Saturday, August 8

Quoted in Computerworld article re: Twitter DDoS

First off, I would like to say, I think the Twitter support team tries very hard, and is generally forthcoming and supportive when it comes to working with we Twitter app developers. Every now and then, they drop the ball, and that was unfortunately the case with the (Russian based?) distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that caused problems earlier this week (Thursday/Friday the 6th and 7th of August) and continues to cause issues with throttling today.

App developers stung by Twitter's DOS woes

I think my input on the matter was a little more balanced than the parts quoted indicate:

Twitter could have done a much better job of communicating with the developer community, said Andrew Badera, president and CEO of Higher Efficiency, an IT consulting and software development company that has built several Twitter applications.

"The outreach was fair to poor," he said in an e-mail interview. While Twitter focused on providing updates about the performance problems affecting end-users, it was late in addressing specific issues with its developer platform, Badera said.

"Twitter worried about their infrastructure first, as was proper, then the media, before ever bothering to talk to the developer community in any fashion. And if it weren't for the third party ecosystem that has sprung up around Twitter, Twitter wouldn't have blown up the way it did, and the media wouldn't care about Twitter to begin with," Badera said.'

Part of the "interview email" that didn't make it into the published article:

-- At a more general level, what has been your level of satisfaction with the Twitter developer program overall? How could they improve it?

My response: 'Decent to excellent, especially since they brought on Doug Williams, and now Chad Etzel, (API support plucked from the developer community) but in general it's always been pretty good. Twitter and its engineers have always been pretty friendly to the community, and until recently, there have been no concerns about trademark issues, making it easy to create fun apps that fit well with Twitter. Whitelisting has always been a fairly painless process, especially now that they've cleared the backlog there. In general Twitter has been kind to developers, if not always as inclusive or informative as we'd like. They seem to be making genuine efforts to get better at these things, taking our criticism and suggestions in stride.'

My faith was shaken, however, when Twitter's head of the platform team engineer, Ryan Sarver, tweeted that he and other Twitter staff were headed out for sushi last night, while developers were still left without status updated on a lot of critical issues that continue to plague us this weekend. Preserved for posterity:

Headed to umi with @devon and a crew of Twitter peeps"

Now I, of all people, understand -- ya gotta eat! And work doesn't (shouldn't) own you. And I have much love where sushi is involved. However, when you've left your entire ecosystem of third-party developers and their apps hanging, when some of us have livelihoods in the balance, maybe you should be a little less public about your non-troubleshooting activities.