Let’s face this reality: open source solutions are nowadays an important part of the web as we know it today. Web development is heavily based on open source solutions and as a developer (including me), how many times you reused an existing code snippet, pattern or even an entire solution from another solution on GitHub or elsewhere? This is the great power of open source: share the knowledge universally and speed up people in their work so they can build things even more valuable for their customers, company or themselves.
However, there are drawbacks, of course… Open source is meant to be a virtuous loop. What you take from the community, if it is really helpful for you, your company or your customer, you have to give it back at some point either by contributing yourself or sharing your stuff publicly, or by rewarding those who made it for your benefit so they keep motivated to continue the hard work, etc.. Unfortunately, the reality is much more a bunch or maintainers and, depending of the popularity of the solution, a horde of consumers who don’t contribute.
The only interaction we have with the community is basically the ‘Issues’ tab on GitHub, like “Something goes wrong in your code, please fix it ASAP because I use it for my customer you know…”. This is so frustrating honestly…
“Nowadays, open source is like buying a new imported tee shirt…most of the time, you don’t care who made it and how long it took to make it because you know, it works for you”.
Open source solutions are realized by passionate people doing this mostly on their spare time, anonymously. Taking myself as an example, by using the PnP Modern Search Web Parts in your organization, you get the result of hundreds of hours of work basically for free. I was told by Microsoft officials this solution has been now been deployed over 750+ Office 365 tenants over the world. That’s a huge number, and honestly, a lot of pressure because, first, it means it covers a real missing feature in their tool and then, I can’t just give up and say “deal with it” in case of issues…You could say, “Hey, nobody tells you to do it…” Of course you’re right, but now, the 750 tenants * number of people who use it tends to say this opposite.
Thus, it becomes more and more difficult to continue maintaining this solution properly along my day-to-day job. So many proposed cool ideas and fixes to implement but no time to do so. That’s why I wanted to make an ‘experience’ following the new trend of crowdfunding platforms for developers (like the new GitHub sponsors program for example). Pretty simple: if you benefit from this solution in your organization tenant and you think this work deserves more than a Twitter or LinkedIn like, the least you can do is to encourage me to continue in this way and improve the solution as it goes by buying me a (virtual) SharePint on this page https://ko-fi.com/franckcornu (or in real life if we meet at a conference, it also works).
This is basically the only reward I could get from this work and it will allow me to free more dedicated time for this. And I tell you, I don’t plan to get rich with this but knowing people actually care, it is already a start. Give back to the community won’t hurt you, you’ll see.
Last but not least, I suggest to all Pattern & Practices members to do the same because what they do is absolutely awesome and they truly deserve it. Efforts to improve Microsoft tools do not have to be condemned to be volunteering work necessarily. We improve their tools and community can decide opportunities to support by taking real actions.