include:

  • Why I didn't choose Socket.IO
  • Stream application resources into Backbone.js models to keep data fresh
  • Hook into ActiveRecord to push representations of data into a message queue
  • Message queue naming conventions public/private resource streams
  • Exposing message queues to HTTP
  • Securing streams with existing application authorization logic
  • Considerations for streaming in a production environment

Memorable Quotes

  • "If you build something for the web that doesn't work with curl, it's too complicated"


From @benjaminoakes

  • (I got here late :( )
  • For realtime apps
  • Long polling
    • The simplest solution is a variation on setInterval
    • Caching can help a lot ("throw a lot of RAM at the problem")
    • You'll get a bunch of "exceeded the rate limit" errors from Airbrake
    • Doesn't work at scale (large systems/streams)
  • Monolithic apps * For larger development teams, monolithic apss can slow things down * "Rails App Maximus" * Makes it hard to do realtime streaming * Break app down into smaller pieces (e.g. all talk to JSON API) * Cache the hell out of the client apps (and even the JSON API) * Still not streaming yet...

New structure:

Mobile Web App | Desktop App | SMS App
              JSON API
     App        |       Stream
  • Socket.IO didn't feel right (was a really early version)
    • Pushing data up becomes a problem
    • Too much / too little on API focus he was interested in
    • Mutiplexing is good though; but they don't have that need
  • Another option: Meteor
  • They built their own
    • "What problem are we trying to solve?" Pushing data!
    • Sockets aren't the problem
    • Sending data to/from (requests)
    • Really just need requests + push data
    • (his) + Backbone.js
    • Uses WebSockets (I think?)
    • Firehose distributes to connected clients
    • Thin + RabbitMQ (have to use Thin)
    • Rather than flaky connection, RabbitMQ keeps the connection
    • Kind of like a mailbox
    • Two transports: long polling and WebSockets
      • Android has to long poll when not supporting WebSockets
      • IE6 uses Flash WebSockets
    • Not very invasive
    • Authorization proxy with Goliath
    • Not coupled to RabbitMQ as backend
      • He wants to try Redis, Erlang, node.js, etc
    • You can help!

External Links

A crowd-sourced conference wiki!
Working together is better. :)

Clone this wiki locally
You can’t perform that action at this time.
You signed in with another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session. You signed out in another tab or window. Reload to refresh your session.
Press h to open a hovercard with more details.