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    • Firebase is a "backend as a service" - and the fact that it has paid tiers beyond the free one makes me hopeful that it won't go away over night. ;)

      A Wordpress plugin will likely use one of the database services available on Firebase, but there's also hosting&storage, user authentication, remote configuration, A/B testing, ...

    • That was a fantastic comment. Thanks for sharing!

      I've experienced the opposite of Google's "shared codebase, always run from HEAD" approach.

      About a decade ago I worked for Yahoo. It was common for Yahoo products to share certain infrastructure in the form of service APIs and versioned dependencies, but virtually all Yahoo products had their own separate codebases, managed their dependencies separately, and ran on servers that were dedicated to that specific product. This was in the days before containerization was really a thing (and AWS was just barely starting to become a thing).

      As a result, it was not uncommon for a Yahoo product or service to be essentially abandoned without actually being shut down. Nobody would be working on it, but somewhere in Yahoo's many data centers there were still servers running that product's code, users were still using it, and things were mostly fine.

      Until something went wrong, or a shared API needed to change in a backwards-incompatible way. Then there'd be a huge effort to try to track down anyone at the company who still knew anything about that product in the hopes that they could help fix it or update it or at least shut it down smoothly.

      On one occasion I witnessed, an incident at a datacenter resulted in the need to power-cycle a bunch of servers. It turned out that some of the servers in question were running an ancient and unmaintained product (it took a while to even figure out what was running on those servers in the first place), so there was nobody who could say whether or not that product would actually come back up if those servers were turned off. For all anybody knew, it was possible those servers had never actually been turned off since the product was launched and later abandoned.

      All things considered, I think I'd have preferred Google's approach, even though it still has its downsides.

    • I remember interviewing engineers at Yahoo who said they were looking for new jobs because they were assigned an old product Yahoo bought, then the founders split, leaving them with a codebase no one knew.

    • Firebase isn't going anywhere, count on it. Every back end service for apps Google has (push messaging, crash reporting, realtime database, remote config, analytics, auth, remote config, ...) is being rolled into it. Basically it's like AWS for apps.

      The risk of having to rely on it for critical functionality of your app, well, that's a different story, I'll tell it sometimes.

    • Every year, there are info graphics that come out showing what happens in an Internet minute, i.e. number of tweets world-wide, number of YouTube downloads, etc. Reddit no longer shows up on them and neither does Google+.

      Even at its peak, Google+ rarely showed up on anything. The media essentially ignored it. It was only mentioned in marketing blogs. Tech media was calling it dead two years after launch, and they repeated that mantra for four years, essentially killing it with self fulfilling prophecy.

      Don't get me wrong, I completely recognize the other major blunders which led to its demise; holding strong on the "Google+ as identity layer" was the right approach, and if they'd stuck to that, I think the ecosystem would have benefitted in such a way that it would have driven eventual critical mass.

      Reddit is another interesting case study, in that it is one of the single largest drivers of traffic available, responsible for more single link organic traffic than Facebook, and probably only second to Twitter in that aspect, and yet rarely gets any decent coverage. It often only shows up with the shitshow portions of the site raise some pressworthy hell.

      Long story short, I find those infographics to be less adequate snapshots of what's happenin online.

    • Most of the people I worked with at Yahoo were great! I had great managers too.

      There were pointy-haired bosses elsewhere in the company, and the leadership at the top was a constantly rotating cast of questionable characters at that time, but that's another topic. 😉

      I think the software development and operational processes at Yahoo when I was there really weren't bad for the time. I learned a ton while I was there. These days it sounds archaic, but back then it was actually better than how a lot of companies worked. There are even some internal tools we used there (like the yinst package manager) that I still miss and think were way ahead of their time.