19 Dec 2009

Handling error page efficiently in Firefox

I could not have imagined my anger and frustration when a URL to load due to congestion in network, peak performance, load on server or maybe due to low bandwidth of the internet connection. Until i found a solution for my anger management.. a simple add on in Firefox that lets you handle the error page efficiently and easily. Let me arrive to the tool later on, while i briefly explain the technology behind.

Coral Content Distribution Network
Coral is a free peer-to-peer content distribution network, comprised of a world-wide network of web proxies and nameservers. It allows a user to run a web site by offering the service through some of its participating web servers where the content has been already replicated instead of pointing at the original server which may be overloaded at that time, thereby increasing the performance and meeting its volumious demand.

To use the service, one needs to first publish the site through CoralCDN. It is as simple as appending a short string to the hostname of objects' URLs. A peer-to-peer DNS layer transparently redirects browsers to participating caching proxies, which in turn cooperate to minimize load on the source web server. Sites that run Coral automatically replicate content as a side effect of users accessing it, improving its availability. Heres a snapshot of how a coralized site looks like.. notice the URL?

Using modern peer-to-peer indexing techniques, CoralCDN will efficiently find a cached object if it exists anywhere in the network, requiring that it use the origin server only to initially fetch the object once.

One of Coral's key goals is to avoid ever creating hot spots in its infrastructure.(Hot spot here means a region of a computer program where a high proportion of executed instructions occur or where most time is spent during the program's execution.) It achieves this through a novel indexing abstraction called distributed sloppy hash table (DSHT), used in peer-to-peer networking protocol like Torrentz. (Hash table is a data structure that uses a hash function to efficiently map certain identifiers or keys to its associated values.) It creates self-organizing clusters of nodes that fetch information from each other to avoid communicating with more distant or heavily-loaded servers.

Almost everything is archived on the internet, in form of snapshots, caches, thumbnails etc.
Wayback is a technology used to see those archived version of the site, which people believe to be of use for future generations. It not only archives live URLs but also dead sites. One of such sites that offer wayback service is Archive-It.

Archive-It allows institutions to build and preserve their own web archive of born digital content, through a user friendly web application, without requiring any technical expertise or hosting facilities. Subscribers can harvest, catalog, and archive their collections, and then search and browse the collections when complete. Collections are hosted at the Internet Archive data center, and accessible to the public with full text search.

This is a snapshot of how Google site looked on 17th January 1997.

Going to the main stream; you can find the add-on here

Technology never cease to excite me the way i am now, handling error functions are more interesting than making a bug free code. I am enjoying the privilege that i am being offered.
I can see opportunity in the errors now and not a sad face, don't you agree?
I have left programming a long time ago, yet Hope Mozilla guys are listening to me?


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