ntang (ntang) wrote,

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On Performance.

One of the difficulties of working on the web is that it's really hard to build apps that scale up, in terms of total number of users, in simultaneous users it can support, in the number of requests it can handle per second... since it's all coming from outside sources, essentially anonymous ones, there's no way you can really anticipate how traffic will be. Sure, you can make a guess. You can brace yourself for special events and promos and tie-ins. But in the end, you just take what's dished out, and hope your work is good enough to stand up to it.

So far, Livejournal's been failing the tests. brad's a great programmer and application designer, and he's done some really good work, but he just hasn't been able to keep up. Every time he says "Aha! I've solved it!" and releases some great new idea into the wild, it does in fact improve things for a day, or a week, or a month, until traffic surges in response and crushes it again. It's disappointing, because I think LJ is a great site, but I wonder if he'll ever really be able to keep up - or even... dare I say it... stay ahead of the curve.

It's one of the things that makes me proud to work where I do. Why? Because, while we've definitely suffered from our growing pains and the like, we've managed to stay ahead of the curve. Not only that, but every new feature or app we release outdoes the one before it, outperforms it, and makes the site(s) that much faster. We do a billion frickin' page views a month, and 99% of the time, we do 'em faster than most sites out there. We're certainly not perfect, and we've suffered some embarrassing failures, but for every failure we've had we've had 10 major successes.

So yeah, I'm bragging, I guess. But I dunno, it's nice to do a job you can take pride in. I love the fact that our sites are fast and popular and work well; as much as I can bitch, I take a lot of pride in the job we've done.

(There was no point to this post, really. I was just suffering through LJ and then saw LJ Match and suffered even more and then decided to check our sites, and enjoyed being able to click and actually get a response.)

(As I said to a friend over AIM, trying to use LJ and LJ Match at the same time right now is like stabbing yourself in the face with a fork. God, this sucks.)
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