Extending FaceBook: Group Chat built on Heroku

"Once we ‘got it’ we moved our Facebook app to Heroku"

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  • 3 Dynos
  • Blossom Database

Requirements

  • Proven, scalable platform to accommodate >10 million users
  • An ecosystem of specialized cloud services
  • Automated cloud runtime to handle hiccups and drudgework

Building Scalable Group Chat for Facebook without Sysadmins or Servers

Clobby gives you the ability to have group chats on your Facebook page: host chat events and parties, or just randomly get together and hang out. Users add the Clobby tab to their page and instantly get their own chat room that they administer. Clobby is provided by SixTakes and Facebook recently highlighted the app as one of the best ways to customize your Facebook page. The app is run on Heroku.

Close to one million active users monthly, 10 million planned

Heroku was a good fit for Clobby because it was designed to be easily and instantly scalable. The app was originally hosted on a traditional server, but the team says “we moved to Heroku once we ‘got it’… we really liked the ability to scale up and down with great ease.” Heroku helped handle the spikes in traffic as usage increased.

What’s more, there are no traditional system administrators working on Clobby because so much of the behind the scenes work is automated by Heroku. The team behind Clobby loves building social applications, and the opportunity to focus on app development rather than server administration was a big plus.

“If things go wrong with the infrastructure we know Heroku is on it and there’s nothing for us to worry about”
- Umair Siddique, Clobby developer

Add-ons Accelerate Facebook App Development and Operation

Another benefit of building on Heroku was the ecosystem of cloud services in Heroku’s Add-on Program Facebook developers are finding that application performance monitoring is critical, and the New Relic Add-on (link) is extremely helpful.

Clobby uses MongoDB, a NoSQL datastore which is also a common choice for social applications.

“The ecosystem around Heroku makes all these cloud services available to us… it’s like every infrastructure component of our app is managed by a specialist.”