An Englishman's Guide to Queueing

Operations and Culture
Location: Buckingham Room Level: Intermediate
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 3 ratings)

Any useful web application contains some actions that are too slow to run inside a web request. Common examples include sending email, processing uploaded files, or running complex database queries. Using a job queue to do this work in the background is an easy way to get huge performance improvements, but is also an easy way to create huge engineering and user experience headaches.

In this session we’ll take a look at the different ways of running tasks offline, and help you understand which one is right for your application. We’ll also cover:

  • Techniques for handling specific task types, including sending emails and processing images
  • How to avoid data consistency problems caused by background database updates
  • How to correctly handle exceptions and other error conditions
  • Common operational problems, and monitoring tricks to avoid them
  • How a few easy theoretical concepts can simplify your code and architecture

Paul Hammond


Paul Hammond makes things on the internet. He’s currently working on Typekit, a cloud based font subscription service for web designers. Previously he led a group of hard working supernerds at Flickr. He was involved in early versions of Yahoo Fire Eagle and Yahoo Pipes, and has helped build infrastructure for the BBC, Yahoo Bookmarks and Delicious.

Paul has spoken at conferences on subjects ranging from the future of broadcasting to how to win at Monopoly. He lives in San Francisco with 2 kids and no dog, and keeps an irregularly updated technical weblog at


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