Does Twitter ever work?

Ive been trying to update my status since saturday with no luck. Don’t get me wrong, I havent been sat here for hours at a time hitting F5, but I have tried whenever Ive been on my site – which is usually a couple of times a day for various reasons. But still.. no joy.

Looking around on the web it looks like they’ve had a few problems recently with traffic spikes – a high profile case being during the MacWorld keynote speech, leaving god knows how many people in the lurch. That was a couple of weeks ago – is this an ongoing issue?

Twitter was built using the Ruby on Rails framework – something I looked at about a year ago wondering if its something I should spend some time learning. Brilliant for knocking out web apps quickly, but – as it appears – awful for scalability. One example is the fact that its only designed to allow connection to a single database per Rails installation. And if what I read about Twitter getting up to 11,000 requests per second is true, its no wonder they’re struggling. (that link is to a comment on an interview with David Heinemeier Hansson, which has since been deleted from his blog…). The common solution for fixing speed problems is “throw more servers at it”.

They must forsee these problems happening – wheres their contingency plan? And with Pownce coming out of Beta and Jaiku being bought by Google, how much longer are people going to be willing to put up with such a poor delivery of service?

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