Facebook acquired FriendFeed back in August this year (2009) and most wondered what they would do with the service. Facebook has obviously made some improvements to it, and has now released the source code as an open source framework. Tornado, the new Python based web framework, is specifically designed to handle the massive server loads of FriendFeed’s real time updates. By releasing this code, Facebook aims to empower developers to use this infrastructure in their own real time projects.

The appeal behind Tornado is its practical and proven use. While web apps like Twitter had issues dealing with scaling for performance as its user base grew rapidly, FriendFeed seemingly had no issues. Tornado can support up to 8,000 simultaneous requests per second as opposed to Django, which can only handle about 2,200 requests when run as four load-balanced processes on a four core server. Tornado also comes with the basic building blocks for a social networking site, with features such as user authentication, cross site request forgery protection, templates, signed cookies, localization and aggressive static file caching amongst other features.

How can you use Tornado? Well if as a developer you are looking at developing any sort of real time web application, Tornado might be the ideal framework. The trusted and proven architecture will be ideal to ensure a working solution for your project.