Comic Relief’s development team has moved to an open source approach for building new digital products and is making the code available for free.
In an article for the October issue of Charity Finance magazine, Clare Young, senior delivery manager, and Peter Vanhee, technical lead at Comic Relief, explain that by making the codebase for their products available to others they hope to improve their software and reduce duplication in the sector.
If software is open source that means it has been made publicly available under a license that allows it to be used and adapted by others.
“It is a fantastic and motivating feeling for the whole team to know that their work is open to others to see and contribute to,” Young and Vanhee, said. “We hope it will allow us to engage further with the thriving open source community and get some external help expand our codebase further.”
They said that “one of our main motivations was that other organisation can use it to build their websites” and said that Comic Relief's sister organisation in the US used its code to build its Red Nose Day site, “shaving months off the time it took to launch”.
Young and Vanhee said that because Comic Relief benefits from using open source software, such as the content management system Drupal, there is a “duty to contribute back”.
They added that: “We believe that reducing duplication of work in the sector is worthwhile and an example of how Comic Relief is able to support other charities in a way beyond the purely financial.”
Examples of Comic Relief’s open-source code are available on GitHub and Young and Vanhee are keen to hear from charities looking to adopt its technology.