Monday, August 18, 2008

From the Dev Corner: An Under-The-Hood Preview of Our New Engine

It’s been a while since we’ve given an update on the progress of the porting of Jaiku to Google App Engine, and many of you have been keen to know how work is progressing.

It’s as if we were retrofitting a locomotive with a powerful new engine. Everything under the classic body gets upgraded.

Just like on the inside the locomotive is composed of a drive train, transmission, and so on, Jaiku is composed of services for features like fetching Web feeds, receiving and sending SMS, the IM bot, and Jaiku Mobile. We’re reimplementing them all so that they work well with the App Engine. In some cases we’re expanding the App Engine platform itself. We’re taking the opportunity to learn from porting Jaiku to benefit both our users and make App Engine better.

The port to App Engine will also benefit third-party developers who are writing cool applications for Jaiku. In the process of rewriting Jaiku’s Web site on Django, we’re improving the way the site is written so 3rd party developers will have greater control over the system and can write applications that provide richer features to their users.

Those who’ve payed attention know how excited we are about open Web standards like OAuth, Microformats, and OpenID. The port to AppEngine is an opportunity to add more support for them to the Jaiku platform and contribute back to the community by implementing support for the standards we love. For example, the new Jaiku API will support OAuth.

The biggest benefit for the Jaiku community is that we’ll be able to grow and support many more users. Where before we used MySQL, now we’re using the more scalable App Engine data store and an improved data model. We’ll be moving existing users’ data to the new architecture to make sure Jaiku scales up for you and all your friends.

So, where are we now? We’re putting the finishing touches on the entire system. As any developer knows, sometimes there are surprises, so we’ll periodically let you know how things are progressing.

We appreciate your patience and can’t wait to open up Jaiku to everyone!