Webscale, Not Easy

Watch out! It's a blog fly!High Scalability: “Tumblr started as a fairly typical large LAMP application. The direction they are moving in now is towards a distributed services model built around Scala, HBase, Redis, Kafka, Finagle, and an intriguing cell based architecture for powering their Dashboard. Effort is now going into fixing short term problems in their PHP application, pulling things out, and doing it right using services.”

Even the companies you believe are doing it right, start by doing it wrong, and evolve. Twitter, Facebook, and now Tumblr. Webscale is not easy to achieve. Running node.js with a MySQL database isn’t going to cut it. It takes serious planning and thought, and a great operations team to keep the beast running. I know this by experience. I made those same mistakes and learned a lot in the process.

I love this stuff.


Microblogging is Weblogging

Reuters [Anthony De Rosa]: “The difference between the two is that microblogs tend to rely heavily on short bursts of information: links, photos, videos and brief messages. Blogger fatigue gave way to sharing smaller, less labor intensive bits of content.”

In the wayback, before the time of Twitter, Tumblr, and Posterous, we had what were referred to as weblogs, or blogs for short (a word I absolutely hate.)

When I started my weblog in 2001 I’d post small, less labor intensive bits of content, like pictures, links, and brief messages. My weblog looked more like my Twitter stream looks today. Go look at the archives, you’ll find many examples.

Anywho, I find all the talk about weblogging being dead, tiring. It’s alive and well in late 2011, and I’m sure it’ll continue to thrive in 2012. It’s just doing what everything else does, it’s evolved.


Tumblr over WordPress?

WP Candy: “Remember when WordPress was criticized for being “just a simple blogging platform”? Many smart and well intentioned people have worked tirelessly moving WordPress in the direction of a full fledged content management system. I was among those asking for it [more CMS features] years ago. However, was basic blogging ease and simplicity a sacrifice that had to be made?”

WordPress is a great weblogging platform. I evaluated quite a few before switching to WordPress last year. I’d been on Blogger for nine years prior.

Tumblr is very nice and I like the posting options but you have to host everything on Tumblr. Sure, you can configure it to look like your domain, but you can’t host everything. Tumblr has had some issues scaling recently, but they’re extremely successful.

At first I wasn’t a fan of Posterous but over time I’ve become a VERY BIG fan of the platform. It’s straightforward and gives you the option of publishing via email, which is quite nice. You can also use it as an aggregation point, say you want to cross publish to different outlets, it’s great at that. My brother uses it for cross publishing. It’s worked very well for him. I love the Posterous iPhone App, very clean UI, gets right to the point, and it’s easy to work with.

As for WordPress. I can’t say enough about it. It’s beautifully designed, the UX is great, it has a great developer community, and it’s very extensible. The idea that it’s too complex comes down to UX and UI more than the underlying power of it. That can be fixed if you want a trimmed down UI.

WooThemes has done a great job of creating a UI that mimics Tumblr, it’s called WooTumblog. To take advantage of it you need to do some special stuff to your theme, but that’s not a big deal for a WordPress Professional.

WooTumblr Screen shot

I can see a small business cropping up from this need. Why not offer a lightweight version of the WordPress UI that uses WooTumblog, or something like it? From the WordPress Dashboard it would be a matter of limiting what a user is allowed to see. If your job is contributing content you should only see UI related to contributing and publishing content.

MarsEdit on my Desktop

When I’m editing content I don’t usually see my WordPress Dashboard, I use MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software. It has everything I need to edit and publish to all my weblogs; WordPress and Tumblr, it’s does not yet support Posterous, but for me that’s not a big deal. It’s a great product. Fast, stable, and simple. Content contributors would probably love this UI because it’s like using a word processor.

Indie Life

Living the dream

Hello, Dr. Jones.Marco Arment: “After four years of my serving as Tumblr’s lead developer, Tumblr’s technical management needs have evolved to require types of experience that I don’t have, and my independent career has offered a lot of opportunities that I haven’t had the time to take full advantage of.”

Good luck Marco, and congratulations!