Salesforce Lightning Web Components Framework Now Open Source

The CRM vendor expects the move to help grow its community and user base throughout enterprise IT.

Todd R. Weiss

May 30, 2019

5 Min Read
Open source

Salesforce, the CRM giant, is expanding the use of its Lightning Web Components JavaScript platform among developers and the IT community by releasing its code to the open source community on GitHub.

The availability of the Lightning Web Components platform as open-source code was announced at the Salesforce TrailheaDX developers conference in San Francisco, giving developers another standards-based framework to build their apps for any platform using tools of their choice and open coding languages.

When Salesforce’s Lightning framework model was created three years ago, the inspiration was to build tools for developers that offer standardization to gain users and further development, Ryan Schellack,  product marketing manager for the Salesforce platform, told Channel Futures.


Salesforce’s Ryan Shellack

“We felt it was a tremendous opportunity for people who build applications on Salesforce to deploy and build their applications,” he said. “It always was the intention that if they wanted to make it important , it had to have its own open-source community. We knew we would make it open later.”

A large number of systems integrators have been asking for the code to be released as open source so they could take it and expand it, he said.

“Using open-source software, it can give partners more control and features that were not possible just a few months before,” said Schellack.

For channel partners and ISVs, the Lightning platform includes a compatibility mode which makes it consistent with a wide number of web browsers.

“And because it uses a very light framework, you are closer to the bare metal of the browsers and there are fewer JavaScript components you have to deal with to get your functionality,” he said. “There’s less in the way between you and the web app experience.”

With the release as an open source project on GitHub, the development community will now work with the project and co-own its road map for future development.

“We fully expect to accept the bulk of the pull requests (features) that come in to be from the developer community,” said Schellack. “We’re agnostic to where those developers are coming from, whether they are individuals or from companies. This is part of a broader trend at Salesforce toward open source.”

By opening Lightning Web Components in its own open-source community, developer teams can now recruit from larger talent pools to code and rapidly expand and build their apps using input from many more developers. At the same time, channel partners and businesses can adopt and use those apps for customers and employees while taking advantage of trust, scale and performance.

Diego Garcia, senior engineering manager for Vlocity, a Salesforce ISV partner, told Channel Futures that by turning the Lightning Web Components into an open-source project, Salesforce is working effectively to …

… grow the code outside its original bounds.


Vlocity’s Diego Garcia

“It makes us feel that this is going to be as close to native as possible,” which will give important capabilities to users and customers, said Garcia. “For Vlocity, it means that we can be on the cutting edge. For us to use the latest and greatest with Salesforce really adds to our mission.”

Vlocity builds vertical apps on the Salesforce platform for a wide range of customers, particularly in the insurance, telecom, energy and utility company verticals, he said.

Vlocity developers have been talking for quite a while with Salesforce about the idea of making the code open source to offer more capabilities for customers and developers, according to Schellack.

“From us it was one of the main requests from the team and it was definitely something we talked about from day one,” he said. “We were crossing our fingers until we heard about this happening. There’s a lot of excitement right now on the engineering side of our office now that this is publicly out there.”

For Vlocity, the move to make Lightning Web Components into an open source project will help better serve customers and will also help to recruit new developers who want to join in on the effort, he said. “People are excited about using this,” he said. “It doesn’t have that enterprise feel anymore. It’s open source and it’s exciting.”

Larry Carvalho, an analyst with IDC, said Salesforce’s decision to open source the code is a good one and will help channel partners expand their capabilities and revenue-enhancing services for their customers.

“I think that partners and systems integrators can start building their own capabilities on top of this open source platform,” he said. “They will drive value by using it, and the more developers who use an open-source framework, the bigger it gets. It’s good for customers.”

This is the promise of transferring code to open source, he added.

“There will be more people to create innovative products” using the code, said Carvalho. “Microsoft has been doing this with .NET. They realize that if they don’t get community participation that they could have the best software, but that it won’t be used widely.”

Another analyst, John Rymer of Forrester Research, concurs. One thing that Salesforce did correctly before moving the code to open source was ensuring that it aligned from the start to web components standards for usability and efficiency, he said. Salesforce learned that lesson with its original proprietary AURA framework tools several years ago, he said.

“Other frameworks out there are generally open source and are more popular,” said Rymer. “So Salesforce went to the open approach for this technology.”

By moving to open source for this code, it opens it up for many more developers, he said.

“It just got a whole lot more interesting as an independent platform,” said Rymer. “It just is much more attractive. What they are doing makes a whole lot of sense.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like