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Monday, October 30, 2017

Evolving Technologies for Social: Hootsuite

Certainly the case in the typical information ecology most of exist within.   Thus a challenge for many organizations.  Though I rarely hear it expressed.    A lengthy and technical conversation.
In ACM Queue   Volume 15, issue 3
Hootsuite: In Pursuit of Reactive Systems

A discussion with Edward Steel, Yanik Berube, Jonas Bonér, Ken Britton, and Terry Coatta

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Hootsuite is the most widely used SaaS (software as a service) platform for managing social media. Since its humble beginnings in 2008, Hootsuite has grown into a billion-dollar company with more than 15 million users around the globe.

As Hootsuite evolved over the years, so did the technology stack. A key change was moving from LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) to microservices. A shift to microservices didn't come without its challenges, however. In this roundtable chat, we discuss how Scala and Lightbend (which offers a reactive application development platform) were an essential part of a successful transition. The exchange includes Jonas Bonér, CTO of Lightbend; Terry Coatta, CTO of Marine Learning Systems; Edward Steel, senior Scala developer at Hootsuite; Yanik Berube, lead software developer at Hootsuite; and Ken Britton, senior director of software development at Hootsuite.

TERRY COATTA I'm curious about the original set of problems Hootsuite was looking to address in the switch to microservices. Can you provide some detail?

EDWARD STEEL Mostly, it had to do with our ability to send out notifications to user mobile devices whenever something relevant happened on Twitter. By the time we started having some concerns about how we were handling that, we were already servicing several hundreds of thousands of users, each with individual subscriptions tailored to their own specific interests. What was needed was something that could stay connected to Twitter's streaming endpoints.

TC I gather that at about the same time you were making this move, you also took steps to move from PHP to Scala. What drove that?

ES Initially, it had a lot to do with learning about all the success some other organizations had experienced with Scala. This was after Twitter had decided to go with Scala, for example, and that obviously lent a lot of legitimacy to it. Also, the first team here to work with Scala came from quite a varied background. We had some people who were lobbying for a more strongly typed functional language—something on the order of Haskell—and then there were some others with Clojure and Java experience. In taking all that into account, I guess Scala just seemed to check most of the boxes.
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