I made my own commenting server. Here's why.
I haven’t been blogging much lately. That’s due to the fact that most of my spare time went to creating mouthful - a commenting server that I’ve since switched this blog to. Before that I was using isso. Here’s why I did it.
While I really like isso, there’s one problem that kills it for me. Under no load, the backend consumes nearly 50MB of memory on my server. You might say that 50MB is nothing nowadays but I disagree. I’m running everything under AWS t2.nano instances, meaning I only have 500MB of memory to play with. Since I’m running them as docker hosts for my ECS cluster with a few applications on them memory is an expensive commodity. Since I’ve become quite fond of GO, I’ve also looked at commento but at the time of writing it did not have moderation support. I really wanted that. I knew that I could squeeze in the functionality I needed an only use a few MB of RAM. Currently, the commenting service runs with most of the functionality enabled with a stable memory usage of under 7MB. Take this with a grain of salt though, as I do not have many comments or visitors currently.
Side projects are a darn good way for a developer to hone his skills and improve his CV. I’ve always wanted to have a meaningful side project, where I could experiment but also put my skills to use and hopefully make something that people will end up using. The commenting server sounded like a good idea as it was something I could make in a couple of months at my own pace. It’s also something I’d be using myself, since I was looking for a replacement for isso. It’s also a good opportunity to do some front-end as it has been quite a while since I’ve last touched react or any other front-end framework. I’ve chosen Preact since it’s small and I wanted something that’s not too bulky. I know I could have gone with vanilla JS and saved even more weight but I prefer working with libraries that you’ll encounter more in a work environment. While preact might not be too common, it’s very close to react and that one is rather popular. Mouthful turned out to be a good playground to try many new things.
I’ve been working mostly with non open source solution at work and since most of my time coding was spent there, I’ve not made myself familiar with the open source culture and the tools that open source offers. Tools such as Travis CI, GoReportCard and Codecov are a new territory. While I’ve been using Github for most of my professional career, I’m still interested to see how work revolves around an open source project, so I’m hoping that mouthful will teach me a lot about that. I’m also keen on learning new tips and tricks and techniques from other open source contributors.