Twitter’s latest meltdown proves Elon Musk is still doing it wrong

Twitter thrives on shares, not just within the social media platform but from partner links all over the Internet. Except on Monday, most of those links stopped working.

For approximately an hour, anyone trying to share recently published articles on Twitter was met with an error message clearly intended for developers:

Twitter API bug

(Image credit: Future)

It was almost as if Twitter was informing publishers that they didn't pay their water bill and, as such, couldn't publish links on the social network.

What went wrong?

We didn't have to wait too long for Twitter CEO Elon Musk to explain. In response to a tweet from former Netscape founder and well-known venture capitalist Marc Andreessen pointing out how four of the five top Twitter trends were about Twitter, Musk tweeted, “A small API change had massive ramifications. The code stack is extremely brittle for no good reason. Will ultimately need a complete rewrite.”

See more

This seemingly clear-headed tweet though should be cause for alarm. Musk claims the code stack (basically a massive stack of programs that all work together to create the Twitter whole) is brittle and needs a rewrite. What he fails to mention is that among the thousands of Twitter employees he laid off since November, a good number of them were engineers and, it's safe to assume, some were in what's known as QA or quality assurance.

Typically if you plan on making any kind of code change to a website, online service, or app, QA tests it on an offline copy of the platform. In this way, they ensure that the updates, no matter how small, won't adversely impact the live environment.

The concept is known as “production,” the live site or service, versus “staging,” an environment that's identical to live but can not be seen or touched by users. You run your new code or feature through staging, a group of QA testers applies a set of known scenarios (maybe they throw in an edge case or two) and as long as there are no red flags, the update gets pushed from Staging to Production. 

Twitter, which has seen its overall reliability drop (from going offline to having features appear and disappear unexpectedly) since Musk took over, may be getting its updates in a different way.

Musk likes to test features on production (the live site). As a result, he keeps running into unintended consequences.

There is some disagreement on whether or not there is a Twitter QA team.

Some argue one exists but Musk grows impatient and then pushes untested code live.

Others insist that Elon Musk arrived at Twitter and discovered that Twitter had no QA team and it was long in the practice of pushing untested code live. That though seems highly unlikely. 

I asked Musk directly on Twitter if the API update was tested on staging before being pushed live and will update this post if he responds.

Never assume

The assumption he made here, that a small API change would have little impact on the site was a poor one. And, yet, Musk still doesn't understand that he's doing it wrong.

Testing features of any kind on a live version of a complex platform like Twitter will inevitably result in bugs and crashes.

Will rewriting the code stack solve all this? Maybe, but very few platforms stay as clean as they were on launch and even if the rewrite is robust and perfect, frequent updates and fresh features will test that stability.

As long as Musk refuses to fully test what he launches before he launches it, there is no scenario in which Twitter escapes regular downtime.

This is a simple fix, Elon, make QA an inescapable part of the development pipeline and save yourself and us a lot of headaches. Or keep doing it your way because that's working out so, so well.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

New Windows 10 update proves Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about you

While Microsoft has understandably been giving Windows 11 a lot of attention lately (including launching a new update that brings Android apps to PC), it has also published an update for the older Windows 10 operating system as well.

As Windows Latest reports, Windows 10 KB5010415 is now available as an optional update. This means you won’t automatically get it, but if you open up Windows Update, you should see it waiting for you under ‘Optional Updates’.

It’s worth checking out, as it brings fixes for several Windows 10 problems (which will later be included in cumulative updates in March and April), so if your PC isn’t running well, this update could fix it.

It also includes a fix for people trying to upgrade to Windows 11, but who find the process failing when checking the TPM status of the PC.

However, as this is an optional update, if your PC is running fine as it is, you can feel free to ignore it for now, rather than risk adding new issues to your PC – something Windows 10 updates have been responsible for in the past, unfortunately.

New features

This Windows 10 update also brings new features to the operating system as well. For a start, you can now share cookies between Microsoft Edge Internet Explorer mode and Microsoft Edge. This could be handy for web developers, or anyone who uses online services that still work with Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has also added the ability to add and remove NVMe storage without having to turn off your PC (known as hot swapping). Again, this is a feature that likely won’t appeal to most users, but enterprise and power users may find it very useful.

Windows 10's grave

(Image credit: Anna Kucherova / Shutterstock / Microsoft)

Analysis: Still going strong

While this may not be the most exciting update ever, especially when compared to Windows 11’s latest release which adds some genuinely game-changing features, it’s still good to see Microsoft continuing to update and support Windows 10.

After all, Windows 10 remains the most-used version of Windows at the moment, and while Microsoft may be keen to get people to upgrade to Windows 11, it still needs to look after people who continue to use Windows 10, either by choice or because their PCs aren’t compatible.

Windows 10 will continue to be supported until October 14, 2025, and we hope Microsoft continues to release updates for the operating system until then.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More