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Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Hacker's Diet Online: 600+ accounts open, 1200+ transactions processed per day

It's been about five weeks since The Hacker's Diet Online entered production. At the conclusion of the beta test phase and production launch on July 2nd, there were about 100 users. Yesterday, 2007-08-10, the threshold of 600 user accounts was crossed, and at this writing there are 607 accounts open. Users of the application have the option of granting read-only public access to their data under an automatically assigned pseudonym. More than half of the users in the beta test phase opted for this, but the fraction allowing public access (which is not the default—you have to explicitly permit it) has declined since and presently stands at 33% (206 publicly accessible accounts out of 607 total). I'm not sure why the demographics of the beta test and production user population differs on this item; it may be something as simple as the fact that the check box to grant public access is at the bottom of the account creation form and beta testers are more inclined to look at the entire form as opposed to just filling in the required fields before creating the account.

The cluster file system synchronisation continues to run smoothly. As the user base of the application continues to grow, I'm increasingly satisfied with the choice of an architecture based upon the Unix file system as opposed to a monolithic database back-end; it is wonderful to be able to use regular system administration tools to manage the application databases, and to know that each individual transaction is confined to a “sandbox” containing only the data for the user who submitted it.

As of yesterday, the server processed 1243 user transactions. Most of these were updates to users' log pages, each of which generates two transactions: one to return the updated log, and a second for the embedded chart image.

I am presently working on adding some analyses of aggregate data across all accounts, for example, a histogram of how frequently users update their logs. Once these reports are in place, I'll post some of the statistics here.

Folks interested in the meal planning component of The Hacker's Diet may find The Daily Plate Web site useful. This site has a large database of foods and allows you to create a personal food journal tracking the calories in what you eat. I have no connection with this site; I simply mention it as something you might want to check out.

Posted at August 11, 2007 00:07