Story of how we decided to Open Source
Alex Iglesias had the idea. He presented it to Joe. Joe was hesitant, then realized it was brilliant. 24 hours after the idea was planted, we were 100% "in" on Open Source. Everyone loved the idea.
Alex then crafted a compelling writeup, detailing the pros and cons of open sourcing Attributes, ultimately leading to a "We should do this."
We won't share the entire message, but we can share a very important snippet.
Finsweet is already a Webflow leader in creating products and codebases for Webflow. By taking the open source route, it would further improve Finsweet's leadership position and community impact.
It's hard for us to say no to continued leadership.
Considering that Finsweet has been generously providing their products and tools for free, making it official through open sourcing feels like a natural progression.
The idea quickly evolved from a good idea to a clear path towards Finsweet's next level of growth.
Business model vs. developer model
Ask a developer about open sourcing a codebase and they will love it.
Ask the same question to a business person and they will be highly skeptical.
For the business person, there's a mist of confusion and curiosity around why we should give away our hard, expensive, work away for free.
Building a product with the business model:
- Build a tool, sell it, build authority thought usage and revenue.
- Use the tool for direct revenue.
Building a product with the developer model:
- Build a tool, Open Source it, build authority through contributions and community.
- Use contributions and community to market something else (that is paid).
For years, Finsweet has created products and tools that are free to use with no clear monetization plans. The monetary goal with each free release is to create marketing buzz, and indirect revenue, for our growing agency business. It worked. Our agency shows strong growth each year and are leads continue to rise and we market ourselves through our product and community initiatives.
Attributes was in an unusual position, being free without any revenue expectations. Why not Open Source it?
We were already following the developer model, but didn't do the key developer-model step — Open Source the code to build authority through code contributions.
Finsweet is excited to adopt both the business and developer models.
Wized will serve as their business model product, charging hosting fees per project along with a marketplace of per-project add-ons.
Attributes, Finsweet Reverse Proxy, Developer Starter, TS Utils, and Hacks will continue to be part of their developer model initiatives, fostering contributions from the community and building authority in the developer ecosystem.
Benefits of going Open Source
- Great technical work. We are proud of it and want people to see it.
- Build trust and authority as technical leaders.
- Our Open Source releases serve as our public technical portfolio.
- Open Source means the community can contribute to the project.
- Attract technical talent to the no-code / non-technical space.
- Attributes, as an Open Source project, serves as a talent magnet for Finsweet.
- In order to effectively scale our efforts at Finsweet, we require additional technical talent.
- We are interested in hiring individuals who contribute to this codebase.
- As this codebase grows, the Finsweet name grows with it.
- As an Open Source library, Attributes has broad appeal beyond the Webflow community.
- Code and license are owned by Finsweet.
MIT license for ultimate Open Source capabilities
All Open Source projects will be released under the MIT license.
The decision to choose the MIT license for the Open Source releases is powerful for everyone involved. The MIT license is a permissive license that allows for maximum freedom and flexibility for developers, users, and contributors. It grants the ability to use, modify, distribute, and even sell the software without imposing any significant restrictions.
This choice empowers developers to easily adopt and integrate Finsweet's solutions into their own projects, fostering innovation and collaboration within the community.
Users benefit from the freedom to use and customize the software to satisfy their specific needs.
Developer contributors are encouraged to actively participate and contribute back to the project, knowing that their contributions will be seen, appreciated, and used by the Finsweet community.
The MIT license gives developers and users the most freedom for use, which will help us deliver the most value for Finsweet Open Source.
Open Source releases planned for 2023
Finsweet's Attributes system and solutions will be released as Open Source. Our goal is to empower developers to easily build their own Attributes solutions for Webflow and web applications.
Finsweet Reverse Proxy
Documentation outlining Finsweet's reverse proxy infrastructure will be made available as Open Source, along with education and tutorials for using this documentation.
Finsweet Developer Starter
Finsweet's starter repository for all code-focused implementations will be released as Open Source, providing developers with a foundation for their projects.
Finsweet TS Utils
Finsweet's TypeScript utility toolkit, designed specifically for Webflow, will be released as Open Source, providing valuable resources for developers working with TypeScript in Webflow projects.
Each of our Open Source projects will have documentation hosted in a GitHub repository, which will be consolidated into one custom docs project, making it easier for developers to access and contribute to the documentation for all our Open Source releases.