Mike from Cirrhus9 sent me some information about their recent implementation of FindTheBest. With his permission, I am sharing some of the details with you so that you can get a better idea of how a sophisticated developer brings together a wide variety of technologies in order to construct a complete web application.
What is FindTheBest?
FindTheBest is an objective comparison search engine that allows people to choose a topic, compare options and decide what's best for them. It makes for faster and more informed decisions by allowing for easy comparison between all of the available options.
FindTheBest is organized into nine broad categories including: Arts and Entertainment, Business and Economy, Education, Health, Reference, Science, Society, Sports and Recreation and Technology. Each category includes dozens of Apps from Adventure Travel Vacations to Job Websites. Each App consists of a variety of related listings — from Vail and Whistler ski resorts under the Ski Resorts App to Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie under the Celebrities App — and each listing can be sorted by numerous key filters.
FindTheBest's structured search allows the user to quickly sort through factors and filters important to them, ultimately helping them make more objective and more informed decisions to important questions and answers.
The user interface blends sorting, filtering, and comparison to produce fast, data-driven pages. Here's a page with information on over 9000 libraries:
How Was it Implemented?
FindTheBest runs on a 64-bit Ubuntu server. The server boots from an EBS volume and has an XFS RAID-0 two volume EBS storage configuration, with daily snapshot backups via cron-driven calls to Eric Hammond's ec2-consistent-snapshot script. The server runs a classic LAMP stack with the addition of a lightweight email server and a full-text search engine, all monitored by a custom-tuned Nagios/Groundwork setup.