Twitter Sucks, Somewhat

After using Twitter for a couple weeks or so, I like the service and the idea well enough. But the site itself is pissing me off.

Performance

Tales of performance woes and downtime on Twitter have not been greatly exaggerated. I had heard of these problems before, but now I get to experience them firsthand. About a quarter of the time I click on anything, the site just hangs, or the little Ajax progress indicator swirly-thing in the corner of the page just spins and spins and spins.

Reliability

Another quarter of the time I click on anything, I get an error message, or the request returns, but without having effected the intended result. As a result, my home page is littered with twitters from some spammo turd and I can't seem to unfollow him, and there are people I would like to follow, but can't. At least I think I can't - sometimes I get their updates. But I guess getting an error or incorrect results is better than waiting indefinitely for no results.

Intuitiveness

They really need to clarify some of the flows through the whole system. If I log on to IM and message OFF, does my phone get messages? What if I message ON to IM, then go to my home page, and click Send To Phone (assuming it works)? The documentation on the site is mediocre. But I can't say much there because nobody likes documentation.

In Conclusion

Twitter was the first large-scale, super-popular, consumer internet site built with Ruby on Rails. There has been much debate on the merits of that decision. Now, there are other successful Rails sites out there, including the 37signals folks, and Zvents. But I wonder how wide their audience is and/or how much traffic they get. (And there a lot of newsy, CMS-type sites, but simply publishing articles doesn't really turn me on.)

Personally, I'm not impressed with Rails when I consider Twitter. I don't know if it's the language, or their developers, but neither speaks well for Rails. Of course, I say that having coded exactly one Rails app in my life. These days, I can make PHP do anything for me (of course, it wasn't easy getting here).

2 comments:

Edmund said...

"But I can't say much there because nobody likes documentation."

It's true. This is one of the reasons I am no longer a technical writer.

Christian said...

Twitter Must Die.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4FuOZQKRtE