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    • I'll try!

      So, when programmers create a website, they write code in languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They typically store this code in what's called a source code repository, which is special software that keeps track of all the changes that are made to the code over time and makes it possible to share those changes easily with other programmers over the Internet.

      When it's time to release that code to users of the website, the programmers then need to copy a specific version of the code to one or more web servers, which serve the code to users' web browsers. This is referred to as "deploying" the code. Sometimes the deployment step can be pretty complicated.

      Sometimes programmers want to quickly share a demo, example, or prototype with other people, but without having to set up or perform a whole deployment process. That's where RawGit came in.

      RawGit was a special web service that made it possible to serve HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to web browsers directly from the source repository without needing a deployment step. This made it really convenient for quickly sharing website code. A lot of people even used it to serve code for their actual user-facing websites directly to users, skipping the deployment step completely.

      It got really popular. In a typical month, it might serve 4+ billion individual files to web browsers. To break that down: when you visit a website, your browser makes a request for that website's main HTML file, and might also request some other files (CSS, JavaScript, images, etc.) that are necessary to display the web page. Those are the kinds of requests RawGit was handling.

      That's a lot of requests using up a lot of bandwidth, but RawGit's secret is that it was very simple behind the scenes. It did very little work to handle a request, and it then cached the result of that work so that in the future it wouldn't have to do any work to handle more requests for the same file. So it looks very impressive, but behind the scenes it really wasn't too complicated.

      Hopefully that wasn't too boring or technical. 😄

    • I'll try!

      That was neither boring nor too technical: it was at a level where I was familiar enough with the terminology you used (HTML, JavaScript) that I avoided the glazed “this is over my head” stare, and your clear explanation of the deployment phase and the benefits of your site for rapid prototyping and skipping over the deployment phase put your achievement in perspective.

      Thank you, I learned something fascinating today.


    • Hah, I consider being able to remember lots of stuff a sign that decrepitude is being held at bay for another year.

      When I was in 6th grade, our math teacher turned his back to the board and had 30 of us go up, write down an object and say it back to him. Once everyone had written down their object, he had us quiz him on the numbers. “What’s 28?” “Pencil.” “What’s 13?” “Hubcap.” He didn’t miss any of them. He shared with us some of his memory techniques and I’ve picked up a few more along the way.

      I’m now up to 26. @dkeller