This, to me, is the promise of open source software: collaboration. That’s what it’s all about. Instead of one coding genius drinking Red Bull and jamming out to Bob Marley in her basement, you have a dozen. Sometimes you have a hundred or more. If you get stuck, you have help. Others make suggestions. Someone tightens things up. Someone else makes it beautiful.
Even more important: you have a lot of talented people making sure the software is fast and secure. That’s not easy to do. It’s easy to let an array go astray, and hackers constantly develop new ways to attack and expose people’s privacy. To protect visitors and create great experiences, we need each other. We need a community to make it happen. We need people to speak up.
A recent GoDaddy open-source story
A friend of mine at GoDaddy shared a recent story with me that illustrates this perfectly.
Google XML Sitemaps is a very popular plugin that builds XML sitemaps for your site. Without getting into too much detail, sitemaps can help people find you on Google®. That’s rad. That’s why it’s such an important plugin.
The plugin worked, but it started to slow down your website once you had a few hundred posts. So, to prevent our users from becoming victims of their own success, we blacklisted this plugin and encouraged them to seek alternatives. What does that mean? Blacklisted? It means we want to protect our WordPress® customers from potential risk. That’s what Managed WordPress is all about. There are thousands of plugins and themes out there for WordPress. We want to make sure our customers don’t end up installing something that royally slows down their site or might compromise their information.
It doesn’t mean we don’t like the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. We’re nerds. We love XML anything. We love SEO.
So here’s what we did: We worked together with the plugin developer — Arne. Like a lot of WordPress developers, he was super helpful, patient, and great to work with. He had some ideas. We had some ideas. Arne re-engineered the plugin and sped things up by splitting the sitemap into several smaller components. During the collaboration, we also discovered that we could make some changes to our system to make sitemaps more current.
In the end, Google XML Sitemaps was back in business and our WordPress users got an even better experience at GoDaddy.
Working together makes us better
This kind of stuff — this makes me happy.
Our blacklist lumps evil plugins with plugins that are simply not ready for big sites, but I can’t help but think we need a better word than “blacklist.” It sounds so harsh. It’s more of a not-currently-ready-but-we-should-fix-it list. Once it’s fixed, we’re good to go. What kind of a color is that? Aquamarine? Deep purple? Point is, this is how we get better. This is how we make amazing things. We do it together.