Amazon’s web services have made rebuilding uSwitch.com so much easier. We’re gradually moving more and more static assets to CloudFront (although most visitors are in the UK responses have much lower latencies than direct from S3 or even our own nginx servers). CloudFront doesn't support serving gzip'ed content direct from S3 out of the box.
Because of this, up until last week we were serving uncompressed assets, at least anything that wasn’t already compressed (such as images). Last week we put together a simple static assets nginx server to help compress things.
Whilst doing the work for uSwitch.com I realised it would be trivial to write an application that would let any CloudFront user compress to any S3 bucket by using an equivalent URL structure. So I knocked up a quick node.js app that’s hosted on Heroku for all to use: dfl8.co.
S3 assets can be referenced through a pretty simple URL structure. By creating an app that behaves in the same way, and proxies (whilst compressing) the response, it would be easy to create a compressible S3 for everyone.
For example, the URL
http://pingles-example.s3.amazonaws.com/sample.css references the S3 bucket
pingles-example and the object we want to retrieve is identified by the name
The same resource can be accessed through
http://pingles-example.dfl8.co/sample.css and will be gzip compressed. CloudFront now lets you specify custom origins so for the above you’d add
http://pingles-example.dfl8.co to setup a CloudFront distribution for the
pingles-example S3 bucket.
At the moment it will only proxy public resources. Response latency also seems quite high at the moment but given the aim is to get content into the highly-cached and optimised CloudFront I’m not too fussed by it.