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Facebook Programming

How Facebook Ships Code 314

Hugh Pickens writes "The two largest teams at Facebook are Engineering and Ops, with roughly 400-500 team members each, together making up about 50% of the company. All engineers go through 4 to 6 week 'Boot Camp' training where they learn the Facebook system by fixing bugs. After boot camp, all engineers get access to the live DB and any engineer can modify any part of Facebook's code base and check-in at-will so that engineers can modify specs mid-process, re-order work projects, and inject new feature ideas anytime. Then arguments about whether or not a feature idea is worth doing or not generally get resolved by spending a week implementing it and then testing it on a sample of users, e.g., 1% of Nevada users. 'All changes are reviewed by at least one person, and the system is easy for anyone else to look at and review your code even if you don't invite them to,' writes yeegay. 'It would take intentionally malicious behavior to get un-reviewed code in.' What is interesting for a company this size is that there is no official QA group at Facebook but almost every employee is dogfooding the product every day."
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How Facebook Ships Code

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  • Fake (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <> on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @01:38PM (#34917972) Homepage
    It's too bad much of the article is wrong [].
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @01:58PM (#34918228) Homepage Journal

    Not all engineers are licensed. Civil engineers are usually licensed. Mechanical engineers and electrical engineers are usually not licensed. Similarly, there is no licensure for system engineers. There are "certifications" but these are essentially meaningless.

  • by Mentally_Overclocked ( 311288 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @02:28PM (#34918592)

    I have a degree from a university in electrical engineering. I work as an electrical engineer and I consider myself one. I am not licensed as a professional engineer (PE) and have little interest in obtaining that license at this point as the type of work simply doesn't appeal to me.

    As you suggest, those PEs do put their license on the line when they sign a document. From my understanding, companies that have resident PEs will only have a few and have other non-licensed engineers do the less expensive work.

    If it is a product it will usually need to meet expectations set by a different regulatory body (ETL, UL, FCC, whatever). If it is a building, power related, whatever, then it requires the review of a PE. []

    I'm not really sure how they would regulate Facebook with their data ... I've never dealt with something like that.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @02:31PM (#34918642)
    Engineer is just another cheap title, like CEO/CFO/CIO/CTO, etc, free to be used by anyone.

    No, this is not true. There is a big difference between being the employee of a company and being an officer of the company. Those "O" titles actually mean something. Doesn't mean that the people who are officers of the company are the right people for those roles, but there's real baggage that comes with those titles, including a higher standard for the consequences of entering into contracts, obligating the company to act or pay bills, etc.Being an "O" also makes you more of a law suit magnet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @03:17PM (#34919148)

    > I'd have thought that a team of 3-4 engineers could achieve the same effect.

    This is very typical sentiment in people with little to no experience in running large sites. They believe a) What they see is all the exist, b) Scale does not matter, and c) The site never changes.

    This lead them to the faulty conclusion that any high-availability, high-traffic site could be run by two people (of which they no doubt are one) live-updating PHP scripts on the fly. See Also: Dunning-Kruger effect [].

  • Re:"dogfooding"? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @03:18PM (#34919160)
    The usual expression is "eating their own dog food". I've never heard it referred to as "dogfooding" either.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley