Today marks one full year since DEV went open source. Operating out in the open has become such a core value and entrenched principle of how we build software that it's hard to imagine it's only been a year.
The website started out with ideals around providing quality publishing tools and inclusive community features. The idea of building the platform as an open source project honestly didn't occur to me early on. But after observing how much we gained whenever we gave the community more opportunity to collaborate helped make it an obvious choice — we shared the keys to the ship, went open source, and haven’t looked back.
Choosing to open source our codebase has allowed us to become leaders in transparency of application code, data, and development practices. This leadership role is something we plan to lean into more and more in the coming years.
You can think of phase one as building DEV. Supporting this amazing community platform of software developers will never stop being the core focus of our team. But we also have future plans for the code and the broader community at large.
We have talked openly about our ideas around the re-use of our platform for community creation in terms of microcosm developer communities (communities like stripe.dev for platform developer success, or node.dev for deeper integration with the builders of fullstack JS). These separate instances of the software will have their own data and full control over the operation. We also envision use cases in terms of more general-purpose interests (such as design.to, or even community.nba.com).
We have experienced a lot of demand to stand up individual instances among the entrepreneurial folks within the community, but have asked that people hold off for practical reasons. As we begin year two, we will begin supporting these use cases. Look out for an official roadmap within the next few months.
As we move forward together, we expect to engage with more and more developers around the world. Year one was an experiment in mass communication and practicing chaotic empathy as we build together. In the next year we will look to institute better guidelines around taking part in the project. We will respond to issues more quickly, provide more clarity on division of responsibility, and be faster to resolve to pull requests.
We are already pretty okay at some of this stuff, but we want to be true leaders in this regard as much as anything else we do.
It would be hard to imagine accomplishing what we have in this first year of open source in a world without GitHub. I just want to acknowledge how symbiotic this de facto partnership has been to this point. We have been, for the most part, just another project—but we are also unique in so many ways.
For one, as an inclusive developer community where we all teach one another how to survive and thrive in this career, we are building on the very community concepts that GitHub pioneered.
Additionally, as a consumer-facing open source project, we are a less common breed (relative to something like a framework). We are able to take a lot of cues from other projects both high level and low level in their scope. As we continue to establish ourselves as a strong force for good in software, I hope we can develop stronger relationships with the organizations we work with.
As the technology of choice for organizations and projects that share a lot of our traits (GitLab, Shopify, and Discourse come to mind), it is clear that we will be building in collaboration with thousands of brilliant developers one way or another for many years to come. Of course, we feel pretty good about the health and wellness of the project and community. The Ruby on Rails website lists Basecamp, GitHub, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk and Square as some notable users.
This past year we were able to hire contributors from the project to augment our core team. We plan to do much more of this in year two. On the community growth side, we were able to more than triple our traffic, eclipse 200k registered members, and truly accelerate our open source business. We plan to make even bigger leaps in year two.
We were able to collaborate with hundreds of developers who successfully merged pull requests this year. We plan to improve our contribution model in year two, which will allow us to support hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of new contributors to help polish and grow this project.
We want to push open source into the mainstream. We believe that we can help elevate new standards of transparency and security into the realm of community platforms. Help us get there.
Welcome to the Forem codebase, the platform that powers dev.to. We are so excited to have you. With your help, we can build out Forem’s usability, scalability, and stability to better serve our communities.
What is Forem?
Forem is open source software for building communities. Communities for your peers, customers, fanbases, families, friends, and any other time and space where people need to come together to be part of a collective See our announcement post for a high-level overview of what Forem is.
dev.to (or just DEV) is hosted by Forem. It is a community of software developers who write articles, take part in discussions, and build their professional profiles. We value supportive and constructive dialogue in the pursuit of great code and career growth for all members. The ecosystem spans from beginner to advanced developers, and all are welcome to find their place…
As a quick post-note: despite speaking of becoming "more organized", if we get an influx of new issues or pull requests this week, we might fall behind a bit. We haven't fully fleshed out or enacted some of our next steps quite yet, so please be patient with us.