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Foursquare move to Scala/Lift

Foursquare is a fast growing service that back in July 2009 both the Washington Post and Mashable were tipping as a potential "breakout hit" or "next Twitter". Foursquare provides a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things. It aims to keep you up with the places your friends go, and encourage you to discover new places and explore your neighborhood. Ever more people are enjoying the discovery experience.

With a rapidly growing base of hundreds of thousands of users Harry Heymann at Foursquare decided to move all the services to Scala/Lift based servers.

Harry recently announced to the Lift community that this high profile, heavy duty web server application had been ported to the Scala/Lift web framework. He explained that the conversion took a surprisingly short time, just 3 months. The Foursquare website, a mobile website ( and a simple(but growing!) REST api ( are all now running on Lift. Average post rates of over 1 per second and peaks several orders of magnitude larger. Harry says that they found Lift's view-first architecture well suited to interactive, AJAX-infused pages and an easy transition to make.

As well as thanking the Lift community and David Pollak for their great support Harry says, "they've built a really great framework, and I look forward to using it and seeing it grow for many years to come."

Re: Foursquare move to Scala/Lift

I recently gave a talk at the Bay Area Scala Enthusiasts meetup on foursquare's use of scala and lift. Those who are interested can find the slide deck here:

Also, btw, that 1 per second post rate was (at the time) our rate of incoming "checkins" (more or less foursquare's equivilant of a tweet).  It's not the requests per second our site sees in general.

-harryh, eng lead @

Re: Foursquare move to Scala/Lift

What did they use before switching to Scala and Lift?

Re: Foursquare move to Scala/Lift originally developed in PHP (running on Apache, using MySQL as a datastore) - taken from the above Google Docs slideshow


Re: Foursquare move to Scala/Lift

I cant believe. I thought its Please Rob me.The people behind Please Rob Me are either incredibly funny or incredibly foolish.  The site, helmed by Boy von Amstel (sounds like an alias) et al, started the site to basically take pot shots at people who use too much Twitter – and sort of combined this obsession with Twitter-ing, and a game called FourSquare, in which people try to find other people using clues they broadcast.  The idea is that if people broadcast where they're at all the time, they aren't home, and are that much more susceptible to robbery – and the average robbery will mean getting payday loans to repair the damage and losses.


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