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Well, this puts a bit of a damper on all those good vibes around Ruby on Rails — Twitter may soon dump the application framework in favor of Java or PHP, according to TechCrunch.
With its popularity among the tech crowd, Twitter has been struggling with scaling issues. The group messaging site’s once-frequent problems with downtime have lessened, but it still experienced a caching problem a week ago that made the service virtually useless for an entire weekend. The company may have decided that if it wants to continue growing — without risking further outages that would hurt said growth — Rails wasn’t going to cut it.
These rumors come little more than a week after Twitter announced the departure of its chief architect Blaine Cook, a big Rails fan. For example, here’s a video of Cook giving a presentation on how “Rails Scales” (looks like others in the company may not have agreed).
If this news turns out to be true, it may slow the momentum that Rails development has been building. In the last few months, Benchmark Capital announced investments in Engine Yard and New Relic, two companies related to Rails application deployment and management, and a similar service called Heroku has also gotten a positive response. There are major sites running on Rails too, including Scribd and Hulu. What I’ve been hearing is that Rails has a lot of the excitement of a new technology, but a lot of the uncertainty as well.
Update 1: Interestingly enough, eWeek published an article today about Twitter proving Ruby on Rails’ resilience. Maybe we spoke too soon, or maybe it’s just a case of really, really bad timing …
Update 2: Evan Williams, founder of Obvious (which owns Twitter), says “Twitter currently has no plans to abandon RoR.”
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