The Return of the Jedi - Part 1

03 July, 2021

I'm back! This is my first time writing something here in months since I haven't had much time (nor motivation, to be honest) recently since I've been focusing on my thesis and a couple other things. Nevertheless, I've got a bunch I want to write about, so I'll be breaking this post into different parts, so stay tuned!

For the past few years, I've been developing and maintaining my chess club's (Grupo de Xadrez do Porto) website in my free time, as I've mentioned in a previous post. The website was developed using Meteor and features a bunch of information about the club's activities, players, and a few other things. I initially started by hosting it using AWS free tier, which offers a low-budget VPS. After the free tier terminated, the club decided to extend the AWS hosting for another year.

In terms of domain management, the club has been renewing the same domain for years and years now. Initially, the domain was being managed at, which is terrible in terms of management flexibility. I "upgraded" the management to which, although it wasn't perfect, was surely a big improvement.

However, in the end of the last year, it was brought to my attention by a good friend that CloudFlare was not only pretty neat for domain management, but also the first company to offer SSL/TLS protection free of charge and without bothersome configuration. Since I had some free time on my hands, I decided to go all-in with CloudFlare, and I am very happy with the results. The process took less than a couple of hours, and I've then started using CloudFlare for my personal domain as well — It is a game-changer.

While I was at it, I also decided to make some changes to the website itself. Since it was hosted in an AWS IaaS, managing updates and adding new features was at times a bit cumbersome and not as automatic as I would like. After doing some digging around the internets, I found out that Heroku free tier features a Meteor buildpack which facilitates the deployment process. I then created a staging instance to check if it was "solid" enough to hold up in production, and did a bit of load testing using Locust to check if it held up with some traffic in its hands. Since we don't have (and won't have any time in the near future) a large number of people accessing the website, it proved to be more than enough. I have then deleted the AWS instance and moved everything to Heroku, and I now have a much easier time pushing updates and changes to production. Additionally, it was also quite easy to configure the custom domain in the Heroku PaaS instance — I simply added the domain and received a DNS target that allowed me to create a CNAME record in CloudFlare, easy peasy!

Finally, I also added a couple of new features to the website's management dashboard. Firstly, I added the capability of bulk editing players info, which is pretty useful, specially in the beginning and ending of tournament-season. Additionally, I enhanced the updating of photos (some of the pictures were hard-coded, which was far from ideal 😬) and did some minor tweaks in styling here and there. I'm finally moderately happy with the website 😅

In the following parts, I'm going to be writing a little bit about some side projects, my thesis, and my future work plans.