The microservice architecture has recently been gaining traction, with many companies sharing their positive experiences with applying it. The early adopters have been tech behemoths such as Amazon and Netflix, or companies with huge user bases like SoundCloud. Based on the profiles of these companies and the assumption that there's more complexity to running and deploying many things than to deploying a single application, many people understand microservices as an interesting idea that does not apply to them. It's something that mere mortals could qualify for in the far distant future, if ever.

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Faster Rails: How to Check if a Record Exists

Ruby and Rails are slow — this argument is often used to downplay the worth of the language and the framework. This statement in itself is not false. Generally speaking, Ruby is slower than its direct competitors such as Node.js and Python. Yet, many businesses from small startups to platforms with millions of users use it as the backbone of their operations. How can we explain these contradictions?

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At Rendered Text, we like to decompose our applications into microservices. These days, when we have an idea, we think of its implementation as a composition of multiple small, self-sustaining services, rather than an addition to a big monolith.

In a recent Semaphore product experiment, we wanted to create a service that gathers information from multiple sources, and then emails a report that summarizes the data in a useful way to our customers. It's a good use case for a microservice, so let's dive into how we did it.

Our microservices stack includes Elixir, RabbitMQ for communication, and Apache Thrift for message serialization.

We designed a mailing system that consists of three parts:

  1. the main user-facing application that contains the data,
  2. a data-processing microservice, and
  3. a service for composing and sending the emails.

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Lightweight Docker Images

Lightweight Docker Images Speed Up Deployment

Deploying your services packaged in lightweight Docker images has many practical benefits. In a container, your service usually comes with all the dependencies it needs to run, it's isolated from the rest of the system, and deployment is as simple as running a docker run command on the target system. Read more...

If there is an Elixir library function that needs to be called, how can we be sure that all possible errors coming from it will be captured?

Elixir/Erlang vs. Mainstream Languages

Elixir is an unusual language because it functions as a kind of a wrapper around another language. It utilizes Erlang and its rock solid libraries to build new concepts on top of it. Erlang is also different compared to what one may call usual or mainstream languages, e.g. Java, C++, Python, Ruby, etc. in that it's a functional programming language, designed with distributed computing in mind.

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Having comprehensive logs is a massive life-saver when debugging or investigating issues. Still, logging too much data can have the adverse effect of hiding the actual information you are looking for. Because of these issues, storing your log data in a structured format becomes very helpful. Also, being able to track the number of occurrences and monitor their rate of change can be quite indicative of the underlying causes. This is why we decided to include the ELK stack in our architecture.

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