ListenAddict Lets You Subscribe to a Person Like You Would to a Show

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In this episode of Running in Production, David Parker talks about building a service to subscribe to people with Ruby on Rails and Sapper. It’s hosted on Heroku ($30 / month) and has been up and running since November 2020.

David talks about creating an API back-end with Rails, trying out Svelte and Sapper, the challenges of scraping names from websites, figuring out and fixing PostgreSQL performance issues, finding a good work / life balance and more.

Topics Include

  • 3:27 – Motivation for using Ruby on Rails and Sapper / Svelte
  • 6:18 – Writing raw SQL queries before translating them to ActiveRecord
  • 7:36 – A few Ruby libraries that helped build this project
  • 9:37 – The challenges around scraping human names from various websites
  • 13:17 – The API Rails back-end is a monolithic app with about 100 endpoints
  • 15:44 – David pulls from 94 different sources to find new content
  • 19:06 – The Engtagger gem helps figure out stop words
  • 20:25 – Why did you go with an API back-end?
  • 21:43 – What Svelte and Sapper are and how they help build UIs
  • 25:34 – How the back-end and front-end communicate with each other
  • 28:29 – ~11k LOC on the back-end and ~5 LOC on the front-end
  • 30:49 – At the moment it’s a free service and there’s no ads too
  • 33:23 – What Sidekiq is being used for in terms of background jobs
  • 35:30 – Mailgun is being used to send all transactional emails
  • 37:34 – How the service might be monetized in the future (it’s $30 / month for hosting now)
  • 40:31 – Break down of Heroku Dynos and add-ons
  • 43:17 – Figuring out how to add new people and also using Cloudflare
  • 45:40 – The deployment process from development to production
  • 49:16 – The database is being backed up through Heroku
  • 52:00 – A features table is in the database to enable features for himself
  • 54:37 – Logentries will send out a notification if something goes down
  • 57:50 – What to look out for and how to fix certain performance issues with PostgreSQL
  • 1:01:09 – An example of when to consider breaking up a wide table into multiple tables
  • 1:05:22 – Best tips? Figure out your work / life balance and try the back-end / front-end split
  • 1:11:21 – Find David on Twitter, and his YouTube channel
📄 References
⚙️ Tech Stack
🛠 Libraries Used

Support the Show

This episode does not have a sponsor and this podcast is a labor of love. If you want to support the show, the best way to do it is to purchase one of my courses or suggest one to a friend.

  • Dive into Docker is a video course that takes you from not knowing what Docker is to being able to confidently use Docker and Docker Compose for your own apps. Long gone are the days of "but it works on my machine!". A bunch of follow along labs are included.
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May 31, 2021

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