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DevEx and OSS- Elevating Developer Experience through Open Source Collaboration

· 4 min read
Bekah Hawrot Weigel
Developer Experience Lead

In my last role, I focused on the community side of developer relations. Part of that included creating open source projects to help onboard new developers and to create opportunities for community members to interact. When I started at OpenSauced as a Developer Experience Lead, there wasn’t a huge jump from community to developer experience. In fact, I wrote a little more about it in this LinkedIn post if you’re interested. The overlapping goals of Developer Experience, Community, and Open Source to empower community members, have a growth mindset, and believe in collaboration culminate into the potential to be part of something incredible. In this final blog post in our series, we'll explore how DevEx and OSS combine forces to elevate developer experience, enabling developers to work more efficiently, collaborate effectively, and create great open source projects.

Developer Experience (DevEx) focuses on improving the developer journey and their experience using a particular technology or platform. Part of this can include providing strong documentation and tutorials and creating tools and resources that make it easier to develop and debug code.

Empowering DevEx with Robust Tooling

Open source projects often offer a wide range of tools and frameworks that enhance the developer experience. These tools are often built and maintained by a core group of maintainers along with the support of the community, providing opportunities for developers and contributors to leverage their expertise, grow in their skills, and make meaningful progress. By embracing open source tooling, DevEx teams can provide developers with powerful, flexible, and customizable solutions, tailored to their specific needs.

So what are we talking about when we say tooling? Glad you asked! Development environments, code editors, package managers, testing frameworks, and deployment automation. These kinds of tools help streamline development workflows and promote consistency, productivity, and efficiency.

If you want to learn more about using Git and VS Code Editor, you can check out my blog post How to Start an Open Source Project with VS Code.

Fostering Collaboration through Open Source

Collaboration is the heart of both DevEx and open source. Open source projects thrive on the power of collaboration, with developers from around the world contributing to improve the software that we use everyday. DevEx teams can leverage this collaboration to nurture community, encourage knowledge sharing, and drive innovation.

By actively participating in open source projects, DevEx teams can engage with developers, provide guidance, gather valuable feedback, and learn how other teams create a great developer experience. By contributing code, offering support, and facilitating discussions around best practices, they can develop their understanding of what the developer community wants and needs and the best practices for communicating with them.

This is one of the reasons, we’ve been working on a collaborations feature at OpenSauced. We want to support contributors working together. If you want to find out when this feature will go live, sign up for our newsletter.

Collaboration request with the text "Hey bdougie! I'd love to collaborate on the intro to open source documentation!"

Enabling Continuous Improvement

One of the core tenets of both DevEx and open source is continuous improvement. Because DevEx focuses on people, the work is never done. We’re all constantly growing, changing, learning. And because of this, our needs will change. Developer Experience needs to change with the developers. Open source projects embrace iterative development, encouraging developers to contribute enhancements, fix bugs, and suggest new features. DevEx teams, on the other hand, are constantly striving to improve the developer experience by incorporating user feedback, addressing pain points, and finding helpful solutions.

Through collaboration with open source projects, DevEx teams can actively learn about developers’ needs, motivations, and how they can best support their developers. By submitting bug reports, proposing feature enhancements, and participating in discussions, DevEx teams can contribute to the greater OSS ecosystem and help to create a better developer experience for everyone in open source.

As the worlds of DevEx and OSS continue to intersect, developers can look forward to better experiences, accelerated innovation, and more supportive communities that embrace their needs. What are some of the most innovative ways that you have seen open source used to improve the developer experience?