In the spring, I talked about a promotion
in which you can go on a trip to warm countries at the expense of Microsoft. The moment came, and the winner was determined - this is Sergey and Svetlana Popovy, the developers of Photokaravan.com
I talked a bit with the winners and that's what happened.Tell us a few words about yourself and the Photokaravan project?Svetlana:
Photokaravan.com is a non-commercial photo project, created a little less than a year ago for communication to anyone who is interested in photography. In fact, we will celebrate the year on September 23, 2010. We position ourselves rather as an informational photo project - we publish news from the world of photography, photo equipment reviews, various analytical reviews on photothematics, interviews with famous photographers, articles on photography techniques, tips of the “sophisticated” - in general, the range of our interests is quite wide.
Well, of course, like on any self-respecting photo site, there is a photo gallery on Photokaravan, where photographers can post an unlimited number of photos.
In addition, monthly Photokaravan holds photo contests on a given topic. The photo contest “Night Scene” has just ended, and now the reception of works for the photographic contest “Technique and People - from Past to Future” is in full swing. A distinctive feature of our contests is a two-tier voting system. At the first stage, the participants of the site vote, placing the evaluations submitted to the works, and the final twenty are determined from the results of these evaluations. Further the jury begins its work, and it is the experts who determine the winners and prize-winners.
As a rule, the author of the photo that took the first place receives a prize of $ 150 or the equivalent in local currency, and the other winners and authors of works in the top twenty receive incentive prizes and souvenirs. But sometimes, besides the usual prizes, the contestants will receive additional ones, for example, four photos of the July photo contest “Night Scene” will be awarded with participation in the photo exhibition “Equinox”.
Another big part of the site is the Forum, where a lot of useful discussions of photo equipment have already accumulated, and most importantly, there are experts there who are very well versed in the subject who can really give people advice on choosing and using photo equipment.
Finally, the Blogs section has recently opened on Photokaravan. Here, community members share their thoughts and ideas about photography and about life in general.
Well, we are part of the development team. Sergey - team lead, system architect, developer plus technical site administrator. Svetlana - designer, task director, analyst, plus also perform a number of administrative functions. Well, since photography is my hobby, I often write articles, news, blog posts and publish my photos in the gallery.
Why did you and Sergey decide to start this project?Sergei:
Because of the money, of course!Svetlana:
It was interesting. To me - because photography, as I said, is my hobby. And Sergey is interesting, because there is an opportunity to tinker with various new interesting for him, let's say, not quite trivial tasks.Does the project really make a lot of money?Sergei:
The project has a host and investor. Now Sveta will tell you more.Svetlana:
We are not the owners of the project and work for a salary. For a good salary. The project has a host, he is an investor, he is an ideological leader. In the network, he is known as Vlad Caravan, his site is named. Now the project does not bring money, but at this stage it is not planned. Everything has its time, as Vlad says, and he is a businessman with great experience and, by the way, also an avid amateur photographer.And how did you get the idea to participate in the competition? Did you expect to go to warm countries?Sergei:
Actually, I wanted a cup - well, you are aware of this weakness of mine. But I wasn’t given a mug, in the Softline office where I called, they told me that they didn’t have mugs, but only T-shirts. But a t-shirt is not so interesting. I had to contact you for a mug if you remember.
I not only did not count on warm countries, but even did not consider this possibility. So when Photokaravan unexpectedly won this promotion, I was rather surprised.Why did you choose Microsoft technology to develop your portal?Svetlana:
Because we love Microsoft, because they have repeatedly sent us prizes and gifts for participating in various projects, because they always have the latest information about products and generally we like this company. This is me ... Sergey will be answering the question seriously.Sergei:
Because we have collected a collection of 8 glasses for beer and mugs with MSDN and Techdays logos, how could it be possible to choose another technology after that ?!
But seriously, this is a very voluminous question ... If you try to formulate the answer briefly - for me, Microsoft technology is a significant time saving in development. I have experience with other systems, including the experience of system programming under Linux (albeit 10 years ago).
And so - I managed to communicate with Java, and with RoR, and MySQL ... But I feel most comfortable when working with .NET and MS SQL Server. And with Visual Studio, of course - in my opinion, this is the best environment for software development. Of the other products, only Eclipse can be compared with it, but with its own difficulties.
Well, when Microsoft released the ASP.NET MVC Framework, I had no doubts about what to choose for Web applications (I must say that Web Forms never impressed me).Were there any problems with scaling the application? What is the load on your portal now?Sergei:
Load average - more information, unfortunately, I can not now disclose. But here I can give some comments on scalability.
The project is now running on one dedicated server running Windows 2008 Standard Edition, 32bit (32 bits associated with a difficult project history). SQL Server Express is used as a DBMS.
There are no problems with scaling - when a single server stops coping with the load, we just build a farm of several servers - the benefit of IIS allows you to do this without serious effort. Only when developing you should always keep in mind that two consecutive requests from one user can be processed on different machines - but this is not difficult.But what about the issue of scaling the DBMS?Sergei:
At the moment, the DBMS does not carry any extreme load, and I think that one DBMS server will fully withstand the processing of requests, if not from 16, then from 8 Web servers for sure.
I will not say that this is entirely the merit of MS SQL Server, I also put my hand to it - but designing the optimal storage for MS SQL is not difficult, since development tools make it easy to track down bottlenecks, and I have plenty of tools to expand them ... There is no need to list them.
And, of course, nobody canceled the knowledge of the theory, and experience didn’t prevent it either.How long has the resource been developed? How much effort was spent?Sergei:
Our resource is not static, it is being developed all the time of its existence. However, the fact that it is now visible in the front-end, it took us 2 months - taking into account the fact that we were not all the time engaged in direct development, a lot of time was also spent on coordination.
We still have a very small backend, focused on catching dishonest voting - here we had to tinker, but this is a high-tech task rather than a resource-intensive one.
And so - always have to finish something - however, this is a normal situation for a live project. Well, for September we are preparing a big update - here, unfortunately, I cannot give details yet.Those. Microsoft’s development platform came in handy here?Sergei:
Of course. And if Visual Studio 2010 came out six months earlier - they would save money, they would have done without NCover and SQL Compare.Fine. But are Microsoft tools so good? Maybe there are some flaws?Sergei:
And who is without sin? Of course, there are drawbacks ...
But I have already said that I feel most comfortable when developing in .NET and Visual Studio.
What can I remember from the shortcomings ... Well, for example, I still don’t like the unit test framework from Microsoft, I’m missing many of the features that NUnit has. Therefore, I use NUnit for unit testing.
Secondly, I don’t like the way the Database Project works in Visual Studio - but here’s a topic for a great article, and besides, this is my subjective opinion. I have developed my own approach to working with the DBMS, and within the Database Project to me closely.
In the latter case, it comes with “crutches” - I write the code in Visual Studio or in SQL Server Management Studio, and I use my own set of scripts to build the database project. Maybe, I still get together with the forces and make my version of the Database Project for VS2010 - the benefit is much simpler than for VS2008!By the way, where does your team get its knowledge of software development?Sergei:
Twitter, blogs, MSDN, Techdays, communication with colleagues, SUNETA. Special thanks to Vladimir Yunev and you personally - I myself simply would not have had time to process all the sources of interest.The question of infrastructure. And why did you choose a solution based on virtualization technologies? What did not suit the decision, for example, based on virtual hosting?Sergei:
And we did not choose a solution based on virtualization technology. Photokaravan runs on a separate physical server.Even so. Then, all the more so - what has virtual hosting not been for?Sergei:
Vlad's (resource owner) company has its own data center. Therefore, the issue of hosting is not even raised.Clear. What are your future plans for the development of the resource?Svetlana:
Oh, we have a lot of plans. First of all, we want to make a full-fledged database of modern cameras with the ability to search for models, compare specifications, and the function of "selecting the camera for themselves." Let's start with modern DSLRs, then connect the optics, and finally compacts. Secondly, we plan to expand the possibilities of the gallery. There are several interesting thoughts that I will not share with you yet, but we will definitely make a rating system for photos, authors, the ability to add photos and authors to your favorites. In addition, we will expand the functions of the back-office - users are not so interested, but we will simplify our lives for ourselves. Well, finally, there are a lot of plans that are more of an organizational nature - in particular, we will give caravanite opportunities to participate in photo exhibitions. We are planning a separate exhibition in Ferval in Moscow.Well, in conclusion - have you already chosen where to go to relax?Svetlana:
Yes, in October we will go for two weeks to the Czech Republic. We will be based in Prague, but we will take a car for the whole period of our stay and we will drive around the country on our own. Perhaps even look in Germany and Slovakia. Now, with the help of the manager of the Aero Club Tour company, we are choosing a hotel in the center of Prague, we are settling issues with flights, car rentals and other organizational issues. I think that the rest will turn out to be wonderful - and there will be something to take pictures, and the beer is delicious there, and they won't offend you with the pork leg :)Why the Czech Republic? Are there any specific places you want to visit?Svetlana:
Initially chose a European country. They thought about Germany, more precisely, about Bavaria, there are very beautiful castles on the rocks, and when they are in the fog, it seems that the castle is hanging in the air. But this is Munich, and there will be Oktoberfest with a crowd of people. Absolutely no desire to push. Moreover, I was not in the Czech Republic, but Sergey was, and he wants to show me the places that impressed him in his time.Maybe there are some wishes for readers?Svetlana:
Read and watch Techdays, do not miss interesting promotions, use Microsoft technologies and just be happy!Thank you guys for an interesting conversation, you have a good rest!Svetlana:
Thank you, Sergey, thank you Microsoft, thank you Techdays, thank you Photokaravan!