Twitter has a warm spot for innovative simplicity and an open approach to technology development. We make use of open source software when it makes sense and we think it brings good karma to contribute back to the open source community whenever possible.
However, our open approach is more than just good karma. Twitter, Inc. is committed to building a reliable social messaging utility which people trust enough to use every day. Gaining trust means showing our work. When a technology is shared, conversations and understanding form around it.
Our open approach is very much driven by Twitter engineers like Blaine Cook. Blaine coded the distributed queue server Twitter uses to route vast numbers of messages in the background so front-end response time can remain quick.
Starling is a light-weight persistent queue server that speaks the MemCache protocol. It was built to drive Twitter’s backend, and is in production across Twitter’s cluster. There’s a little more about Starling on the Twitter Developer Blog. And here is the Starling page at RubyForge.