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Do as trivago does

Securing the future of open source

Patrick Gotthardt
open source
© Shutterstock / Graphic Compressor

trivago firmly believes that a sustainable open source ecosystem is good for all internet users. Patrick Gotthardt urges management teams across the technology industry to look closely at the open source tools that they rely on.

The importance of open source goes far beyond convenient tools like browsers and editors. In a world without collective commitment to open source, we would be left to reinvent the wheel with the initiation of each new project. The ready availability of open source means that engineers around the world can focus time and effort on iterative innovations.

It is not an oversimplification to say that open source has been one of the key drivers of the modern internet. While doing so comes with significant responsibility, I am thrilled to work for a company like trivago, which is known for having a “track record of supporting Open Source communities without interfering with their work” as mentioned on Babel’s blog.

Like many large technology companies, trivago uses open source software for many of its projects, and we have worked extensively with Webpack, the open-source JavaScript module bundler, and Babel, the JavaScript compiler.

We started using Babel in 2015 and have been amazed at the increase in our productivity. As a compiler it is peerless, allowing us to use the latest version of JavaScript and ensure compatibility with a range of browsers. Our custom webpack plugins and important code optimizations – like shipping only translations that are actually required – would not be possible without it.

After three years of working with Babel, we are still finding new ways to make use of its capabilities. The fact that it is run by volunteers is astonishing and we are blown away by what the Babel team has managed to achieve on such scant resources.

Open source projects need support to survive and grow and we’re very happy to be able to contribute to these vital, open source projects. This is why it was important to us to commit to another year of webpack sponsorship and sponsor the Babel community through Open Collective. To me as an engineer, it is important that we do not in any way attempt to influence the development of these tools.

By supporting Babel, we hope to help the volunteer-run project hire two full-time engineers. We also hope to inspire other companies to join us in supporting these fantastic projects. It’s more important than ever to facilitate the development of a free and open internet, and companies that use open source tools need to step up and ensure they’re giving back to the communities that they rely on so dearly. Larger companies also need to recognise that even small contributions can have significant impacts on open source development and quality.

We urge management teams across the technology industry to look closely at the open source tools that they rely on. Can you help them? If so, please get in touch with them and offer your support. Even a small sponsorship can go a long way.

We firmly believe that a sustainable open source ecosystem is good for all internet users. One of the greatest things about working in technology is feeling part of a global community of like-minded people, who often work together to solve complex problems. Open Source is the very embodiment of this ethos and it’s something that larger companies should ensure they don’t forget as they grow.

Author

Patrick Gotthardt

Currently the lead JavaScript architect at trivago, Patrick has worked as a software developer since 2004. Having worked at the hotel search platform for almost four years, Patrick is responsible for the company’s JavaScript code, as well as the maintenance and development of custom frameworks and tools. Prior to joining trivago, Patrick worked as the lead developer for Jidesoft’s jide.js toolkit and yWorks yFiles for HTML5.