Engineering Blog

PaaStorm: A Streaming Processor

This is the fourth post in a series covering Yelp's real-time streaming data infrastructure. Our series explores in-depth how we stream MySQL updates in real-time with an exactly-once guarantee, how we automatically track & migrate schemas, how we process and transform streams, and finally how we connect all of this into datastores like Redshift and Salesforce. Read the posts in the series: Billions of Messages a Day - Yelp's Real-time Data Pipeline Streaming MySQL tables in real-time to Kafka More Than Just a Schema Store Trouble in Paradise Back in 2010, Yelp open-sourced MRJob, a framework to run big MapReduce...

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Undebt: How We Refactored 3 Million Lines of Code

Peter Seibel wrote that to maximize engineering effectiveness, “Let a thousand flowers bloom. Then rip 999 of them out by the roots.” Flowers, in how the metaphor applies to us, are code patterns — the myriad different functions, classes, styles, and idioms that developers use when writing code. At first, new flowers are welcome — maybe the new pattern seems easier to use, more scalable, more efficient, or more suited to some particular task than the old. As a code base grows, and the flowers proliferate, however, it becomes clear which patterns work and which don’t. Suddenly, code patterns that...

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AMIRA: Automated Malware Incident Response and Analysis

Brave malware analysts at Yelp have spent a lot of time looking at the digital forensics from potentially infected macOS systems, gathered using our open source project, OSXCollector. Early on, we automated parts of the analysis process, augmenting the initial set of digital forensics collected from the machines with the information gathered from the threat intelligence APIs and internal blacklists. This involved identifying potentially suspicious domains, URLs and file hashes but our approach to the analysis still required a certain degree of configuration and manual maintenance which was tedious for the malware response team. In this blog post I will...

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More Than Just a Schema Store

This is the third post in a series covering Yelp's real-time streaming data infrastructure. Our series explores in-depth how we stream MySQL updates in real-time with an exactly-once guarantee, how we automatically track & migrate schemas, how we process and transform streams, and finally how we connect all of this into datastores like Redshift and Salesforce. Read the posts in the series: Billions of Messages a Day - Yelp's Real-time Data Pipeline Streaming MySQL tables in real-time to Kafka More Than Just a Schema Store When you have a system that streams billions of messages a day, in real-time, from...

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How We Scaled Our Ad Analytics with Apache Cassandra

On the Ad Backend team, we recently moved our ad analytics data from MySQL to Apache Cassandra. Here’s why we thought Cassandra was a good fit for our application, and some lessons we learned that you might find useful if you’re thinking about using Cassandra! Why Cassandra? First, a little bit about our application. We have over 100,000 paying advertisers. Every day, we calculate the numbers of views and clicks each ad campaign received the previous day and the amount of money spent by each campaign. With these analytics, we generate bills and many different types of reports. Back in...

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Yelp Dataset Challenge Round 6 Winner

Yelp Dataset Challenge Round 6 Winners The sixth round of the Yelp Dataset Challenge ran throughout the second half of 2015 and we were really impressed with the projects and ideas that came out of the challenge. Today, we are proud to announce the grand prize winner of the $5,000 award: “Topic Regularized Matrix Factorization for Review Based Rating Prediction” by Jiachen Li, Yan Wang, Xiangyu Sun, Chengliang Lian, and Ming Yao (from the Language Technologies Institute, School of Computer Science, at Carnegie Mellon University). The authors created a recommender system to inform Yelpers about which business they might be...

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Streaming MySQL tables in real-time to Kafka

This is the second post in a series covering Yelp's real-time streaming data infrastructure. Our series explores in-depth how we stream MySQL updates in real-time with an exactly-once guarantee, how we automatically track & migrate schemas, how we process and transform streams, and finally how we connect all of this into datastores like Redshift and Salesforce. Read the posts in the series: Billions of Messages a Day - Yelp's Real-time Data Pipeline Streaming MySQL tables in real-time to Kafka More Than Just a Schema Store As our engineering team grew, we realized we had to move away from a single...

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Yelp API v3 Developer Preview

For the past few months we’ve been working on revamping our API based off your feedback of wanting more Yelp data and functionality. Today, we’re excited to announce that the newest version of our API is entering developer preview. What’s new? We’re exposing two new features as part of the developer preview: autocomplete and transaction search. As a user performs a search, autocomplete will help them find what they want (some might even say we have the ability to read their minds). With autocomplete, a user’s search experience will feel much more intuitive. The API now exposes a search endpoint...

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