Performance Upgrade - High Velocity Columns

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

National and international events cause huge levels of activity on Twitter, most obviously through highly trending hashtags and very fast-moving streams of tweets.

Whilst it’s difficult to read every Tweet in a fast moving search column, we’re very aware many TweetDeck users get real value from being able to follow along regardless of the speed of update.

Which is why we’ve spent the past week focusing solely on improving the performance of TweetDeck so it can cope with even the most active events. What this actually comes down to is the speed at which Tweets can be shown in the column one after the other.

To enable high-velocity columns to run smoothly the team developed a method of measuring the number of Tweets entering the search column and when a particular threshold was met TweetDeck would start to reduce the “visual weight” of each Tweet as it appeared. For example, removing the animation on each Tweet when it first appears and in extreme cases hiding the avatar until the column slows down. We’ll dive into more details on the techniques used in a future engineering blog post.

By using these techniques we’ve been able to improve the performance of TweetDeck to handle ten times the previous speed of update in a column. With the added improvement that, for the first time, multiple high-velocity columns can be added to your TweetDeck.

This upgraded TweetDeck is available right now on our web and Chrome apps. Just refresh the page or restart the browser to get the new version. The update will be available shortly for the PC and Mac apps.

Posted by Tom Woolway (@tomwoolway)
Engineering Manager, TweetDeck