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February 2007
March 2007

2007-02-24 »

Modern web, email, and project hosting

Since I've gone and started a new company, we need some infrastructure. Our parent company is a bank, which is fine, but it means that for regulatory reasons we can't really "borrow" their pleasantly mature and already-functional infrastructure. So I had to start looking elsewhere. And to my surprise, I found that the web has changed a lot since last time I checked. Here are some of the bits we'll probably end up using for our new company, at least to get us started.

Gmail for Domains is partnered with some domain registrar or another. You can follow the wizard and register your favourite .com name for $10 USD (if you don't already have one), then automatically host DNS, a basic web site, and 200 domain email addresses (each with 2GB of space) on Google for free. Paid for by ad sidebars in your email, of course... but they're funny and your customers don't see them, so who cares?

Speaking of our web site, we're going to have some big files for people to download. That's okay, because Amazon S3, a distributed filesystem courtesy of Alumnit jdcormie et al, will host as much data as you want, with whatever authorization restrictions you want, and as many bytes transferred as you want, all at per-gigabyte prices comparable to (but more finely grained than) the otherwise excellent (In other famous-people news, you might remember jdcormie as the guy who first brought you WvStreams for Windows.)

For added awesomeness, S3 automatically also makes its data available via BitTorrent, cutting your bandwidth costs. BitTorrent has its stupidities, but at least it's popular and sort of works.

And what are these big files we need to distribute? Well, a lot of it will be free software, which hopefully means collaboration, which means hosting the whole development process online somewhere. I never liked SourceForge's gross user interface, and now that's okay, because Google Project Hosting no longer sucks. It even includes a Subversion-backed wiki system, a very clever bug tracking system, and of course, integrated Google searchability.

So now you've got your project hosted for free in Subversion, but how will people know that your project isn't dead? Enter CIA, which turns your public subversion repository into a handy RSS feed plus an IRC bot (?!) automatically.

Finally, you can hardly have an open source project without mailing lists, and it seems that Google Groups has evolved into what I've wanted for years: a mailing list manager with really good thread management, web posting/viewing capability, email subscription support, perfect archive navigation, spam suppression, and of course, excellent search features.

Wow, that's a whole lot of not sucking. I guess I'm going to have to go offline if I want to get depressed tonight.

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