Snip: clone using Express and Redis

I’ve been wanting to learn and write something using Redis and Nodejs for the past few days. While scouring the Internet for knowledge I came across this article that describes how to implement a simple clone using Redis and nodejs. I used this article as ‘inspiration’ and modified their sample application.

Instead of using Nerve for routing and returning html in the form of a string, I decided to use Express to build the application and Jade for the templates. I also replaced Pygmentize, used for syntax highlighting, with a Javascript syntax highlighter. Lastly, I swapped the Redis module ‘redis-client’ with the recommended ‘redis’ module instead. I then rewrote the application using these new tools.

Code is here. 


On Django

A week or two ago I started learning Django, and wrote my first app, a simple contacts book thingy. Right from the get go, I was amazed by how everything felt so natural in Django, at least to me. The MTV pattern seemed really intuitive and I had no problem diving right in and creating an app. The Django documentation is extremely well written and answered all the questions I had while coding. Even though I was creating my first Django app, I had no problems in incorporating generic views, model forms, pagination etc. In order to have database migration support (yes, I kept changing the schema even for a simple app :p) I installed South and everything was smooth sailing from there. The last thing I want to add to the app is search capabilities, and for this I’ve decided to use the Haystack application. I’m pretty sure this is overkill for such a simple app, but I wanted to try out this application and hence decided to throw it in.

After working with Django, I’ve decided to go back and give Rails another go. I’ve almost completely forgotten all the concepts from Rails, and I would love to refresh my memory. 

Mozilla World Series of Hack

Sam and I took part in Mozilla’s World Series of Hack held on 7/22/11 7.30pm to 7/23/11 7.30am. The rules of this contest were slightly different from previous hackathons I’ve attended: contestants were allowed to start work on their projects as early as 7/15. They would then have 12 hours to work on it during the event and then they must demo at 8.00am. 

Sam and I had an idea that we started working on sometime around 7/19, but on the day of the competition we decided to completely change our idea and build something in the 12 hour period.

We wanted to implement a clone in 12 hours. Our concept revolved around a social music experience, where peers (users) connected to hubs (channels) and within a hub they could play music that would be heard by all peers connected to that hub. Each hub would have a ‘now-playing’ queue and songs added by peers would get added to this queue. Everyone present in the hub could also chat with other users present in the hub.

We implemented our idea using node.js, making heavy use of the awesome NowJS library for communication between the server and the clients. All audio playback was handled using html5.

NowJS is a wonderful library, and it was no suprise that a LOT of teams at the event took full advantage of it’s capabilities. The guys from NowJS were also at the event and were super helpful. 

Overall, the event was a great experience, and I learnt a lot in 12 hours. Kudos to Mozilla and the engineers from all the other companies who helped make WSOH kickass.



I’ve been in California for 3 weeks now and I’ve been having a blast! Work is great and being with friends and family is always a good time.

I’ve started work on my secret project, but have been having misgivings about it since yesterday. More specifically, I’m concerned about the fact that what I’m building is not how I pictured my idea. I’ve decided to stop development for a few days and think more seriously about the purpose of the application. I think I have a good idea, it’s just that I feel that I’m not executing it correctly. In the meantime, I’ll be working on the other items on my Summer to-do list. Also, I think I’m going to take up running on the days that I don’t bike to work 😐