Archive for September, 2013

Amazon CloudFront wildcard cache invalidation

September 28, 2013

I have written several blog posts about the shortcomings of Amazon CloudFront.

One of the most important issues that I forgot to include was its limited cache invalidation capabilities.

Whilst you can invalidate an object with Amazon CloudFront you cannot use wildcards or regular expressions to invalidate objects.

For example if you had 10,000 products under

With Amazon CloudFront you cannot invalidate using a wildcard

Nor can you invalidate the cache using a regular expression.

You have to invalidate URLs individually!

Just knowing the URLs you need to invalidate can be problematic. A work around is to process the Amazon CloudFront log files so you know which URLs have been requested and then call the Amazon CloudFront API for every URL to invalidate it. However, this is both time consuming, slow and error prone.

You can find more about the limitations

Econsultancy guest blog post

September 24, 2013

I have just had my first guest blog article posted on Econsultancy.

Click here to read the article on How to optimise your images for SEO

Amazon CloudFront Error Handling Enhancements

September 24, 2013

Amazon has just announced two minor enhancements to CloudFront that allow to you to configure how CloudFront handles error responses for your website. For instance, a user might request objects that don’t exist (and receive a 404 Not Found response) or a user you haven’t authorized might attempt to download an object you have secured using CloudFront’s private content feature (and receive a 403 Forbidden response). Previously, CloudFront would respond with a standard HTML page that would be cached for 5 minutes. These two new features provide you with more control over error responses:

  • Custom Error Pages allow you to serve error pages with your own branding and content. For example, you can now help your visitors navigate to other sections of your website when they request an invalid URL, or you can configure a static page to serve as a fallback for failure of an origin webserver.
  • Configurable Cache Duration for Error Responses allows you to specify how long you want each error page to be cached at CloudFront edge locations. Previously, error responses were cached for five minutes.

TechHuddle football

September 24, 2013

I played football last night for the TechHuddle football team. I was joined by 3 of our client’s UK staff on the pitch and several in the stands supporting us. The last time I played 5 aside football competitively was 15 years ago! It was great fun but we are clearly not as fit as the younger guys who play regularly.

When should I use Hadoop

September 20, 2013

Chris has written a good blog post Don’t use Hadoop – your data isn’t that big.

I agree with much of what Chris says although I am not sure even data around 5TB warrants using Hadoop. I wrote a short blog post on Hadoop a while back.

Elasticera processes hundreds of GBs of raw log files every month. Even on a 3 year old desktop PC with a single SATA drive we are able to grep across a months worth of log files in a few minutes.

Due to the way that we process log files we are able to report on multiple TBs of data in seconds using our reporting UI.

We don’t have a single Hadoop instance in sight.

Bulk importing large log files into an RDBMS such that for every log file entry there is a corresponding record is always going to be painfully slow and resource intensive. Think about your data and how it is to be queried and there is likely to be a simple solution.

Demandware XChange 2013

September 20, 2013

I shall be attending the Demandware XChange 2013 European Summit during October in Berlin.

It should be an insightful couple of days. I am looking forward to seeing where Demandware are taking their product as it has been a little while since I sat on the Demandware Client Advisory Board which helped steer their product strategy

Feel free to reach out to me before or during the event.

Amazon CloudFront Wildcard CNAME Support

September 20, 2013

Yesterday Amazon announced support for wildcard cname’s with CloudFront. This feature makes it easy to serve multiple subdomains for a website from the same CloudFront distribution without having to modify the distribution to include each subdomain.

Wildcard CNAMEs make it easier for you to use a wildcard SSL certificate with CloudFront’s custom SSL certificate feature. The custom SSL certificates was itself a feature recently added.

It is good to see that Amazon are investing in improving Amazon CloudFront but there are still many issues and areas that can be improved. I have blogged about them previously in these posts.

Web Summit 2013 Dublin

September 16, 2013

I shall be attending the Web Summit 2013 in Dublin, Ireland during October.

The Web Summit is a gathering of the world’s tech leaders. It’s not just a gathering of the planet’s leading startups and technology companies, but of businesses, large and small, who are being impacted by new technologies.

This year over 10,000 attendees will make the trip from all corners of the planet to hear from over 300 speakers across dozens of stages, workshops and roundtables catered to every sector.

Ryanair booking issues

September 16, 2013

I have just tried to book a flight via the Ryanair website. I found it extremely difficult to use. In the end I had to give up because it would not accept either of my debit cards. On each occasion it kept complaining that the address did not match that of the card. I tried various address combinations before giving up and buying the tickets elsewhere.

The easyJet website is quite a bit better but still more difficult to use then it should be.

I can’t help but feel these companies are losing a lot of money because of their booking processes.

64 bit iOS based Apple Air

September 11, 2013

Now that Apple has released the 64 bit A7 processor and released a new version of iWorks for iOS devices which can not only view but create, documents, presentations and spreadsheets it must only be a matter of time before they launch a hybrid touch device with a keyboard.

The A7 processor is no doubt powerful enough for most people’s laptop needs. Such a device would surely replace or converge with the Apple Air range in time.