Why Sites Change Over Time

By Deane Barker on October 2, 2010

A user’s guide to websites, part 1: If it wasn’t broken why fix it?: Really great post about why sites have to change as they scale, written by a guy who works for the Guardian, and, previously, Flickr.   I don’t know that there’s anything ground-breaking in here, but the guy is a great writer and it’s hysterical to read.

Something that turned out to be hugely popular was actually written by Dave in his favourite programming language, REBOL, as a side project on a stack of 20 networked Amiga 2000s.

WebOps refuse to support the Amiga 2000s. Dave re-writes the code in Perl and leaves taking his Amigas with him. Everyone still loves the feature but hates using Perl, it gets re-written 3 times in PHP, it still doesn’t scale.

Someone re-writes it in an afternoon in Python but it only works and scales if sub-feature “x” gets left out. 98% of users don’t notice, 1.9% of users form a protest #hashtag on twitter. 0.1% of users argue about the merits of scaling in PHP vs Python vs Their Favourite Language, they write a blogpost about it (using their own blogging platform they wrote themselves in 1997) slashdot links the post and ironically declares the original site “over”