The Reengineering of Facebook Messages

How do you completely redesign the software used by 750 million people—without hitting the pause button?

8 min read

Upgrading any kind of software usually requires that its users stop using it, at least briefly, to enable the new software to replace the old and to transfer any stored information before users start working with the new version. We’re all familiar with messages from systems administrators reminding us that servers we’re using will be off-line for a couple of hours in the middle of the night for maintenance.

But when you’ve got three-quarters of a billion users around the world, there’s no "middle of the night." And in an era when people have come to expect e-mails and texts and tweets and posts to arrive within seconds of sending them, there’s little patience for pauses of any kind.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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