Friday, May 23, 2008

Armchair Architects

Funny post by @al3x about Twitter architecture. Oh wait it wasn't supposed to be funny, oops. The fact is that he should totally expect more people to diss Twitter and pretend that they could easily solve all of the problems. I am not just being cynical about people, they actually have some good reasons to do so:

  • Twitter crashes a lot. If your site did not crash so much, then people would not think you are an idiot and that they could easily do a better job. The people may all be wrong, but that does not matter. Why do you think Microsoft has come to have such a bad reputation? People do not care about what MSFT did to Netscape, Sun, or Apple. They care about BSODs. People hate Vista because Microsoft did not make it as backwards compatible with 3rd party drivers that did lots of bad, hacky things. But now Vista crashes, so people complain about MSFT.
  • Twitter seems simple. You put a 140 character limit on updates and what do you expect? Part of Twitter's appeal is its simplicity, but that same simplicity creates expectations and makes people think they could do it themselves better. Maintenance is expected for things that seem complex, like cars or Photoshop, but not for (seemingly) simple things like iPods or Twitter. If you think hard about it, Twitter is much more complex than it seems, but who wants to think hard?
  • Ruby developers are obnoxious. Oh this is my favorite. Ruby developers are a small but very vocal group. They love rubbing it in your face that Ruby is so much more expressive or object-oriented or whatever than anything else on the planet. The Rails sub-cult is even worse about this. So when the most high-profile Rails site starts failing constantly, you must expect a lot of smug developers to wag their fingers. It is kind of a shame that Twitter is paying for DHH's bad karma ... but then again @blaine did make that infamous claim about how easy it was to scale Rails. Of course he's gone now, but there is still enough bad karma to go around. How many Ruby developers would admit how bad their software is? Think about that.

1 comment:

Trav said...

I can't take anyone serious who has "Hotel California" on their current songlist.