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Pinboard Purchase of Delicious as Nostalgia Machine

Since Pinboard Acquired Delicious, the Delicious blog has risen from the dead to tell old stories. This is pretty great, especially for old people like myself who were around at the time.

The April Fool’s joke that caused data migration headaches:

I love these posts because they’re a wonderful example of early del.icio.us: people who loved the web, loved tools for the web that used structured data (such as in RSS feeds and APIs) to enable new things, built new things, and debated them with each other. It was a time of geotagging, microformats, the semantic web, and machine-readable ontologies for friendship.

What happened after April’s Fools Day? del.icio.us had a principle of not deleting user data, and some people were fond of color bookmarks, so the tiny undocumented feature stuck around.

Later at Yahoo!, del.icio.us spent a couple years preparing to become Delicious 2.0: a complete rewrite of the aging code, a major redesign, a massive data migration. The color bookmarks were still there, and we had to keep them. There was no way we could jettison the color bookmarks after years. So the backend and frontend engineers rebuilt what had been a tiny bit of Perl in the new enterprise-class PHP framework. The designer had to accommodate color bookmarks. But oh, the data migration — the color bookmarks caused many complications for data migration, and the team complained and fixed bugs in their Erlang. It was amazing that such a small thing had such an effect.

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