May 26, 2011
Eric has been active in the Riak community for some time now, and, in addition to the numerous patches and bug fixes he has contributed to the Riak Python client, he’s also gone out of his way to help educate new and existing users about all things Riak on the Mailing List and in #riak on Freenode.
Make sure to keep an eye on the Riak Wiki Repo for his commits.
March 4, 2011
Anyone can contribute to the Riak Wiki: it’s maintained and deployed from a public GitHub repository, so everyone is free to fork and send us a pull request to make changes. There is, however, a group of community members who are given commit access to this repo, and I’m pleased to announce that Ryan Zezeski is now part of this group.
Ryan first became involved with Riak several months ago when he selected it as the production data store for a component of the ad-serving platform he works on during the daytime hours. Since then he has become an active and visible member of our community, contributing numerous patches to Luwak and providing guidance to new and existing users on the Riak Mailing list and in the Riak IRC Channel. In short, he knows his Riak and we are thrilled to have him on board as a Community Committer.
Welcome, Ryan! We are looking forward to your contributions.
December 28, 2010
Those of you who are familiar with the Riak Wiki may have been surprised by what you saw at wiki.basho.com starting yesterday. That’s because we just gave it a facelift. More importantly, the team at Basho has spent a fair amount of time converting the Riak Wiki to use Gollum. Gollum is a “simple, Git-powered wiki with a sweet API and local frontend” written and maintained by the awesome team at GitHub.
Those of you who are accustomed to the “old wiki” will find the same great content with a revamped design, something that more closely resembles the look and feel of basho.com and the Riak Function Contrib.
Arguably the best feature of using Gollum is that contributing to the Riak Wiki is now dead simple, and is no different than contributing code to any repo on GitHub. Riak users are, after all, developers. Why not let them work with a wiki the same way they work with Riak code itself?
This is one of several website enhancements you’ll be seeing from the team at Basho over the coming months, so stay tuned.
September 1, 2010
We added a new Community Editor this week. His name is Mårten Gustafson.
Aside from being involved in putting a Riak application into production, Mårten has been active, knowledgeable and helpful on the Riak Mailing list and in the IRC Room (where he goes by the unassuming “chids”). He recently came forward and expressed interest in being a Community Editor, and based on his Riak credentials, the team here at Basho was more than happy to bring him aboard.
Welcome, Mårten! We are looking forward to your contributions.
If you’re interested in being a Community Editor for the Riak Wiki, let us know. We would love to talk to you.
August 20, 2010
Thank you to those who attended our webinar yesterday. Like before, we’re recapping the questions below for everyone’s sake (in no particular order).
Q: How would solve full text search with the current versions of Riak? One could also take Wriaki as an example as most wikis have some sort of fulltext search functionality.
I recommend using existing fulltext solutions. Solr has matched up well with most of the web applications I have written, and would certainly work for Wriaki as well.
Q: Where in the course of the interaction (shown on slide 18) are you defining the client ID? Don’t you need the client ID and vclock to match between updates?
On slide 42, we talk about “actors” which are essentially client IDs. Using the logged-in user as the client ID can help prevent vclock explosion and is a sensible way of structuring your updates.
August 13, 2010
Documentation is great, but playing with examples can also be a helpful way to tackle steep learning curves. To help you learn about ways of using Riak, we’d like to present “Wriaki”, an example implementation of a wiki that stores its data in Riak.
We invite you to join us for a free webinar on Thursday, August 19 at 2:00PM Eastern Time (UTC-4) about Riak in Action: Wriaki. During the presentation, Bryan Fink will cover:
- Modeling wiki data in the Riak key/value store
- Access patterns using both get/put and map/reduce
- Three strategies that Wriaki uses for dealing with eventual consistency
- how the user interface changes to accommodate Wriaki’s models
The code for Wriaki will be open-source at the time of the presentation. The presentation will last 30 to 45 minutes, with time for questions at the end.
Fill in the Sorry, registration has closed! form below to reserve your seat!
If you cannot attend, the video and slides will be made available afterward in the recap post on the blog.
May 27, 2010
You may remember a few weeks back we posted a blog about a new feature on the Riak Wiki called The Riak Fast Track. To refresh your memory, “The Fast Track is a 30-45 minute interactive tutorial that introduces the basics of using and understanding Riak, from building a three node cluster up through MapReduce.”
This post is intended to offer some insight into what we learned from the launch and what we are aiming to do moving forward to build out the Fast Track and other similar resources.
The Fast Track and accompanying blog post were published on Tuesday, May 5th. After that there was a full week to send in thoughts, comments, and reviews. In that time period:
- I received 24 responses (my hope was for >15)
- Of those 24, 10 had never touched Riak before
- Of those 24, 13 said they were already planning on using Riak in production or after going through the
Fast Track were now intending to use Riak in production in some capacity
Most of the reviews seemed to follow a loose template: “Hey. Thanks for this! It’s a great tool and I learned a lot. That said, here is where I think you can improve…”
Putting aside the small flaws (grammar, spelling, content flow, etc.), there emerged numerous recurring topics:
- Siblings, Vector Clocks, Conflict Resolution, Concurrent Updates…More details please. How do they work in Riak and what implications do they have?
- Source can be a pain. Can we get a tutorial that uses the binaries?
- Curl is great, but can we get an Erlang/Protocol Buffers/language specific tutorial?
- I’ve heard about Links in Riak but there is nothing in the Fast Track about it. What gives!?
- Pictures, Graphics and Diagrams would be awesome. There is all this talk of Rings, Clusters, Nodes, Vnodes, Partitions, Vector Clocks, Consistent Hashing, etc. Some basic diagrams would go along way in helping me grasp the Riak architecture.
- Short, concise screencasts are awesome. More, please!
- The Basic API page is great but it seems a bit…crowded. I know they are all necessary but do we really need all this info about query parameters, headers and the like in the tutorial?
Another observation about the nature of the reviews: they were very long and very detailed. It would appear that a lot of you spent considerable time crafting thoughtful responses and, while I was expecting this to some extent, I was still impressed and pleasantly surprised.
This led me to draw two conclusions:
- People were excited by the idea of bettering the Fast Track for future Riak users to come
- Swag is a powerful motivator
Now, I’m going to be a naïve Community Manager and let myself believe that the Riak Developer Community maintains a high level of programmer altruism. The swag was just an afterthought, right?
So What Did We Change?
We have been doing the majority of the editing and enhancing on the fly. This process is still ongoing and I don’t doubt that some of you will notice elements still present that you thought needed changing. We’ll get there. I promise.
Here is a partial list of what was revised:
- The majority of changes were small and incremental, fixing a phrase here, tweaking a sentence there. Many small fixes and tweaks go a long way!
- The most-noticeable alterations are on the MapReduce page, where we worked a lot to make it flow better and more interactive. This continues to be improved.
- The Basic API Operations page got some love in the form of simplification. After reading your comments, we went back and realized that we were probably throwing too much information at you too fast.
- There are now several graphics relating to the Riak Ring and Consistent Hashing. There will be more.
And, as I said, this is still ongoing.
I’ve added a Thank You page to the end of the Fast Track to serve as a permanent shout-out to those who help revise and refine the Fast Track. (I hope to see this list grow, too.) Future newcomers to Riak will surely benefit from your time, effort, and input.
What is Next?
Since its release, the Fast Track tutorial has become the second most-visited page on the Riak Wiki, second only to the wiki.basho.com itself. This tells us here at Basho that there is a need for more tools and tutorials like this. So our intention is to expand this as far as time permits.
In the short term, we plan to add a link-walking page. This was scheduled for the original iteration of the Fast Track but was scrapped because we didn’t have time to assemble all the components. The MapReduce section is going to get more interactive, too.
Another addition will be content and graphics that demonstrate Riak’s fault-tolerance and ability to withstand node outages.
May 4, 2010
There is nothing easy about making software simple to learn and understand. Every potential user has different nuances to their learning styles, and this makes for a hard road to simple usage. This is especially true with Riak.
Internally at Basho, we are constantly addressing questions like, “How do we make a ‘distributed, Dynamo-inspired key/value store’ inviting and less daunting to first time users?” and “How do we lower the barrier to adoption and usage?” Though resources like the Riak Mailing List, the Riak Wiki, and Riak IRC channel are great, we kept asking ourselves, “What can we do to make it dead simple for those new to and interested in Riak to learn about it and how it works?”
Our answer (in part) is the Riak Fast Track.
What is the Riak Fast Track?
The Fast Track is an interactive module on the Riak Wiki that, through a combination of concise content and brief screencasts, will bring you up to speed on a) what Riak is, b) what its key features and benefits are, and c) how to use it.
As I stated above, the Fast Track is aimed at developers who may be new to Riak or those who may have heard about it in passing but haven’t spent too much time fiddling with it.
We put a lot of time into making this, but there are undoubtedly some kinks that need to be worked out. And, regardless of how long we try to tweak and refine it, there will always be some small aspects and details that we aren’t going to get right. It is for that reason that we are appealing to you, the rapidly-growing Riak Community, to help us.
So, here is the challenge: Take 45 minutes and go through the Riak Fast Track. Then, when you’re done, take five minutes to write us an email and tell us what you thought about it. That’s it.
We are looking for answers to questions like:
- Was it effective?
- Did you learn anything?
- What did we get right?
- What did we get wrong?
- What should we add/remove?
And, to sweeten the pot, we are going to send a “Riak Swag Pack” (contents of which are top secret) to everyone who sends us their review and thoughts on the Fast Track by the close of business on Tuesday (5/11) of next week. It doesn’t have to be anything extensive (though we love details). A simple, “I liked x, y, and z, but you could have done this better” would suffice. You can send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to hearing from you!
So, without further ado, go forth and test out the Riak Fast Track.
We hope you’ll find it useful and we’re looking forward to your thoughts on how to make it better.
March 12, 2010
We are moving at warp speed here at Basho and today we are releasing what we feel is a very important enhancement to Riak: a wiki.
You can find it here:
Documentation and resources are a main priority right now for Basho, and a well maintained and up-to-date wiki is something we see as critical. Our goal is to make Riak simple and intuitive to download, build, program against, and build apps on. So, you should expect a lot more from us in this regard. Also, we still have much to add to the Riak Wiki, so if you think we are missing a resource or some documentation that makes Riak easier to use and learn about, please tell us.
Secondly, we had the chance to record the fourth installment of the Basho Riak podcast (below), and it was a good one. We hooked up with Tim Anglade, CTO of GemKitty and a growing authority on the NoSQL space. On the heels of his presentation at NoSQL Live from Boston, we picked his brain a bit about where he thinks the industry is going and what needs to change for the current iteration of NoSQL to go from being a fad and curiosity to a full fledged industry.
According to Tim, “We have an image problem right now with NoSQL as a brand,” and “NoSQL is over-hyped and the projects behind it are under-hyped.”
We also took a few minutes to talk about the Riak 0.9.1 release. Highlights include binary builds, as well as several new client libraries that expose all of Riak’s advanced features.
In short, if you are at all interested in the future of the NoSQL space, you’re not going to want to miss this.
Lastly, if you haven’t already done so, go download the latest version of Riak.