If you’re interested, you can get a peek at Twitter’s engine by visiting staging.twitter.com and enabling their SQL analysis report. The link is in the top-left corner of the page.

Update: They’ve already taken down public access. I’ll keep an eye out for screen shots or archives. Surely someone saved it.

Rant: At this point, Twitter should be as open as possible and the staging server should remain available to the general public. There may even be value in opening their code base to the community.

Twitter is a poster boy for the economic concept “network effect”. Twitter is not that complicated an idea, nor an application that would be that hard to replicate for an experienced developer. The plethora of Twitter-clones available should speak to that.

Twitter’s value comes from the largeness of its community; A community that is growing increasingly vocal and discontent. The threat of the community shrinking at all should give its founders chills. And while none may have a community as large as Twitter’s, if the perception of Twitter in the press isn’t changed soon, these new services will generate positive press for themselves entirely on Twitter’s back. Journalists love nothing more than to report on controversy and competition. What better story than how someone small upset someone large?

If they can’t solve their engineering problems internally, they should open their code base and testing sites to the general public. Communities built around open-source tend to be more loyal, and they tend to be more forgiving. Better still, many open-source advocates tend to be some of the loudest voices online. Advocates are an essential element to any community and Twitter could do a great deal more to encourage them.

As a final bonus, it’s possible that somewhere there lives someone with a brilliant insight into the problem Twitter faces who is not currently an employee of the company. As Linus’ law states, “With enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.”