Digg's problematic new site garnering a firestorm of opinions, and costs VP of Engineering his job

Posted by Knowlton Thomas

diggDigg recently launched a new site design, which has been plagued with trouble, particularly that is frequently crashes. TechCrunch reported that VP of Engineering John Quinn is now gone as a result.

In a Diggnation video today, CEO Kevin Rose explained some of the technical issues the site is dealing with and why it can’t simply roll back to the previous architecture. The new version of Digg, v4, is based on a distributed database called Cassandra, which replaced the MySQL database the site ran on before. Cassandra is very advanced—it is supposed to be faster and scale better—but perhaps it is still too experimental. Or maybe it’s just the way Digg implemented it. Every engineer at Digg is currently just trying to keep the site up and running.

Digg's new site, and John's subsequent firing, have ignited quite an uproar, with TechCrunch readers weighing in on every facet of the story: John's firing, John's credentials as an engineer, Cassandra, and even Digg as a whole, where its now being described as a "terminal death spiral" and in "real trouble, way worse than Kevin Rose makes it sound."

Most agree that it was a mistake for a site as high in traffic as Digg to attempt such a thorough renovation of its internal architecture, but I was surprised to see how many readers blew the horn that Digg's demise was inevitably on the horizon. This is a business that received a whopping $40 million in funding and has been steadily grown since its inception.

The transition from old-Digg to v4 (which, though unrelated, looks exactly like Facebook) is brutally rough - but if it was enough to collapse a company like Digg, the larger-scale situation would be very scary indeed. Digg should come out of this just fine in the long run.

What are your thoughts?

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and exploring weird side streets. more




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