Our social search approach – Part III

June 26, 2007

In continuation to Our social search approach – Part II

The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.

With CoReap, we hope to deliver a useful and fun service to the end-users. If you bookmark web sites and web pages on a regular basis, then CoReap is just the tool for you! CoReap takes a fresh, novel approach to social search and bookmarking. With CoReap, you can not only manage your bookmarks online, but since CoReap seamlessly integrates with existing web search platforms (like Google and Yahoo), bookmarks shared in your social search network are displayed alongside the web search results.

In terms of establishing a robust isolated environment to host the CoReap web application and web service, we had to research & tweak quite a few things. Imagine a tiny plugin (i.e. the CoReap extension) running in your browser, and pinging a web service on a remote server for every Google or Yahoo search you made – to lookup relevant bookmarks across your social search network. That will be resource intensive for the web server alone. Using several preliminary configuration and optimization practices throughout all layers of the application architecture, we had to harden the stability & scalability of the whole system.

To start with, the server hardware and resource allocation were setup. For the CoReap preview release, we’ll have a single-node server to handle the client requests. However, we have positioned it in such a way that branching out to a clustered/distributed model will be rudimentary. Running a Linux-variant, the Apache web server, also had to be optimized. The MySQL database server and search sub-system were also optimized for superior performance in handling all data-centric queries. We have integrated a data caching mechanism on the web server, the database server, and also the application layer (i.e. the browser extension, the broker web service, and the web application). This will give us some additional boost in handling redundant data requests.

For the past two weeks, we have been working exclusively on setting up the hosting environment, and also testing CoReap in staging mode. So far, so good. I’m all the more excited about the shape CoReap has taken since its inception. It’s not flawless yet, but its quite stable for a preview release (a Release Candidate 1 actually). We are looking at the coming weekend for a quite launch to get it all rolling!

The basic idea behind CoReap is that people make decisions based primarily on a few people whom they trust. If the opinions of these trust-worthy people can be collected and shared in a private environment, then this process can be incredibly useful, simple because it is based on trustable human-intelligence. CoReap gains leverage from its concept, which includes the best of social search and social bookmarking ― in one simple application.

Stay tuned for the fully-functional preview release of CoReap, later this week!

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