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Olle Pridiuksson
Olle Pridiuksson

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How to open source the company's internal tech

How do you prove the business value of open source to higher management? Many of us have enjoyed this dialogue with the boss (or even with the boss’s boss), right? That’s a hot topic that may result in overly heated discussions and frustration (or worse...). And the sharpest point is often the costs associated with pushing the company code up for everyone to view and possibly even contribute to.

We can probably split the costs into 3 big buckets:

  • Legal costs
  • Engineering costs
  • Developer relations/community/marketing costs

At my previous workplace this dialogue, or rather the process, has lasted for well over 2 years and is still ongoing with a bonus, the 4th costs bucket called "the missed opportunity costs". I’ll reflect on it all once my NDA expires in March.

Guess that’s another reason to follow me on Dev ;-)

At this point in life, I have the luxury to contract for a company who has decided to embrace the open-source approach and has shared nearly all products built for internal purposes under popular and permissive licenses such as Apache2, GPL3 or MIT for the small things.

So the code just went up on the GitHub with the licenses slapped on accordingly. What happened next? You have guessed it. Nothing significant.

Once again. Production quality code designed and built by experienced engineers has been shipped to the GitHub under standard permissive licenses and the world didn’t notice.

So what does it take for the world to notice the open-source initiatives?

I will spend 20-40% of my time to try to gift-wrap and polish the GitHub repos, make the readme/contributing/getting-started in a way the world can comprehend. I will reflect on what I/we did and the corresponding results here on dev.to along with calculating our costs vs the opportunities. So that you can make a case for your boss and your boss's boss out of our efforts.

The first internal project I have started to look into is Ptah, a vue.js based landing-pages builder -

GitHub logo ProtocolONE / ptah-editor

Powerful, fast and Open source Web Builder Framework for modern cross browser landing pages for the games.

Ptah - Vue.js-based landing page builder

Ptah Builder is an easy-to-use open-source tool to build landing pages for video games without any coding.

License Build Status Codacy Badge

Features · Getting Started · Documentation · Contribute and Support

Features

Ptah is a Vue.js-based framework that combines various ready-to-use templates for a landing page.

Ptah Builder provides you with all the features you need to promote your game:

  • Free and open source under Apache-2.0 license
  • Produces ready to deploy PWA projects
  • Ships with 2 production quality templates
    • All our templates feature responsive design out of the box and are mobile-friendly
    • You can modify our templates or add your own
  • Contains multiple ready to use building blocks
    • Each building section can be additionally tweaked to your needs and taste
    • Sections support drag-n-drop and live edits

Documentation

Here's a blog post at dev.to just about what we're doing and why.

The full documentation for Ptah Builder can be…




It is a tool for non-techy people to easily build progressive web apps with MailChimp and Auth1 integration. You can use Ptah as a standalone app, extend it with additional templates and widgets or plug it into your CMS. We even have a demo.

I’ve put some makeup on the readme, added contribution rules and a docs stub. Also, I am a few hours off the call with the development lead and can now clarify the docs and start playing with the thing.

What do I do next?

Indeed. What are my next steps to shape up this GitHub repo so the world, the vue.js community cares and benefits?

Or here's a different angle to the question. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that somebody tries to make a business case of open-sourcing the internal tech and documenting the corresponding process in a programmers' friendly way. I bet DEV community should care.

P.S.
Guess this is somewhat ironic that you see this text before my boss does =]

Discussion (3)

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richardeschloss profile image
Richard Schloss

Really cool!

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arctekdev profile image
Arctek 🧊

I love it and might consider using it in an upcoming project.

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tooevangelist profile image
Olle Pridiuksson Author

that's cool. The dev team gets gethub issues as high prio messages, so do not hesitate to =)