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In March of 2010 I began working in Beverly Hills with Chris Testa, a friend I’d met while at Google in Santa Monica. He had hired me to be the architect of a small startup that he was team lead/director for; I was to be the research branch.
While talking one afternoon about how to solve an unrelated problem, Chris mentioned Redis as a database that I might find interesting (given my education in theoretical computer science). Several weeks later, after using and patching Redis for our purposes, I started participating on the mailing list, offering advice and a patch or two. As time went on, I used Redis for a wider variety of projects at our startup: searching, an ad targeting engine, a Twitter analytics engine, and many pieces to connect the different parts of our infrastructure. Each project forced me to learn more about Redis. And as I saw others on the mailing list using Redis, asking questions, I couldn’t help but offer more and more advice (my all-time favorite was actually a job-search problem, which became section 7.4), becoming one of the most prolific posters on the Redis mailing list.
In late September 2011, while on my honeymoon in Paris, I received a call from a Manning Publications acquisitions editor named Michael Stephens. I didn’t receive the call immediately, because my phone doesn’t work outside the United States. And due to bugs in my phone’s firmware, I didn’t even receive the message until the second week of October.
When I finally got the message and spoke to Michael, I learned that someone at Manning had decided that it was about time to publish Redis in Action. After reading the relevant mailing lists and asking around for suggestions as to who should write the book, my name came up. Luckily, Manning was still taking book proposals when I called.
After a few weeks of discussions and a few book proposal revisions (primarily resulting from farming several dozen of my past Redis mailing list advice posts), Manning accepted my proposal, and I started writing. It’s now around 17 months since I first spoke with Michael, and Redis in Action is essentially complete, missing only a few details that I’m finishing up now. I’ve spent a full year of evenings and weekends producing a book to help others understand and utilize one of the most interesting technologies I’ve come across — more interesting than almost anything I’ve run into since the day I sat down at my family’s first computer, 20 years ago this past Christmas.
My only regret in all of this is not having had the foresight to invent Redis in the first place. But at least I had the opportunity to write the book on it!
The road to Redis in Action being distributed online by Redis Labs is a long and interesting story that starts in 2010, with a suggestion by my friend and manager Chris Testa to take a look at Redis.
While building search engines, an ad targeting engine, and a Twitter analytics platform in Redis for work, I couldn’t help but answer questions from Redis users in the Redis mailing list. Questions as simple as how snapshotting works (chapter 4) or basic caching (chapter 2), and as complicated as distributed messaging (chapter 6), search engines (chapter 7), and even Lua scripting (chapter 11). So many people with so many interesting problems, all solvable in Redis.
Originally written for, published, and distributed by Manning Publications, Manning saw what I was doing on the mailing list, and after contacting me, we ultimately came to an agreement. I saw Redis in Action as the next step that I could take to help people use Redis, spending January to October of 2012 writing, with additional editing, layout, and printing taking until June 2013 before books were shipped.
I like to tell people that after reading Redis in Action not only will they know more about Redis, but they will know how to use Redis more effectively, will know how to apply Redis to more of the problems they are faced with, and will generally use Redis more often. It’s a great marketing blurb, but it has been shown true time and time again by Redis Labs, which is why they purchased rights to distribute Redis in Action.
One of several things that Redis Labs offers is hosted Redis as a service. Currently boasting competitive or better pricing, better features, and better performance than any other Redis hosting services available, you are reading this edition of Redis in Action because Redis Labs knows that better documentation and better information will help you to make the most of your Redis experience. And I feel confident saying that Redis in Action contains the best collection of documentation and use-cases for Redis available anywhere today.
But enough of my stories, you have a book to read.