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Cloud platform players have taken heat for not giving back to the open source community equitably. Salesforce now says it views open source as a wellspring for innovation.
With this move to push its web components platform out in the open, Salesforce hopes to jumpstart web development on the Salesforce CRM platform. "It positions Salesforce to enrich its Lightning Web Components platform with decentralized contributions and innovation from the open source community," said Arnal Dayaratna, an analyst at IDC.
However, it will take at least a year to build an open source community around the technology because the Lightning Web Components framework is relatively mature, he said. Salesforce launched the framework last December.
Salesforce is not new to open source code contributions. Apache Phoenix, released in 2014, enables OLTP and operational analytics in Hadoop for low latency applications. Salesforce also open sourced its TransmogrifAI project, an automated machine learning library for structured data, in August 2018.
Increase developer mindshare and sharpen skills
Salesforce's contribution of Lightning Web Components to open source seeks to attract innovation and transparency and strengthen the company's mindshare among software developers.
Charlotte DunlapAnalyst, GlobalData
"Salesforce has received criticism for keeping its technology proprietary, so it's good to see the company further its OSS mission with this move," she said.
Contributions from a wide range of independent developers, Salesforce partners and enterprise customers could give Lightning Web Components a shot in the arm, said Larry Carvalho, an IDC analyst. In addition, startups can also create add-ons and improvements to capitalize on the large number of Salesforce customers.
"Developers using Lightning Web Components are usually not as savvy in lower-level code, so it will be a test of time to determine how many contributors join," he said.
Working on open source projects enables developers to build new skills, not only technical skills but also how to work remotely and collaboratively with open source developers around the world, said Ryan Ellis, senior VP of product management at Salesforce.
And that addresses a bigger issue -- the world needs more skilled developers overall, he said. There are 250,000 app dev jobs open in the U.S. alone, based on a study by the Association for Competitive Technology, based in Washington, D.C.