Airbnb releases Rendr as Free/Open Source

Airbnb has released Rendr, a library for the node.js that allows the use of Backbone.js on the server side. This is a bit too technical for my tastes and I would like to focus on what I really like about their announcement.

They provide a reason for why they released it as free/open source in the first paragraph. There was a lot of demand by developers who are facing the same issues that led Airbnb to develop Rendr. To appear unselfish and community-oriented, they released the code. If they hadn’t, there would either be a backlash (they use free/open source but *never* contribute, how unfair!) or, less likely, the issue would be dropped and the demands would die down. Instead of letting the issue lie or facing a backlash, they turned it into an opportunity. Now they have gained the goodwill of thousands of developers who will also place trust in the quality of their code. They are now a more welcoming place and it makes it easier to hire developers since those developers will already have experience in their codebase!

Another great thing is that they link directly to the code repository, and more importantly, they link to a sample project template that uses their code, so developers can quickly get started.

The developers at Airbnb have given talks and presentations about Rendr. This is something that’s easy to overlook when releasing code or donating to a free/open source software organization. You can use the code as another talking point and build up your organization’s brand.

The end of the article is excellent because it ties in everything about free/open source at the company. They list other projects that are free/open source:

Their listing includes a short description of each project which is a tip I offered in HowTo: Set up a Page to Promote Your Organization’s Free/Open Source Contributions.

They also link to their Twitter profile pages, making it easy for readers to follow along with new developments and announcements. Currently they have almost 2000 followers for their developer twitter account. This is another great way to build up your organization’s brand.

The very last sentence of the article includes a link to the jobs/careers page of Airbnb. They’re looking for new hires and leveraging the article to attract them. When there are more developers to choose from, there’s a higher chance that more talented software engineers are applying for the positions. Senior developers are looking for places that fit them and Airbnb hopes that with their transparency they can attract the right sort of people.


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