My friend Warren Myers posted a question about the viability of a subscription-based social network not too long ago, and the concept kind of stuck with me. I’ve thought about the idea off and on since I’ve read it and initially commented on it, and it’s led to the point where I’m thinking about the concept less as a “Google+/Twitter/Facebook with a monthly fee” but more of a thought experiment of what if I were to design an all-new social network from the ground up, what would it look like? Now, all the social networks we know and use exist, and I’m not going to pretend we’ve never had such things. Also, this is all really based around how I use social networks, which is primarily content consumption, not content creation. That said, here’s where I see social networks going.
Read any technical blog post that gives a deep dive into fixing any type of issue, and 1 thing you notice fairly quickly is that going through the logs is an important part of the process. Debug issues in any application you’re working on, and 1 thing you notice fairly quickly is whether or not your logs are any good. It’s a distinction that can make all the difference when the question of “What the deuce just happened?” rears its ugly head. Better logging can make your life easier, largely by telling you all about the state of what’s going on in your code so you can spend your time actually fixing and updating things instead of running down just what is going on in the first place.
I spend a lot of time at work on a read-only RESTful API. A little bit of big picture here, the company I work for, Digitalsmiths, builds the data delivery APIs for TMS (they provide most of the scheduling data you see when you “Guide” on your TV remote). This is powered by Digitalsmiths’s own APIs. Basically what happens is that the TMS API is a front-end for our own API. Calls come in, we build queries for our own API, and query said own API, process the results and then return the appropriate data. When the API was first written, the data covered just the US and Canada. As TMS expanded started to cover other countries, that data grew, and with that has come some growing pains.
Have you ever been working on something, and had a thought how something should be done, started to talk it out with somebody, only have the phrase “it’s not that important” get used? If it’s not important enough to think about doing well, why are we thinking about doing it at all then?