LinkedIn at ApacheCon 2009

November 4, 2009

Code Alert! This is a part of our continuing series on Engineering at LinkedIn. If this isn’t your cup of Java, check back tomorrow for regular LinkedIn programming. In the meanwhile, check out some of our recent feature announcements, tips and tricks, or success stories.

I have the honor of presenting my talk entitled "Empowering the Social Web with Apache Shindig" at the 10th annual Apache Conference this week. I'll talk about how Apache Shindig and OpenSocial standards power our very own LinkedIn InApps Platform and hundreds of other social containers on the web. Read on for more, but first a minor digression on LinkedIn, the Apache Software Foundation, and Open Source.

LinkedIn Runs on Apache

The Apache Software Foundation was founded in 1999 to foster development of the open source Apache HTTP Server --  which powers millions of web sites worldwide. Based on this success other projects were added over time. Each project is able to take advantage of the technical, legal and organizational resources provided by Apache. Today there are hundreds of high quality projects under the Apache umbrella.

The high quality and open nature of Apache software is in heavy use at LinkedIn. Many of our servers run Apache Tomcat. We build our software with Apache Ant and Ivy. Diverse and useful libraries such as Apache HttpClient, Commons, and Lucene  provide great functionality for Linkedin with less effort. This allows us to focus on what we do best -- providing a great web experience to our members.

Leveraging Apache software is only the start. LinkedIn actively contributes code, design and testing to many Apache projects. These efforts insure that these projects continue to grow and evolve to meet our future challenges. In addition to our contributions to Apache Shindig you'll find LinkedIn active in the Apache Lucene community where we've developed a number of extensions to this powerful search technology. LinkedIn code provides faceted search via bobo-browse, real time indexing with zoie, and extra performance with the kamikaze search extension. We've also released our data storage solution, Voldemort with an Apache License.  (Read more about Voldemort here)

Shindig, powering InApps at LinkedIn since 2008

Shindig Open Social

At ApacheCon I'll be talking about Apache Shindig, a framework that renders InApps like LinkedIn Events, Amazon Reading List, Tripit and 8 other applications. Shindig converts these applications into web content on the home page, profile page and full page views. The Shindig REST API allows our internal and external developers to access data using the OpenSocial and the Portable Contacts standards.

During the past months our involvement with Shindig has reaped benefits for LinkedIn Members and the developers we partner with. We incorporated numerous performance enhancements that have sped up page load times for InApps. These recent updates also include support for OpenSocial 0.9 which allows for easier, faster development of applications. New features include OpenSocial Templates, a new lightweight JavaScript API and "Data Pipelining" which reduces page load time. By applying these new features the applications such as Company Buzz now load much faster.

Over this same time period LinkedIn has contributed back to the Shindig and OpenSocial community. Our diligent QA teams have helped to find and fix cross-browser compatibility issues. Code contributions have flowed steadily back to the project. And we continue to work with the community to build and release the next version of Shindig, version 1.1, and future versions targeting the upcoming OpenSocial 1.0 standard.

Doing More, Learning More

At LinkedIn I'm proud to have witnessed our numerous contributions to the open source and Apache communities. By collaborating with our peers we have achieved much more than going it alone.

If you're interested in learning more about Shindig and OpenSocial you can still register for ApacheCon and see my talk. If a more informal setting is to your liking you can attend the free Apache Social and Widgets Meetup this Thursday, November 5th 2009, which is sponsored by LinkedIn.