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Open source, a way of life at Tiny

January 6th, 2021

4 min read

A neon OPEN sign.

Written by

Joakim Lindkvist


Open Source

At Tiny, we strongly believe in the spirit of open source software. When TinyMCE was first released back in 2004, open source had not really taken off. The release of TinyMCE was very much a "let’s see what happens" type of situation, like many other libraries back then.

Two years later, in 2006, JQuery was released and it got extreme adoption. Personally, I feel like this might have been a turning point for open source.

Around the same time, TinyMCE became very popular with developers and was included as the default rich text editor in Wordpress and other popular CMS software at the time.

Today, you will be hard-pressed to find software that doesn’t include some type of open source component, maybe not in a release package, but in the tooling or testing frameworks at the very least. Some of the most popular open source software of 2020 is widely used across a huge range of applications, for everyone from home to business users. But people are not always aware they’re using it!

Did you know? 

Sizzle, the selector engine built, and running, in JQuery is actually bundled into TinyMCE? Perhaps not for long though. We have plans to remove it soon, as modern browsers support most of the new weird selectors anyway.

Our commitment is relentless

We continue to build TinyMCE in the open source spirit. WYSIWYG software is complicated, so, in some cases, it might be tricky to contribute; however, we hope to work on this in the future to see more plugins/patches/fixes from our community of passionate and dedicated developers. Certainly, our move to TypeScript should make the code easier to follow and develop against.

Open source doesn’t mean free

We have to keep the lights on (for our now fully remote team). We have some 60+ people working on various tasks around the development, support, and maintenance of TinyMCE, and that comes at a cost.

As a consumer of the software, you can choose to invest time or money in our world-class editor. We are here to provide you with premium features, support, development, and a steady progression and upgrade path for the foreseeable future. Or, alternatively, you can invest your own time into the software.

We have a history of making it easy for developers to upgrade to stay up to date with the latest features to make their applications the best they can be, and we think this gives us an edge over all our competitors, now and in the future.

Open source beyond TinyMCE

When it comes to open source, it’s not just about focusing solely on our own product. As part of Tiny’s real-time collaboration effort, our own Andy Herron has shared an article explaining why we choose to go with the Slate model as the foundation for our work in this area.

As a way of contributing back to that community, we saw an opportunity in the Kickstarter project to enhance Slate with Android support and became a major contributor. Not entirely unselfish of course - although we will not be able to benefit directly from their work due to the way we use the Slate model in our implementation, it should help us a good amount on the way.

As a result, the team working on the Android support did an Alpha release on October 1! And the deadline for the 1.0 release is scheduled for December this year. A huge congratulations to Sunni Hirai and the rest of the team working on this project! 🎉

Looking ahead

What does this mean for the future though? Well for us, it means we need to keep a step ahead of what we think you need, such as collaborative editing and track changes.

Perhaps the future will be more along the lines of the block-based editor. Either way, we want to do our due diligence before investing in big long term projects to make sure it is the right path for the future. If it is, you can rest assured we will be there, we’ll take you with us, knowing you can always rely on the rigor, stability, and longevity of our solutions.

A lot of the work we do today is to make sure TinyMCE best serves you the next time you upgrade, or the next time you set out with an ambitious project that needs a rich text editor.

Before you leave, take a look at these demos demonstrating what you can do with TinyMCE that you probably didn’t know about!

Open Source
byJoakim Lindkvist

Cofounder of TinyMCE and product owner. Joakim lives in Umeå, Sweden.

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