Building alpha.bath.ac.uk

Posted in: Beta, Content Publisher, Development

We've changed just about everything to do with how we manage bath.ac.uk for the alpha, and this includes the underlying technology.

The live www.bath.ac.uk is hosted dynamically from a monolithic Java-based CMS (OpenCms) running on Solaris servers with Oracle as a back-end database and all the code is in Subversion.

The alpha site is being served from static HTML files generated by Hugo. The inputs are provided by multiple Ruby on Rails apps running on Linux servers using MySQL, MongoDB and an off-site service for data storage, and all the code is in our local GitHub Enterprise installation and is deployed from Bamboo by Mina.

The difference could not really be much bigger! It's certainly been a challenge to get up to speed with so many new things all at once but we think that this stack, or some version of it - that's what alphas are for! - should be more future-friendly than our existing infrastructure.

We'll go into more detail on how we're using each piece of technology in the following days and weeks.

Posted in: Beta, Content Publisher, Development

Responses

  • (we won't publish this)

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  • Hi,

    Is there a reason why your code is entirely kept in GitHub Enterprise, rather than on GitHub.com? If it's for the management of secrets such as passphrases and keys, then would it not be better to merge your secret base with your public base at deploy time by keeping the former on GHE and the latter on GitHub.com?

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  • Hi Andrew - yes there is. It's basically because just about every part of the stack, including full-on use of github, is new to us, and we are making mistakes and learning from them constantly.

    This includes everything from the basics around security implementation in Rails to managing API whitelists of incoming IPs. We have some nasty scripts to glue together bits of infrastructure which hopefully won't live into the beta, which we definitely wouldn't want to share!

    Hopefully we can start to share parts of what we're doing alongside our existing public work on https://github.com/uniofbathdmc when we're a bit more confident that we're not making totally n00b mistakes.