Box needs all of the help it can get in preparing for its debut on the public market, and it’s turning to open-source for an assist.
The file-sharing software company announced a new initiative today to release some of its technologies under open-source licenses. It showed off ways to improve the MySQL database, a document viewer, and a toolset for automating some code tests. Box has previously bragged about some of its 20 open-source projects, but not all of them.
Box has used open-source software for years to run its applications, but now the company has a “formalized open-source initiative committed to giving back to the community,” Benjamin VanEvery, the principal technical operations developer at Box, wrote in a blog post about the move.
Promoting its software-development kits (SDKs), monitoring tools, and other code now out in the open is a good step for at least two reasons. It could help attract talented programmers, and it could advance application development on top of of Box’s stuff.
It could make developers more comfortable with the idea of building applications using Box as the underlying platform, which is a key area of focus. Open-source is increasingly the standard in big web shops, and Box is not special in wanting to be a big web shop.
Plus, Box continues to add to its engineering team, and bringing more of them to GitHub pages to collaborate on code could serve as a recruiting tool.
These are especially important as the company deals with competition from startups, public companies, and, oh, just a little company called Dropbox. (Kidding — Dropbox wants to go public soon, too, and it recently managed to get a line of credit in excess of $500 million for itself.)
Box filed its S-1 paperwork last month.