Mitchell Kimbrough
Mitchell Kimbrough

Founder

Posted on May 7, 2020

Podcast: ProPublica Part 2 - Bake It!

This is the second half of my interview with Mike Tigas and Frank Sharpe. We continue our conversation about how ProPublica uses CloudFlare’s Workers KV system to serve most of the propublica.org website from the Edge. ‘From the Edge’ means from servers located as close to the end user as possible, thanks to a distributed network of data centers. We talk about how ProPublica has systems for baking pages. To bake a page means to push the HTML for a given url up into CloudFlare KV so that it is ready to be accessed by visitors to the site. Workers KV handles the requests for pages and serves those when they exist in the cache. This architecture means that the ProPublica servers themselves are rarely touched by site visitors.

We discuss further how ProPublica uses AWS systems to serve the actual Craft CMS site. These too are divided into control panel versus front end instances. Docker is in the mix as it has the responsibility of holding and representing the different environments that AWS needs to serve up for the other systems to get what they need. For example, Frank tells me that there is a specific Docker image for the Craft control panel. This one spins up as needed by AWS.

We get further into the details and I get generally schooled about where modern web development is headed, including headless CMS’s and other fancy mumbo jumbo. This is your prime opportunity to listen to me ask dumb questions of very smart people. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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