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That's an excellent question! I don't want to be so presumptuous as to define an exact approach before the technical exploration has started, besides saying it'll be done incrementally and in an easily revertable way to be invisible to users, just like the big datacenter migration Automattic just completed a few weeks ago.

At the point when we start this the Tumblr team will have been part of Automattic for the better part of a year if not more, so there will be a lot of learning and evolution of the products on both sides to make any migration easier.

I promise we'll write about it afterward for anyone who is curious.




    I don't want to be so presumptuous as to define 
    an exact approach before the technical exploration 
    has started
The same could be said of deciding such an absolutely massive migration is even beneficial/necessary in the first place, before a technical exploration! And yet apparently, that part has already been decided?

I am, of course, completely ignorant of how WP and Tumblr's infrastructure works. I'm not saying the migration would be a bad idea, technically or financially. Or good. Just honestly curious.

    I promise we'll write about it afterward for 
    anyone who is curious. 
Definitely looking forward to that. Best of luck. (That's not sarcasm. Honestly, best of luck!)


I've often decided on technical decisions with incomplete information. Here's an example of how it works (translated to this analogy):

1) You come up with a working (if expensive or otherwise imperfect) technical path 2) You define a half-dozen other potential (less expensive, more practical) paths 3) You announce the decision 4) You complete due diligence, and take the best path

There are other ways as well. Announcements and plans aren't binding; they occasionally change. You can make an announcement when you're 98% confident you'll do something. You can pivot if it doesn't work out. There are places this doesn't work (e.g. customer promises), but on something like an internal migration, this is a-okay.


If "Wordpress" (which I reluctantly use for our corporate branding site and blog--very carefully managed and controlled) is a better architecture than what Tumblr is using now, what they have now must be truly awful! Wordpress really doesn't scale very well, and you can easily have massive security problems.


Among Tumblr users, the basic incompetence of @staff in constructing a functional website is legendary. I would not be surprised if the backend were far worse than you're supposing.

The funny thing is, the incompetence of @staff is the value proposition for Tumblr, as a user - because Tumblr's backend is a rickety tower of matchsticks and paste and the devs couldn't program themselves out of a wet paper bag, it means that they haven't been able to implement - for instance - algorithmic non-chronological timeline ordering, or competent data harvesting / robomarketing. And the comically broken search tools actually give a reasonable approximation of privacy for discussions. The user experience is firmly stuck in the mid-2000s, when social sites were for communities and discussions instead of data farming.

Don't get me wrong, Tumblr's user experience is also awful - search sucks, tags suck, moderation EXTRA sucks, the website's still overrun by pornographic spambots even after the Great Titty Purge - but any development team competent enough to make real improvements would also be one competent enough to squeeze out what makes Tumblr work.


Generally before a company buys another company, there is some amount of due diligence done beforehand, so I wouldn’t presume there hasn’t been a technical exploration.


You should almost make it a documentary.


Yes! I’d pay more for real world business documentaries than anything on netflix.


Please actually do this.

Find a way to get Verizon to sign off on this, and then get in touch with an established documentary maker. Pair them with an engineer and follow the story of the migration efforts. It will take time, and it'll certainly have a narrative.

Nothing like this has been done before. I struggle with making what I do relatable to people, but having a technical or semi-technical documentary following this large project would be eye-opening.

We'll even crowd fund this if you give us the chance. I'm not kidding.

Please, please, please make this migration a documentary film.


From the documentaries I've seen, its lots of people walking to a meeting, meetings themselves, etc. For that kind of documentary, probably people walking into servers rooms, or having heated discussions.

In Automattic, we basically evolved to remove all that :) There would be basically zoom calls and slack discussions. The most ambitious project I worked on in Automattic were just me, looking at the code and trying to understand why something is happening. Or looking up Stripe documentation.

We get to sit in front of our laptops in nice places though :)


We don't need server rooms.

We need discussions about how to untangle integrations of your user model with Verizon/Yahoo's auth system, how you'll consolidate all the microservices, which ongoing migrations you'll halt, the puzzled looks you'll have at undocumented code that performs nested eager-loaded lazy migrations of data, etc.

I've been involved in a multi-year migration effort. I expect this may be the same for y'all. It'd be fun to have an account of something that is so prolific and well known.


This would be an interesting new type of documentary. A few shots of people with laptops on beaches around the world to establish characters, then just animated slack chats, terminal sessions and whiteboard sessions.


Follow-up: these are two of my most upvoted comments. A lot of people want to see this. :)


Actually, you could pitch the idea to Netflix. It sounds like something they might do. And, yes, I would watch it. :)


Verizon wouldn’t risk having negative publicity from a documentary. Not to be a buzzkill but seems too left of center for them.


As a software engineer and independent filmmaker, I fully support this idea of creating a documentary (if one hasn't already been started).


This is a fantastic idea. I imagine similar form to "Some Kind of Monster", the documentary about Metallica. It's mostly the band meeting, discussing ideas, playing some music, struggling with internal tensions and personal issues etc. I'm not even a huge fan of the band, but it was a very entertaining watch and I think it would be almost guaranteed that such a massive project will result in many interesting stories.


Or disaster movie.




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