Politico Europe Is a Business to Business News and Data Service

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In this episode of Running in Production, Karl Roos goes over building a B2B news and data platform with Rails, Node and Python. It’s hosted on AWS using Elastic Beanstalk and has been up and running since 2014.

Karl talks about writing a Rails API back-end, scraping 400+ sites, executing 500k+ daily jobs, using a bunch of AWS resources, what it’s like dealing with a ~500 GB MySQL database, the importance on taking action and more.

Topics Include

  • 1:55 – What type of application we are talking about here?
  • 4:41 – Switching from PHP to a combo of Rails and Node
  • 8:02 – A few useful Ruby gems that were used to help build the app
  • 9:41 – The Vue front-end is for a customer facing dashboard
  • 14:48 – Where D3.js is being used to render charts and the data pipeline
  • 17:43 – Scraping data from 400+ sites and dealing with edge cases
  • 21:38 – The scraper runs on 10-16 EC2 instances through Elastic Beanstalk
  • 26:04 – Each separate service lives in its own git repository and a bit of Serverless
  • 31:06 – Sticking with the latest stable version of Rails and updating dependencies
  • 33:10 – Sprinkles of Python to glue together a few AWS services and translating languages
  • 36:11 – What it’s like using Elastic Beanstalk and executing 500k+ jobs a day
  • 40:04 – Initial AWS credits helped sway the decision to try out AWS initially
  • 43:47 – How CloudFormation and Terraform are being used
  • 48:59 – All devs can push to production, code reviews, linting and the deploy process
  • 54:21 – Dealing with database migrations and a ~400-500 GB data set
  • 1:01:17 – Getting a local dump of the DB in development, seeding data and secrets
  • 1:06:03 – Database backups are done with the built in RDS snapshots
  • 1:10:19 – Best tips? Less thinking, more doing and learn from your experiments
  • 1:11:35 – Karl is on GitHub and Twitter
📄 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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Jul 26, 2021

✏️ Edit on GitHub