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From Flying Circus to Holy Grail: Migrating the Twilio API from PHP to Python

Translations: en


Sam Kitajima-Kimbrel Almost every software project of meaningful scale eventually runs into architectural problems. One of the larger issues we’ve dealt with at Twilio is an increasingly-brittle and hard-to-manage PHP codebase, originally responsible for running a website and public REST API. Rather than risk a from-scratch rewrite of the entire system, we chose to extract small and well-defined chunks one at a time into simple services using a common internal interface standard.

Given a new fleet of services and a set of internal REST APIs, how do we get to parity with the existing public API specifications? Rather than force every service to implement authentication, data validation, rate-limiting, and so on, we chose to build a simple federation service to translate and proxy customer requests to internal systems. Python was a natural choice for this application due to its flexibility, extensive library and testing ecosystem, and suitability for rapid prototyping and development.

But: how did we get from A to B? This talk will cover the details of Twilio’s past and current API architecture, how we adapted the service-oriented architecture pattern to build a consistent public interface, and the testing and deployment strategies we used to migrate 5 billion monthly requests from old to new systems with no downtime.


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