The Seventh Monkey of The Seventh Monkey

Shockey Monkey
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(those of you that picked up on the Iron Maiden reverence, you rock!)

Exciting Saturday night of coding and Shockey Monkey deployments. Big thanks to Armen Varjabedian of PropelNet, Robert Muir of Practical IT Services, Ken Edwards of Maverick Mesa and Garett Chipman of TVG Consulting who wasted their Saturday night to help deploy the new Shockey Monkey management engine. This is the backend management code that actually creates portals: creating the user accounts, copying files from cvs, setting up httpd.conf virtual servers, copying over caching includes, initializing the database, etc. For all it does it’s actually quite a slim piece of code, only 124 lines most of which are for error handling. It does run one monster SQL query that 341 lines to setup the db schema for your portal.

Why is this cool? (take it with a grain of salt, it’s 1AM Sunday and I’m excited about the evening of coding I just wrapped) It’s cool because this backend system allows me to manipulate data over the entire Shockey Monkey enterprise. For example, I can drop a single file or execute a single SQL query over 2,000 isolated virtual servers on demand. I can also link and team them together, relocate them (when Shockey Monkey grows it will have geographical locations which at this point look to include UK and Australia in addition to USA Dallas / LA.)

But, it’s not all good news. First, my management of these activations blows. The documentation blows. I’ve had to ask people to go look at 20 minutes worth of video 3 times so they would get the single 5 word sentance I said somewhere in the middle of it and didn’t highlight it enough. The process for registering/signing up for Shockey Monkey blows – you have 3 sites, 2 hoops, and two other places to deal with before you can even sign in. The process can take hours, days – or if you’re POM trying to get an SSL certificate with a .AU domain… well, prepare to wait. I aim to address all of these issues today, along with a web site, a single signup, single activation and more accountable activation process.

I’ve managed to create all this, yet it took doing it wrong 2,300 times to finally realize how to do it right. I might as well move to India.