not merely necessary to life

After we have fastcgi working for Catalyst, we then need a proxy http service to actually to the page response work.  There are a number of solutions available to handle this but recently I have been messing with nginx.  nginx is a fastcgi compatible web server designed specifically for speed and quickness. While nowhere near as feature complete as Apache, it provides enough functionality to host some very large, vary busy web service companies.

In the interest of total disclosure, a fairly significant portion of the information I am provided I gleaned off an outstanding tutorial by Richard Wallman.  Basically you need to create a new server instance config file for your new nginx application proxy.  Open a text editor as root and create a new file /etc/nginx/config.d/mynewserver.conf and add following:

server {
# Let’s have a server alias as well

access_log  /var/log/nginx/mysite.access.log;
root   /usr/share/nginx/html;

# Serve static content statically
expires +30d;
location /static {
add_header Cache-control public;
root /usr/share/nginx/html/root/;

# We pass the rest to our FastCGI application server
location /  {
# We also set some headers to prevent proxies
add_header Pragma “no-cache”;
add_header Cache-control “no-cache, must-revalidate, private, no-store”;
expires -1s;

# Where our FastCGI app server is listening

include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_NAME     /;
fastcgi_param   PATH_INFO       $fastcgi_script_name;

If the line with fastcgi_pass is the same as the fastcgi ip address then you should be in good shape.  The other thing to notice about the configuration above tis the location /static this forwards requests for static content directly through nginx without using cgi.  This creates less overhead and faster responses for things like images, css, and javascript.

More later, my kids are in the middle of a mean rendition of chop sticks.

The great growling engine of change

To implement SSL through a Perl Catalyst application it is necessary to use an SSL proxy to relay the HTTP requests through HTTPS.  This setup also means we can use fastcgi for lightweight web calls instead of a full http server with all the overhead that requires.  That said, it has not been entirely straightforward setting-up the proxy.  Therefor, I have started some documentation on getting my current setup running.

This tutorial was what I used to get my companies Catalyst/CouchDB application running on a non-local environment because the official Catalyst tutorial was somewhat… lacking.

To get started we configure fastcgi.  Catalyst kindly provides a fastcgi handler as part of our build screens during project creation. To be able to use the fastcgi handler with a http proxie we need to setup Catalyst to use an internal ip port (much like using sockets or an internal bus) and then we configure our http proxy to listen to forward requests on that internal port.  A quick example test looks something like this:

script/ -l -n 5

For long term use you will want to setup the system to run it as a service and start that service during boot.  Here is an example that works for sysinit on Fedora:

#! /bin/sh
# Provides: catalyst-projectname
# Required-Start: $local_fs $network
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $network
# Default-Start: 3 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 2 4 6
# Short-Description: Starts the FastCGI app server for the “projectname” catalyst site
# Description: The FastCGI application server for the “projectname” catalyst site

# Source function library.
. /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions

# Source networking configuration.
. /etc/sysconfig/network

OPTS=”-l -n 5″
DESC=”projectname Application Server”

test -f $DAEMON || exit 0
# Check that networking is up.
[ “$NETWORKING” = “no” ] && exit 0

# set -e

echo -n “Starting $DESC: ”
# echo “$NAME.”
daemon $DAEMON $OPTS
[ $retval -eq 0 ] && touch $lockfile
return $retval

echo -n “Stopping $DESC: ”
# echo “$NAME.”
killproc -p $pidfile $NAME
[ $retval -eq 0 ] && rm -f $lockfile
return $retval

# echo “$NAME.”

case “$1” in
sleep 5
echo “Usage: $N {start|stop|reload|restart|force-reload}” >&2
exit 1

exit 0

I will post more soon, but for now this was what I needed to get things started.

the whole world is here for me to see

A self inflicted hard reboot caused a bad block write on my Fedora 16 laptop the other day.  Usually this isn’t much of a problem (I have been using Linux everyday for about 12 years now) but I discovered something; something I didn’t know until AFTER the reboot.

Fedora 16 has changed to a using GPT disk labels instead of the old standard DOS partition labels.  While this is a HUGE improvement over a system that has been in place over 30 years now; it does lend to some problems when debugging issues because I have not used this format before.

So over the last couple weeks I have lived with some bad blocks and simply exited out of the rescue boot to complete the boot process (as I tried, without any luck, to fix my problem the old way.)  Well, the solution finally presented itself.  Not only will the updated Linux fsck command fix the problem now, but this solution will fix most system hard drive sector issues; and it is easy.

From the rescue command prompt type:


To identify the block partitions that are present on the system.  Read your crash error message and identify the bad partition by name; and then locate the partition name in the results of blkid.  Finally run:

fsck -y  /dev/mapper/root.hd-1

Replacing /dev/mapper/root.hd-1 with the full correct path of the drive partition name provided by blkid.  Then finish your boot and go back to the rest of your wonderful Linux experience.

The Hand That Feeds

I have been doing a fair amount of programming lately and undoubtedly this leads to counterproductive lifestyle behaviors while I am deep “in the code.”  Obvious examples include eating pizza three or more times a day, drinking a couple gallons of coffee (always black) at a sitting, failure to exercise (or even leave my chair for that matter), and listening to music at volumes that are generally reserved for the decks of aircraft carriers.  In most cases the music is some mix of metal, techno, or industrial (or in this case all three.)  Because of recent soundtracks for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Social Network”, I have degenerated to listening to everything ever produced by Trent Reznor.  A habit, I am curtain, will continue until I burn it out of my system and move on to something moderately less abusive… like maybe The Prodigy??!?

So as not to be alone in my depravity, here is the current Top 11 list of favorite Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor songs in order of preference:

  1. The Hand That Feeds, With Teeth
  2. Dead Souls, The Crow Soundtrack
  3. Immigrant Song, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Soundtrack
  4. Head Like A Hole, Pretty Hate Machine
  5. In Motion, The Social Network Soundtrack
  6. Just Like You Imagined, The Fragile
  7. We’re In This Together, The Fragile
  8. Terrible Lie, Pretty Hate Machine
  9. Hurt, The Downward Spiral
  10. Closer, The Downward Spiral
  11. Only, With Teeth

And while it probably deserves its own list here is an excellent sampling of some of Trent’s slower tempo ballads:

  1. Hurt, The Downward Spiral
  2. Something I Can Never Have, Natural Born Killers Soundtrack
  3. Leaving Hope, And All That Could Have Been