Jeff Shell wrote:
We're working on something where we need to allow site visitors to
rate items. It's the basic star-rating thing. We want to keep a count
of the number of votes along with the current value.

At work we've been contemplating an approach for use in some similar situations we want to address.

In broad strokes: keep the updated value in memory, write the value to the database "periodically" (for whatever value of "periodically" is appropriate for the data).

This should work well when the value changes often and loosing the most recent updates to the value isn't catastrophic.
Benji York
Senior Software Engineer
Zope Corporation
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