Breakdown of open source services being created/used by famous web services

category : Web

With the release of the service that makes linking with web services possible – Fenrir Pass Connect, there has recently been a lot of talk revolving around social this and web services that at Fenrir Inc.

So I decided to check-up on a few web services that can be used in Fenrir Pass Connect and check the status of open source for each one.

I will be introducing about the open sources being used and created while also introducing a little bit about the status of each service.


The simple service that focuses on the sending and viewing of small pieces of text as of 2012, March, has exceeded 140,000,000 active users.

When the service started from 20006, June, at that time they were using Ruby (Ruby on Rails), but since 2011, they have been proceeding with a transition to Scale and Java.

The open sources they use internally are also available to the public, and have branched out to many different projects such as Hadoop, Lucene, jQuery, Git and Eclipse, with their open source projects all being available on GitHub.

I would just like to introduce 3  of the Twitter projects.

Furthermore, you can find out the implementation status to the open source of Twitter in the following page.

Open Source | Twitter Developers


Bootstrap is a library that you can use to build a user interface with just HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

This is the most watched project on GitHub(34,000 watchers), the 2nd place “Node” having 16,000 watchers.

If you use Bootstrap you can easily make web page buttons.


Finagle is a library that makes asynchronous RPC(Remote Procedure Call) on JVM(Java Virtual Machine) possible.

As proof to how I mentioned how popular Scale of Twitter is recently , the majority are described using Scala.


TwUI is a service that can be used like UIKit of iOS by using Core Animation in AppKit of Mac OS X.


With the entry into the NASDAQ shares market and the marriage of the CEO, even the CEO from Facebook has become trending news.

This service was released earlier than any of the others I am introducing here, being released in February, 2004. Eight years later in April, 2012, the number of active users stands at a whopping 900 million!

Even amongst the other popular web services I am introducing here, the popularity is overwhelming.

Incidentally, the majority of the Facebook code is written using PHP. Because executing it like that is very slow, the code is converted to C++ using a PHP to C++ translator, compiled, and then a native binary is created. Incidentally, this binary has been reported to have a stand-alone size of 1.5GB.

Amongst the open source projects contributed by Facebook , there are some like Cassandra, Hive and Thrift that have moved to The Apache Software Foundation. I will introduce 3 of them that are in the  GitHub repository.

HipHop for PHP

This is the PHP to C++ translator I just mentioned. According to a Facebook engineer [Compared with when using Apache + PHP, the CPU power used has been halved].


This is a framework that if you are an iOS developer, you definitely will have heard about. This is the most watched project in the Objective-C language section of GitHub… but it seems that development has not been very active recently, and so there are many people moving to Nimbus.


This is an anti-blocking light web server framework written in Python. It is reported to be used in Quora and FriendFeed.


Dropbox is famous for turning down an offer by Apple just when it seemed they had be bought by them. It has 50 million users in October, 2011 for its synchronizable storage service. There is a reported 300 million files being stored on it.

The server and desktop client of Dropbox are both reported to be written using Python.

As a phoney Pythonian I am just a little bit happy, but there doesn’t seem to be that much information regarding open source available. Only SDK seems to be available as open source.


Evernote is very popular in Japan and elsewhere for being used in many different ways such as a lifehacker(The smart usage of devices/gadjects to improve your life) tool. The number of registered users as of August, 2011 was 12.5 million.

The architecture of Evernote was introduced on their blog, and according to the information provided, it seems that main parts are written using Java.

WebKit and Thrift are included in the open source libraries being using in the Windows version of Evernote.

There are also some listed in the developer forum, but if you exclude SDK, there doesn’t seem to be any open source projects here that are major and developed by the company.

The majority of the GitHub repository is for Evernote SDK.


That brings me to the end of this introduction of open sources being used and created by 4 major web services. In the end it may appear to have just become a mere introduction of GitHub projects though.

One thing I found interesting was how each of the 4 web services I featured used different languages as their main language.

Please try out Fenrir Pass Connect to make easy use of the services introduced in this article using Sleipnir 3 for Windows/Mac.

Share This Article!