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Open Source - The Future of the App Economy

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“Open source” is one of the more popular terms in today’s tech world. You probably have heard the word even if you are not in a very technical field. If you're a programmer, you probably know what it's all about. This post will elaborate on the term “open source” and discuss how it impacts the application ecosystem.

What is Open Source?

The term “open source” was coined in 1998 at a strategy session by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). It means software whose source code is freely available and can be viewed by independent third parties. Depending on the license of the open source software, it can be used, modified, or passed on more or less freely. According to the open source definition, which OSI formulated, open source does not refer to just accessing the source code; the distribution terms of open-source software must also comply with the following criteria:

  • Free Redistribution: The software should be freely redistributed without any restrictions.
  • Source Code: The software must include the source code. The source code and its compiled form should be freely distributed.
  • Derived Works: The license must allow modifications, enhancements, and redistribution under the same conditions as the original software.
  • The Integrity of the Author’s Source Code: The license must permit the distribution of software built from modified source code and may need derived works to have a different name and version from the original software.
  • No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: It should not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  • No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor: The software should be used in any field of endeavor and not restricted to a particular field.
  • Distribution of License: There should not be any need for an additional license when the software is distributed with the license that comes with it.
  • License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The license must not depend on whether the software is part of a distribution. It must be valid even if it is used alone or as part of another software distribution.
  • License Must Not Restrict Other Software: The license may not restrict other software distributed with the licensed software.
  • License Must Be Technology-Neutral: There should not be any restriction on the technology to which the software can be distributed.

For more details, please check here.

Advantages of Open Source

The meaning of open source has been highlighted in the previous section. However, discussing the benefits of open source and how it revolutionizes the app economy is essential.
The advantages of open source are inexhaustive, but some of them include:

  • No license fees are involved
  • There is no dependency on any particular manufacturer or author
  • There is complete transparency since one can access the source code
  • Users can adapt the software to meet specific needs
  • Provides savings from shared development costs
  • Enhances innovation since not all software parts need to be rewritten, and the open source software can be reused

More focus will be placed on the last stated advantage as it is the main focus of this article

Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS)

Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a cloud computing concept that enables the server-side of applications to connect with cloud storage and other functions through SDKs and APIs.
BaaS has made it easy for enterprises to focus more on the frontend of their applications and core operations while BaaS vendors take care of the server-side tasks.
The BaaS industry is rapidly expanding and becoming more popular amongst several businesses and corporations. According to Verified Market Research, the market size of BaaS was valued at $16.43 billion (US) in 2021 and is projected to reach $1.637 trillion (US) by 2030, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 84% from 2022 to 2030.
Some features of BaaS include:

  • Provision of Real-time Databases: Real-time databases are a significant feature of BaaS. They update and query information quickly, store, and sync data when the user goes offline.
  • User Authentication: BaaS platforms enable users to be authenticated through email, passwords, and social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.
  • Easy Integrations: BaaS open-source platforms enable developers to integrate their applications with various APIs, SDKs, and third-party libraries.
  • Cloud-Based Storage: BaaS platforms provide limitless cloud-based storage with pay-as-you-go pricing. You pay for only the storage you use.

BaaS offers several advantages, some of which include:

  • Cost-Efficiency: BaaS is inexpensive compared to having custom backend development. Most BaaS offer free-tier services, and their charges could start from as low as $25.
  • Scalable: It is flexible to use BaaS platforms. Resources can be scaled in or out based on the traffic directed to your application. You only start with the resources you need and scale based on demand.
  • Security: BaaS platforms provide security features such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). The user does not have to build a custom authentication for users.
  • Agility: Users of BaaS platforms can deploy faster and innovate quickly because they only focus on the core processes and allow the BaaS platforms to handle the server-side operations.

Appwrite as a BaaS provider

Appwrite is a BaaS platform that provides developers with all the core APIs to build web, mobile, and flutter applications. It is also open-source. You can find the GitHub repo here.

Appwrite can run on any operating system, programming language, framework, or platform. Appwrite can be integrated directly with your client app, used behind your custom backend, or alongside your custom backend server.

The features Appwrite provides include:

  • Database: The Database service of Appwrite enables you to create structured collections of documents, query the documents and manage read and write permissions. The data obtained from the database is in JSON format. Also, it is possible to have multiple databases; each database can have multiple collections.
  • Storage: Appwrite’s storage service enables you to manage your project files. It supports the upload, view, download, and query of project files. Files are organized in buckets. Buckets are similar to collections, as stated in the Database feature. The difference between them is that buckets provide extra functionality in choosing the kinds of files, file sizes allowed in the bucket, whether to encrypt the files or not, and many more.
  • Functions: They allow you to use your code to extend and modify Appwrite server functionality. You can have your custom code executed by Appwrite in response to an event, trigger, or schedule. Appwrite is language agnostic, so it supports different programming languages. More details can be found here.
  • Authentication: The Account service of Appwrite enables authentication and user management. The actions that can be performed are updating user information, retrieving user sessions across different devices, and fetching user security logs. The authentication feature of Appwrite is robust, and users can be authenticated via different authentication techniques.
  • Realtime: The Realtime service allows you to subscribe to events on the server-side in real-time. The subscription receives new data every time an event changes, and all connected clients receive the update within milliseconds via a Websocket connection.

You can signup to Appwrite by going to the homepage and clicking on the Get Updates button. Also, you can join the Appwrite community by following on GitHub, Twitter, and Discord.


This article discussed the benefits of open source and how it is revolutionizing the app economy. Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) was also introduced in this article and the role and features of Appwrite were also looked at in detail.

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