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SwitchPipe is a backend process manager and HTTP proxy that makes (especially Ruby) web app deployment simple. NOW OBSOLETE. DO NOT USE.
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README

SwitchPipe 1.05
By Peter Cooper
~~~~ February 10, 2008 (development began January 11, 2008)
switchpipe@peterc.org

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THE LATEST, CANONICAL DOCUMENTATION FOR SWITCHPIPE IS LOCATED AT:
http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web

THE DOCUMENTATION BELOW IS INCLUDED MERELY TO HELP IF YOU'RE IN A RUSH OR UNABLE 
TO VISIT THE ONLINE VERSION. IT IS INCOMPLETE, SECTIONS MAY BE INACCURATE, AND 
THE ONLINE DOCUMENTATION EXPLAINS A LOT MORE AND IS MORE UP TO DATE.

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WHAT IS SWITCHPIPE?
-------------------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/introduction-overview

SwitchPipe is a proof of concept "Web application server." More accurately,
it's a Web application process manager and request dispatcher / proxy. Backend 
HTTP-speaking applications (Web applications) do not run directly within
SwitchPipe, but are loaded into their own processes making SwitchPipe language
and framework agnostic.

SwitchPipe takes control of, and manages, the backend application processes, 
including loading and proxying to multiple instances of each application in a
round-robin style configuration. As an administrator, you can define the maximum
number of backend processes to run for each app, along with other settings so 
that you do not exceeded preferred resource limits. SwitchPipe quickly removes
processes that "break" or otherwise outlive their welcome. For example, you can
let SwitchPipe kill any backend processes that have not been accessed for, say,
20 seconds. This makes hosting many multiple Rails applications, for example, a
quick and non-memory demanding process, ideal for shared hosting environments.

SwitchPipe proxies incoming HTTP requests at the TCP level, using information 
extracted from the HTTP request and headers to work out which backend application
is required to handle the request.

SwitchPipe's goal is to be:

  * super easy to configure
  * the easiest way to deploy multiple HTTP-talking backend applications
  * painless in terms of management; no hand-holding of different applications is needed
  * a permanent daemon that can handle configuration changes in backend apps "on the fly"
  * a reliable solution on Linux and OS/X (and anything POSIX compatible, ideally)


QUICK INSTALL / STEPS TO SEEING A QUICK DEMO OF SWITCHPIPE
----------------------------------------------------------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/installation-instructions

Run the "demo" script from SwitchPipe's base directory:
  # ./script/demo

The "demo" script does everything that the manual process below does, except it runs
SwitchPipe as a daemon temporarily, does one test request, then closes down and
cleans up.

OR DO IT "THE MANUAL WAY" (preferred by all true hackers)...

Install dependencies:
  # sudo gem install daemons eventmachine open4

Instate configuration file:
  # cp config.yml.example config.yml

Move application configurations for the demo apps into the "apps" directory:
  # mv demo_apps/*.yml apps/

Run SwitchPipe as an interactive process:
  # ./script/switchpipe run

Visit these URLs in a browser:
  http://127.0.0.1:10000/webrick_thing/
  http://127.0.0.1:10000/python_http_server/ (won't run unless Python is installed)
  http://127.0.0.1:10000/camping_demo_app/ (won't run unless Camping is installed)

You should notice SwitchPipe start and manage the relevant processes, killing them
whenever the timeouts kick in. Use CTRL+C to break out of SwitchPipe's non-daemonized
mode. In future use ./script/switchpipe start and ./script/switchpipe stop to start
and stop SwitchPipe as a daemonized process.

Information about setting up SwitchPipe as a system service in /etc/init.d, etc, is
available within SwitchPipe's online documentation.


THE KEY STEPS TO GETTING STARTED FOR YOUR OWN APPS
--------------------------------------------------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/setting-up-your-own-webapps-with-switchpipe
(significantly more up to date than this)

1) Put YAML files into /apps
	Example for Rails:
		path: /Users/peter/dev/rails/app1
		type: mongrel_rails
		max_instances: 6
		timeout: 60

	Example for WEBrick / regular app:
		path: demo_apps
		cmd: ruby webrick_thing [[PORT]]
		single_threaded: false

	Example for Camping:
		path: demo_apps
		cmd: camping -p [[PORT]] camping_demo.rb
		max_instances: 1
		timeout: 15

2) Make sure config.yml exists, by copying config.yml.example to config.yml and tweaking.

3) Run ./script/switchpipe run  
   Note: This runs it as a regular process, not daemonized.
         To daemonize use ./script/switchpipe start and ./script/switchpipe stop

4) Make your main HTTP server (Apache / Nginx / whatever) proxy requests to SwitchPipe at directories with the same name as the YAML files you made.
	Example: If your YAML file is some_rails_app.yml, then proxy to http://switchpipe-host.example.com/some_rails_app/
			 If your YAML file is acampingapp.yml, then proxy to http://switchpipe-host.example.com/acampingapp/
			
	mod_proxy / <VirtualHost> example:
	         ProxyPass / http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/
             ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/

    .htaccess example (useful so that Apache can serve static files!):
             RewriteEngine On
             RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
             RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/$1 [P]

5) Enjoy watching the output of SwitchPipe as it starts and stops backend processes as you access the different apps.


EXAMPLE OF ADDING AN APPLICATION
--------------------------------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/setting-up-your-own-webapps-with-switchpipe

Let's say you've developed a Rails application and you want SwitchPipe to manage it. Just 
create a new YAML file in /apps called rails_app_name.yml (or anything, but the base name
of the file name is used as the app's identifier), and drop in a few lines like so:

path: /path/to/the/rails/app
type: mongrel_rails
max_instances: 6
timeout: 8

Restart SwitchPipe, or merely wait a few seconds until it picks up the new file itself, and
the application is made available, with up to six backend processes, in seconds at
a directory just off of SwitchPipe's main URL. For example: http://switchpipe/rails_app_name

You can deploy Camping, Merb, or even plain old WEBrick apps in the same way. As long
as it can be run at a prompt, given a specific port to run on, and talk HTTP, SwitchPipe will
deploy it. That goes for Ruby and non-Ruby apps.

To complete the setup, you would then configure your normal Apache, nginx, or other
main HTTP daemon to forward requests to a particular domain / virtual host / directory
through to SwitchPipe at the relevant folder. For example, from Apache <Virtualhost>
directives:

  ProxyPass / http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/
  ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/

An even better way to do it, if possible, is from a .htaccess file. Example:

  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
  RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:10000/rails_app_name/$1 [P]

The benefit of this technique is that static files can be served up by Apache at usual
breakneck speed!

No more port numbers. No more setting up individual clusters for different apps. No
more worrying about how different frameworks handle clustering. Hurrah!

Note that a "hostname" config variable can also be used on applications to serve up the
application through SwitchPipe DIRECTLY. This means you can serve up apps WITHOUT Apache
or Nginx in front of SwitchPipe!


TO DOS
------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/todos-limitations

 * Improve error handling
 * Web-accessible status / information URL
 * Caching (potentially)
 * Test suite
 * Test SwitchPipe on more platforms and architectures (OS X and Linux on i386/686 tested so far)
 * Improve documentation and Web site
 * Stream HTTP message bodies over a certain size to backend apps rather than buffer the whole lot in SwitchPipe
   (this becomes a necessity when dealing with huge HTTP uploads, say)

CONTRIBUTORS
------------

 - Peter Cooper is / was the primary developer of SwitchPipe (so far).
 - Jason Stirk provided a key patch in April 2008 that resolved hanging issues.
 - Mike Auclair provided a fix so that trailing slashes are not necessary on app names

"LICENSE"
---------
Online @ http://groups.google.com/group/switchpipe/web/licensing-information

This work is hereby released into the Public Domain. To view a copy of the public 
domain dedication, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/publicdomain/ or send
a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, 
California, 94105, USA.

SwitchPipe is distributed and made available with the freedoms of the
public domain, but with a stern reminder to be ethical.

This software / content / other work is released into the public 
domain. Do what you want with it, but may your conscience and 
moral compass encourage you to be a good guy (or gal). Being good means:

 * Not using the same, identical name or title for any substantially
   different or derived works in such a way that confusion could be
   caused amongst other users.

 * Providing the original author(s) with feedback, notices, patches
   or credit relating to further extended usage of the work. It's
   only the decent thing to do.

THE WORK IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, 
EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES
OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES
OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR 
OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE
OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THIS WORK.

Note: If you or your company REQUIRES a license for SwitchPipe (e.g.
company policy), Peter Cooper can prove you with one for a fee. Contact
details can be found at http://www.petercooper.co.uk/. The same applies
to anyone who wishes to support Peter Cooper in his work on SwitchPipe.
Thank you.
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