Open-Source and Developer Communities: Key Ingredients to Success in Experience-Driven Commerce

The community is part of the product — arguably, it’s the most essential part.

by Amanda Sanchez

posted on 11-30-2018

“The most successful companies have invested in platforms that allow an ecosystem to grow on top of them,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen during a recent fireside chat with Magento CEO Mark Lavelle at Magento Live in Barcelona.

It’s no wonder, then, that Adobe’s commitment to the future of open platforms and collaborative developer communities is an integral part of its software strategy. But why is the ability to blend corporate and community code so beneficial to Adobe and its commerce customers?

We caught up with Matt Asay, head of developer ecosystem at Adobe, and Ben Marks, senior evangelist for Magento communities, to discuss their experiences at the MagentoLive EU event, as well as Adobe’s vision for open source and what most excites them about the future of experience-driven commerce.

What was your biggest takeaway from the MagentoLive chat between Mark Lavelle and Shantanu Narayen?

Matt: For me, it was “he gets it.” Shantanu is an engineer by background, and he felt like he was in his element, talking to merchants and the developers that bring their commerce visions to life.

How many CEOs could you put on stage and have them talk credibly about our commitment to open source? How many would even know what open source is?

Shantanu walked through Adobe’s long standing support for and dependence on open source, calling out Adobe Experience Manager (and its reliance on Apache projects) as an example — and it was so real, so credible, and so important to him. It left me even more hopeful for our developer-driven future.

Ben: The conversation between Mark and Shantanu was a powerful statement to employees and the broader Magento community.

Shantanu’s responses were so on point. He reinforced that Adobe is built on creativity and innovation. The whole conversation just made sense, and came together in a powerful way.

Shantanu and Adobe get the Magento community. The trust and enthusiasm of the leadership for the community is what will drive it ever forward.

How was Adobe’s vision for open source and the power of collaborative “Experience Maker” communities conveyed throughout the event?

Matt: Shantanu did a great job of setting the tone: we are in open source for the long haul.

We’re currently the 16th largest open source contributor (measured by number of employees actively contributing to open-source projects), and our aim is to hit the top 10 in 2019.

Magento showcases the power of open source like no other community, and reinforces why our commitment must be bigger and broader than ever. We need to see the same level of engagement throughout all of our interactions with developers as we saw from the community at MagentoLive, and I believe the Magento community gives us the opportunity to do just that.

Ben: The good message is that Adobe owns one part of the journey — from creation to awareness and discovery, while Magento owns the journey from transaction through delivery and support. Now it’s a total chocolate-and-peanut-butter moment: together, the strengths of each company are amplified.

Now that we have Adobe’s enterprise machinery and Magento’s ability to deliver targeted commerce experiences, it’s a big opportunity for our developer community.

What is the value of Magento Open Source to Adobe – i.e., what does this bring to the table? Most people might wonder what OS brings even though it’s “free.”

Matt: Roughly 60 percent of the Magento code is written by its third-party developer community, and not by people on the corporate payroll. That is astounding and unprecedented in the industry.

For Adobe, it’s an example of a different, better way to think about product and the code that feeds it. We don’t want to kill that off. We want it to grow, not merely within Magento but also throughout our product line.

We’re focused on finding ways to spread these lessons across our product and engineering teams.

For Magento, open source is essential to how the product is built, and always will be. It’s partly about developing software, as mentioned, but it’s also a way to lower the bar for brands to learn how to productively use Magento.

The community that comes with Magento is part of the product. Arguably, it’s the most essential part. We are 100 percent committed to that now and for the next few thousand years.

Ben: Magento Open Source (previously Magento Community Edition) is the biggest entry point for merchants, developers, and ISVs to enter the Magento ecosystem, and it remains its lifeblood.

It is a sustaining force for the $7 billion Magento service economy, growing and enriching the Magento ecosystem worldwide.

Thousands upon thousands of individuals and entities would have left or never have entered this ecosystem without the availability of Magento Open Source.

Moreover, the merchants and ISVs, who deal solely in Magento Commerce and Magento Commerce Cloud, often rely on the developers, agencies, extensions, and shared knowledge, which would not exist without the opportunities created by Magento Open Source.

As Magento and Adobe come together what are 2 or 3 things we will see first in terms of working closely with developers? For example, the global Magento Association. Will programs like this continue to grow?

Matt: All the good with Magento will remain. There were good reasons for implementing the Magento Association. Those reasons haven’t changed, nor has the need for the Magento Association.

In addition to the Magento Association, we are looking for ways to bring some of Adobe’s engineering expertise to the Magento community engineering process to improve product quality and further accelerate development.

To make that work, we have to find ways to keep the existing process and improve it, not replace it. Any work we do in this area will be done in conjunction with Magento’s community, not in secret.

Ben: The Magento Association — a successor to the foundational Meet Magento Association — is a perfect example because it demonstrates continuity in our strategy for ongoing investment in and collaboration with our developer community.

The dividends of this investment are realized by the entirety of the Magento ecosystem: an amplification of opportunity standing on a product co-authored by the developers who work with it every day.

Beyond this, I see so much potential in the suite of Adobe APIs and SDKs. Our best move will be to show all developers what we have, and let them take it from there.

What aspect most excites you about the Adobe + Magento offering that better enables brands to deliver highly personalized, customer-centric commerce experiences?

Matt: Personalization heavily depends upon data, which we enable brands to best put to use, but it’s also about having particular tools suited to a brand’s needs.

It’s hard for any single vendor to adequately build out all that tooling, which is why I love the community-driven approach Adobe gains through Magento.

There is no other commerce platform on the planet that comes even remotely close to Magento in terms of quantity and quality of extensions to ensure a brand has the exact right tool to pair with the exact right data to deliver an exceptional commerce experience.

Ben: Adobe has demonstrated its success at making everything an experience, and Magento has demonstrated its success at empowering merchants to build the commerce experience their customers need.

Taking these two realities, adding our Adobe Experience Platform, and then presenting this to our combined developer ecosystems, we expect to see ingenuity and invention which will absolutely blow past the boundaries of what we think is possible in commerce.

Learn more about Adobe and the future of experience-driven commerce.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Corporate Marketer

Products: Experience Cloud, Magento Commerce