Book Image

Cloning Internet Applications with Ruby

By : Chang Sau Sheong
Book Image

Cloning Internet Applications with Ruby

By: Chang Sau Sheong

Overview of this book

Most users on the Internet have a few favorite Internet web applications that they use often and cannot do without. These popular applications often provide essential services that we need even while we don’t fully understand its features or how they work. Ruby empowers you to develop your own clones of such applications without much ordeal. Learning how these sites work and describing how they can be implemented enables you to move to the next step of customizing them and enabling your own version of these services.This book shows the reader how to clone some of the Internet's most popular applications in Ruby by first identifying their main features, and then showing example Ruby code to replicate this functionality.While we understand that it connects us to our friends and people we want to meet up with, what is the common feature of a social network that makes it a social network? And how do these features work? This book is the answer to all these questions. It will provide a step-by-step explanation on how the application is designed and coded, and then how it is deployed to the Heroku cloud platform. This book’s main purpose is to break up popular Internet services such as TinyURL, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook to understand what makes it tick. Then using Ruby, the book describes how a minimal set of features for these sites can be modeled, built, and deployed on the Internet.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

Popular Internet applications

Why did we choose the Internet applications in this book and not others? Firstly and most obviously, the applications must be popular and have a large number of users. Secondly the application should be a mainstream one for consumers and not for businesses. We want applications that have a more direct interface to the final consumers of the application. Thirdly, we don't want to deal with payment related issues in this book so any e-commerce applications are left alone. The reason is simple—e-commerce is no longer rocket science but implementing payment well is still not a trivial undertaking, and we did not want to mislead users into believing it is easy to clone payment features. Finally (and most importantly for me) the applications we chose to clone must also be easy to implement and would fit in nicely into a single chapter.

With these criteria, we have picked the following small number of applications to cover in this book:

  • A URL shortener—TinyURL

  • A microblogging application—Twitter

  • A photo sharing application—Flickr

  • A social networking service—Facebook

It's interesting that none of the crop of popular Internet applications we are cloning in this book is the true original implementation of the main idea in that application. There have been URL shorteners before TinyURL, there were micro-blogging sites before Twitter, photo-sharing before Flickr, and definitely social networking services before Facebook. However, each of these is, as of writing, the most popular service of its kind.