[My notes from the recorded talk of del.icio.us author at the Carson Workshop Summit on the future of Web Apps:]

  • Scaling
    • Recommends reading: Cal Handerson & Brad Fitzpatrick (Flickr & LiveJournal) presentation on how to make things fast (scaling) – helped Joshua a lot
    • Nagios - to figure what went wrong, get alerts
    • Use caching everywhere possible
    • figure where you can be latent (slopy), & be latent there
    • wait to see what actually breaks before it actually does
    • Know how to tune DB & Apache
    • Put Proxy – not Apache – before it: prioritizing services, load balancing
    • e.g., someone saves the site to his disk – this will blow the site
    • e.g., Greasemonkey script that checks delicious on every web page
    • throttlling
  • API – help adoption
    • the easier API is, the more they’re used
    • don’t expose the internal identifier, especially if its sequential or computable (people will iterate on it)
  • what features to add?
    • things that are crucial for success (eg tagging) – very usable, must be added
    • don’t add something that exist elsewhere (e.g. messages)
    • if something is asked, try understand the reason, what’s the real problem that needs to be solved
    • some features have a too heavy performance price (eg query calculus)
  • put RSS every possible thing
    • always be able to answer: is there new data in this RSS (by time)? this will save access to data
    • RSS is the heaviest traffic
  • hide everything of the underlying framework (e.g., filename.php)
  • watch for new behavior in the application, & decide what to do with it
  • solve a problem you really have (Joshua had a text file with 26K bookmarks) – because you really understand the problem & passionate on solving it better than whoever don’t have it
  • every day your system isn’t open, you’re loosing users & input. get it out there asap
  • aggregation of attention (what’s popular today) is cool when the population is small, if its big there’s too much bias. create piles of attention
  • spam – people will try to get to the pile of attention
    • when you track spammers, don’t give them any feedback (error messages &c)
  • tagging:
    • useful for recall
    • ok for discovery
    • bad for distribution
    • not all metadata is tags
    • make people make the minimal amount of work
  • understand the motivation of the people
    • user 1 have to find the system useful (from selfish reasons)
    • if the value is from many users, it’s problematic
    • the tip: the users community should want to get more users to the system (evangalize, viral)
  • beaware where you spend your efforts (e.g., a feature no one ever uses)
  • watch your system carefully
    • intuition backed by data
    • measure everything
    • how people react to features, what they do
    • measure behavior rather than claims
  • testing is very important
    • user acceptance testing
    • everybody on the team should look behind the mirror on actual user labs
    • when doing labs, don’t give them todo’s
    • they worked with “Creative Good
  • use the users language
    • don’t make them use your language
  • registration for seeing is a roadblock
    • give as much functionality possible without registration
    • users want to get a good idea of what they’ll get before registering
    • you must show them, they won’t read about it
    • registration should be as fast as possible, & get you to where you were before
  • understand where you’re breaking the current paradigm, but other than that, learn & use how the world/internet work (emulate it)
  • you have to develop a set of morals
    • its the users data, not your data
    • CRUD their data
    • up to remove all your account data
  • infection vectors
    • Joshua spend $0
    • promote evangalism
    • RSS is good – you evade channels, get to applications & users
  • understand how a community uses your system
    • Joshua don’t want to own the community – the community is elsewhere
    • just enable communities use your system, don’t force them anything

[See also:

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