Why Salesforce decided to open source its Lightning Web Components framework
At TrailheaDX 2019, Salesforce's Ryan Schellack spoke with TechRepublic about the company's announcement to open source its Lightning Web Components framework and build a community of developers around its platforms. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.
Ryan Schellack:So today we're announcing that the Lightning Web Components framework is open source. Specifically what that means is that the same framework that Salesforce uses, and Salesforce customers use, to build web components on the Salesforce platform for their applications and their services is now open source for anyone to use to build on any platform, using those same web standards, and the same beta web components that we provide for theoretically any application that they may want to build.
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The second goal is that, as we're building these capabilities, as we're bringing to market these new web standards-based features, we wanted a community that could help us evolve them. We knew that for this to really stick, we needed a community of developers with us to co-own the roadmap, and show us where to go. So we've historically done a great job of interfacing with our community and sourcing feedback from them on shaping a roadmap, but we really wanted them to actively participate, and by being open source, they can not only explore our source code and customize what we have, they can contribute the changes back to this underlying LWC source code, and actually drive the framework forward. Since this is something that's represented in web standards bodies like W3C, they're also indirectly affecting web standards themselves, which is, we think, an unparalleled opportunity, and so really accelerating our ability to do that by bringing a broader open source community, and in turn, giving them capabilities that they can't find anywhere else, we think that's really the opportunity that we have in play right now.
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The other thing that's really important too, and why we think that this is big and has a big reach, is that because we're introducing a web components framework that's very thin by design and based on web standards, we're introducing a new level of performance that organizations want to rely upon, and now can be trustfully relied upon.
And the way I explain it is by having less abstractions and boilerplate code, you're running the web components you build with Lightning Web Components closer to the bare metal, closer to the browser engine itself, and that's just going to result in a better web for everyone because things will be faster, and that's going to make business applications in particular much more reliable, again across browsers, across platforms, and we think that that's a really great place to be in, and something that's somewhat unexpected at Salesforce. We're an application company, people think of our data model, but this is something that's been in the works for years now, and we're really happy to see this come to the surface now at TrailheaDX.