It’s quite easy to get scared by large systems of things that seem like magic.
The Internet is pretty remarkable. It’s probably among the largest and most
complicated systems ever designed by human beings. All those hundreds of web
pages we view each month arrive at our computers unscathed a large percentage of
the time. Some of them will have crossed the Pacific! That small percentage of
the time we have a page “hang” while loading is often resolved by simply hitting
the refresh button. Ace, right?
But how do those pages actually get to us? In this post (and maybe more, I might
split them out, we’ll see how it goes) I want to show how these things work with
practical examples and real commands that you can run to inspect what’s going
Prerequisite knowledge: Basic Ruby should do it. If you’ve built a simple
web application with Sinatra or Rails or something similar, you should be able
to follow along without much issue.
NOTE: I’m a Mac user. Some of the examples may be Mac specific. I will try,
where possible, to give equivalent commands you can run on a Linux machine but
I may miss something out. If you spot something that doesn’t work on your
platform, get in touch. Windows users: I’m sorry.