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Guest post by Thierry Schellenbach, Founder/CTO of Fashiolista.com, follow @tschellenbach on Twitter and Github

Fashiolista started out as a hobby project which we built on the side. We had absolutely no idea it would grow into one of the largest online fashion communities. The entire first version took about two weeks to develop and our feed implementation was dead simple. We’ve come a long way since then and I’d like to share our experience with scaling feed systems.

Feeds are a core component of many large startups such as Pinterest, Instagram, Wanelo and Fashiolista. At Fashiolista the feed system powers the flat feed, aggregated feed and the notification system. This article will explain the troubles we ran into when scaling our feeds and the design decisions involved with building your own solution. Understanding the basics of how these feed systems work is essential as more and more applications rely on them.

Furthermore we’ve open sourced Feedly, the Python module powering our feeds. Where applicable I’ll reference how to use it to quickly build your own feed solution.

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“Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.”

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Dorothy Parker

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“Her life – that was the only chance she had – the short season between two silences.”

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Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out 

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“No amount of external elements—admiration, affection, conversation, sex—will ever be enough to satisfy a person whose internal compass does not point to joy.”

- The Pleasure Trap - David Finch
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