Confessions of a PackRat

Location: Pavilion 1 Level:
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 10 ratings)

When the Facebook game PackRat was released in early 2008, it quickly
took off, and now serves over 12 million page views a day. This
session will highlite some of the lessons learned while building and
scaling the game — including hard numbers, and code. Specifically:

  • Using the cloud: the pros and cons of running a popular app on EC2,
    S3, SQS, and SimpleDB.
  • MySQL pitfalls: how scaling the database tier nearly killed us, and
    how we survived.
  • Caching strategies: memcached vs. memoization, and the best of both worlds.
  • Interacting with Facebook: third-party libraries vs. rolling your own.
  • Dealing with cheaters: detecting and thwarting duplicate accounts,
    bots, and GreaseMonkey hacks.
  • Why we re-wrote the application from scratch, against conventional wisdom.
Photo of Scott Raymond

Scott Raymond

Alamofire, Inc.

Scott Raymond is the author of Ajax on Rails, published by
O’Reilly. He is a long-time user of, advocate for, contributor to, and consultant on, Rails.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Picture of Joel Shapiro
Joel Shapiro
05/07/2009 11:01am PDT

Well done! I really appreciated the specific details, like how many AWS servers you run and of what type. Really helpful when trying to decide how a Facebook app backed by rails will scale. Good luck!

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