rubric now running under fastcgi

In case anyone has been thinking, “Gosh, I haven’t seen anything from rjbs lately,” the reason is ridiculous. It’s not that I’ve been busy (but I have) or lazy (but I am). It’s that I’ve been stupid.

When I relocated some of my hosted services to Linode (who, by the way, are awesome), I decided that running Rubric as a CGI script was insane. It’s always been slow and inefficient, and I knew I could make it much, much faster by making the process persistent. On my previous host, where TIMS also ran, I saw how much faster Rubric could be under mod_perl, but I had some minor problems and wasn’t interested in futzing with Apache, which I vaguely dislike.

On my new host, I switched everything to lighttpd, and I figured I’d use FastCGI. I thought this would be trivial, but the state of the art for moving CGI things to FastCGI seemed to be lousy. Someone finally pointed me at Stevan Little’s fantastic FCGI::Engine. It did exactly what I wanted, making Rubric work with no code changes at all… or so I thought.

First, query parameters stopped changing. The first query to hit the daemon would have its QUERY_STRING parsed and nothing else would ever get looked at. I fixed that by shoving an initialize_globals call in Rubric’s run method. Things seemed alright until I tried to log in to post. No matter what, HTTP POST requests were coming through with no content. I stared at it until I gave up, and then I couldn’t post anything new because I couldn’t log in.

That was that, until tonight. I checked on my Hiveminder todo list and saw 78 things to do. (Good grief!) The second one is a reminder to get new App::Cmd stuff done by a week ago, and I thought, “Gosh. I should get that done, and then post an explanation of why the changes are so good.”

Then I thought, “I can’t post anything new, my Rubric won’t let me log in!”

Then I thought, “I need to fix Rubric under FastCGI before I start on any of the other 78 things in my todo list.” I guess this is a story about being lazy and busy, too.

I resorted to looking through the source of Rubric, CGI::Application, FCGI, FCGI::Engine, and other things. I finally noticed that FCGI::Engine passed a CGI::Simple query into the code it called – a fact that was not documented. Once I added the dozen-or-so characters needed to tell Rubric to use that query instead of a newly-built one, everything just worked. Awesome! Once again, it goes to show that reading the source is always a good strategy.

I’ve filed a ticket suggesting that the docs should mention the parameter.

Now I need to get to work posting old news!

Written on May 12, 2008
lighttpd   perl   programming   rubric   web