Friday, June 27, 2008

Powerset : Ruby Front End

Great insights on Ruby's front end from Kevin Clark's blog:

"The simple fact is that Ruby wasn’t the source of Twitter’s woes. As it often happens with rapidly growing sites, they ran into architectural problems. Some design decisions don’t hurt until they reach a massive scale and at that point you have to rethink your approach. In an email he writes:

For us, it’s really about scaling horizontally - to that end, Rails and Ruby haven’t been stumbling blocks, compared to any other language or framework. The performance boosts associated with a “faster” language would give us a 10-20% improvement, but thanks to architectural changes that Ruby and Rails happily accommodated, Twitter is 10000% faster than it was in January

This is great news for Twitter, but even better for us because we don’t have the bottle necks that they’ve struggled with – databases, instant messaging servers, and regularly recycling cache systems – which makes scaling horizontally much much smoother. At that point, our scaling issue doesn’t concern Ruby. For a search engine, the front-end is largely just a templating system and the real work happens in the back when we process your query."

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