Restoring App State for Demos and Development with Reel


If you provide a demo site for an application, you might have a cron job setup to periodically restore the application’s state to some default. This allows prospects to try out your service by making changes that are periodically reset to a default state.

You may also find yourself with a similar workflow to us on some projects, where we have a feature branch that requires us to periodically load a version of the database, so we can test migrations and our feature before the feature is merged into production.

🖭 reel 🖭

Reel aims to simplify these two cases by providing the following features:

Reel is currently being used to restore an application’s database state for development within a vagrant box, by exposing a port from the guest OS to the host where we can tell the system to list data sources and load one.

api endpoints

The API endpoints reel provides include:

    /reel/                             - Management requests for reel itself.
    /reel/api/v1/sources/              - List of database source files for
                                         default app.
    /reel/api/v1/sources/{app}         - List of database source files for
    /reel/api/v1/rewind/               - Rewind the default app.
    /reel/api/v1/rewind/{app}          - Rewind {app}
    /reel/api/v1/rewind/{app}/{source} - Rewind {app} with {source}
    /reel/api/v1/proxy/{app}           - Proxy requests for {app}

The proxy feature is still being developed. Postgresql and MySQL are both supported.

example config

An example config file for reel:


dbserver = ""
dbport = "3306"
database = "example"
dbuser = "example"
dbpassword = "example"
dbdriver = "mysql"
dbsource = "./dumpfiles/example.sql"
dbsources = "./dumpfiles/"
proxy_dest = "https://localhost:8101/"

dbserver = ""
dbport = "5432"
database = "example"
dbuser = "example"
dbpassword = "example"
dbdriver = "postgres"
dbsource = "./dumpfiles/pgdump.sql"

Above we have two applications, app and app2. App uses mysql and app2 uses postgresql. The database configuration for either application is specified, along with a source file, ./dumpfiles/pgdump.sql and ./dumpfiles/example.sql. Reel itself will eventually use a token or API key, and has a setting for a default app, if no app is provided.

Further Work

Reel was developed prior to ls-governor, and should be further developed to use the same pattern we’ve established in zefram for projects. This refactoring should be done first.

Reel needs test coverage and better documentation. Overall, we can take zefram and reel as golang projects that standardize what we want to provide for documentation. Once we’ve done that, we’ll want to use it as a template and guide line for future work.

After refactoring reel, adding better documentation, and full test coverage, we need to use a worker pool and handle processing the Rewind() function in our RewindHandler with a goroutine and jobs channel. We can create a status websocket for client updates (if needed) but initially, it’s OK to simply schedule a rewind job. Currently, a larger database dump will process for a while before a result is returned, and we simply want to return 200OK for the job being scheduled, and a token or job ID to check for on a websocket.

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