Archive for April 9, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Instagram Architecture Facebook Bought for a Cool Billion Dollars

High Scalability:

Instagram uses a pastiche of different technologies and strategies. The team is small yet has experience rapid growth riding the crest of a rising social and mobile wave, it uses a hybrid of SQL and NoSQL, it uses a ton of open source projects, they chose the cloud over colo, Amazon services are highly leveraged rather than building their own, reliability is through availability zones, async work scheduling links components together, the system is composed as much as possible of services exposing an API and external services they don’t have to build, data is stored in-memory and in the cloud, most code is in a dynamic language, custom bits have been coded to link everything together, and they have gone fast and kept small.

Although I presume the millions of users are what Facebook really paid for.

The Sandbox: Banning LaTeX From the Mac App Store

Valletta Ventures:

Texpad will parse the file, automatically open included files, and present them all to the user in a unified editor. […] This behaviour is ruled out by the Sandbox because the user has only granted permission for Texpad to open the root file itself. We would never do it, but we could avoid this limitation by wrecking the user experience, forcing the user to open the files one by one. Unsolvable however is the problem of LaTeX itself, which can never be compatible with the Sandbox.

Presumably, Apple expects such applications to prompt the user to authorize access to whole folder hierarchies, and then persist that via security-scoped bookmarks. They’re not dogfooding this approach with Xcode, iTunes, Aperture, etc., though. If every application started doing stuff like this it would become annoying and train users not to scrutinize such the dialogs very carefully.

App Store Retrospective

Kenneth Ballenegger:

But what’s even more scary, to me, than a mistake Apple might have made recently (such as its deprecation of UDIDs) is how relevant this old list of complaints remains. Remember, when I wrote this, the App Store was just one year old. I figured, they might just not have had time to get to these items, and that they’d improve as time went by. But, since then, they’ve had time to replay the entire life of the App Store thrice more, and for the most part, nothing has changed.

It seems like the review process has gotten faster. But most of the policy changes seem to be in the direction of adding more restrictions rather than addressing developers’ concerns. To me, the interesting question is to what extent Apple actively likes the App Store the way it is, that it’s working as designed. And to what extent the problems stem from the music store origins, and Apple simply hasn’t thought about it that much since the overall sales numbers and press have been good.