My first Postgis project gave me headaches for 2 years πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ but I learned a lot πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ


It always starts with a push. And that was May 22, 2018, more than 2 years ago. I was starting a hunt for my next job opportunity, and I thought I could create a nice new portfolio project with a lot of new technologies (I mean, new to me) that were hyping at the moment.

So I basically gathered A LOT of new tech, almost nothing in that project I was already familiarized with previously πŸ˜‚, or did use, but on a very slight way, not from scratch… but anyways, I decided to take on the challenge, even though most of that tech I never reused in this past 2 years πŸ˜‚. But it was still a nice new first contact with a lot of cool stuff at once.

  • Vue

  • Apollo Link State for state management

  • Styllus for CSS styling

  • Wotan linter for Vue

  • Postgis (Geo oriented database for spacial queries)

  • Graphene (Graphql for Django)

  • Django Nose for unit tests and coverage

  • Docker Commit to initialize a Service Container

The hardest part was to set all the system libs/configs it is necessary to have in place when running your django gis package, seriously, damn, that was so hard, I'm sure I did something wrong, GDAL just had so many undocumented dependencies that had to match versions with this or that in order to make GIS work πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ so I did not want to do that again and put all of that in the Docker container, which was a great idea πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ’ͺ🏻

So, somehow, a few dozens of commits later I managed to put it all together in a little application with a map that would get your GPS location and place on the map mountains close to you with different colors based on its altitude. I even found a nice website to crawl some mountains from.

Mountain Catalog

It was all set up, and I thought that was the hard part πŸ˜‚

So I decided to deploy it to AWS with the docker containers and stuff, et voilΓ‘.

πŸ›‘ Browser navigation API does not work on HTTP, so I placed it in a custom domain 🟒, why not ? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

And it worked πŸŽ‰

πŸ›‘ For a year, until I had to renew my certificate 😞

Well, for some months I just gave up on everything and stopped thinking about.

Until I decided to try and revive this project. So I learned why you should use distinct EBS volumes in your servers instead of putting everything in the root volume πŸ˜… I tried to reduce the root volume of the EC2 instance I was using by moving it's content to a smaller one and restarting another instance with that small volume, to save some money πŸ’°

Well, that would work, if only it was not the root volume, I spent the whole night trying to do that, and I seriously don't recommend it. A few hours later I just started all over from a small volume in a new instance and it took me like 20 minutes to set it all up πŸ˜‚ Talk about a waste of time.

But this time I used Let's Encrypt to place a 3 months certificate in the server so that I could use the custom domain I already had And it worked 🟒

πŸ›‘ For 3 more months until I had to renew it. Then I was just ashamed to be paying for AWS for 3 months (even if it was just $5/mon). And decided to give in for the automated stuff, I was proud to have done everything as manually as it could be, I learned a lot. But I also learned when to let others do stuff that is not worth for you πŸ˜‚

And I googled a bit and saw that Heroku was offering a Postgis instance as external resource, not exactly as easy as it seemed.

But then it finally worked πŸŽ‰ and this time, for free πŸ’°

Later I realized the undocumented env var was actually being deprecated and replaced by a buildpack, that's why it was not documented πŸ˜…

Anyways, the application was working, on a new database and all, now I just had to run the crawler to fetch the data again.

πŸ›‘ The website I was crawling from was not live anymore πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

After a few moving volumes from AWS here and there (because of course I did not have access to the instance anymore), I could get in the database and generate a dump from the previously crawled website.

And now, 2 years later, it's finally live, in a way I don't have to tend for it every now and then πŸ˜‚ It's not my custom domain (because that's paid on Heroku), but it's live, and I'm happy to finally just forget about this project. I'm working on more interesting things right now.

Phew πŸ˜… That was a long fight.