At yWorks we use open-source software on a daily basis. Much of the software that powers the world runs on open source. In short, the world and many aspects of our daily life wouldn’t be the way they are, if it wasn’t for open-source software. Here at yWorks we recognize that software companies that rely on free and libre software bear a responsibility to give back to the community. That is why we maintain multiple open-source projects with software that is free of charge – now and forever.
In recent years many of the “big tech” companies have realised that open-source software is at the heartbeat of the industry. In order to ensure the open-source community stays alive and flourish, multiple companies organize different events to promote open source. One of these initiatives is Hacktoberfest by Digital Ocean.
Created in 2013, Hacktoberfest is a “month-long celebration of open source”. Hacktoberfest aims at introducing newcomers to open source. For this, Digital Ocean teams up with GitHub. GitHub is like a social network for programmers. On GitHub, software is uploaded and revised by many million programmers daily. Participants of the Hacktoberfest can join any of the projects available on GitHub, and complete a fixed set of tasks specifically crafted by maintainers for newcomers. Once completed, participants can then obtain a free T-shirt among other goodies.
Hacktoberfest also empathizes diversity in tech. By reducing contribution barriers (making issues easy for beginners, clear, concise) we can in turn allow many more people to “give open-source a try” . What starts as a small open source contribution, can lead to a lifelong career in tech, no matter which origin, ethnicity or gender a person has.
yWorks joined this effort to bring awareness to open-source. We prepared two of our open source projects with special tasks for #hacktoberfest. One of these projects was svg2pdf. svg2pdf does exactly what its name says – it converts vector graphics (SVG) to PDF documents. This is of course useful for exporting graphs to PDF documents, but has potential for many more use cases. Released in 2015 by yWorks, svg2pdf has grown a large user base and regular contributions from organization outsiders, a popular choice for converting SVG to PDF in the browser.
Our second project that participated in Hacktoberfest was the Java bytecode obfuscation software yGuard. It is used to protect Java-based software from being reverse-engineered. This process is essential for ensuring the intellectual property of stakeholders. However, not only yFiles benefits from this knowledge. Many of our customers have relied on the excellent yGuard software for years. In 2019 we decided to fully release this project on GitHub, making all its sources available for anyone.
If any of these projects has piqued your interest, you can head right over to https://github.com/yWorks/svg2pdf.js or https://github.com/yWorks/yGuard to learn more about them. Of course, even after the Hacktoberfest, open source software remains an important topic for us and the whole tech community. We are happy that many programmers, artists, and creators contributed to the open-source community and our projects as part of the Hacktoberfest 2020!