Software Development
Data / Ecommerce / Real estate

WebLinc is taking its in-house ecommerce platform open source

The SaaS platform Workarea is built with Ruby on Rails, MongoDB and Elasticsearch, and is available to view on Github.

The Workarea user conference held in April 2019. (Courtesy Workarea)

WebLinc, which started 25 years ago as a website service provider and has since evolved into a software product company, announced this month that it’s taking its core product open source.

Workarea is a software that manages a client’s ecommerce platform, from selling products to managing knowledge of physical storage. Its cloud solution, Workarea Commerce Cloud, is used by brands like Reformation, Lonely Planet and URBN’s BHLDN and Terrain. Clothing brand Reformation, for instance, uses the platform to sell products, show the catalogue in stores, and even add items to a dressing room from an iPad-like interface.

“Our customers and partners have inspired us with what they can do on the platform,” said Bill Tarbell, VP of marketing. “Workarea Commerce has allowed them to build the experiences they want, faster. It’s in the spirit of making this type of innovation accessible to everyone, we have decided to go open source.”

Making the product open source means that anyone can view the product and how it’s created. The SaaS platform is built with Ruby on Rails, MongoDB and Elasticsearch, and is available to view on Github.

“Based on feedback we’ve gotten from customers and parters, we wanted to have developer-centric platform,” Tarbell said. “That’s the way to accelerate, it’s an advantage to open it up to the community, who can test out the idea.”

The platform is available to enterprise brands and retailers that currently use legacy systems like SAP and Oracle, and the company said the Workarea product could be an alternative to Magento and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

The Workarea team, based in National Mechanics Building in Old City, is excited about the more transparent sales process, so brands evaluating commerce platforms can see how it performs earlier in the process, it said in a release.

Workarea’s announcement about its open source product comes right after South Philly-based P’unk Ave announced that it was spinning out its open source product, Apostrophe, into its own entity.

So does this mean companies making their software open source is becoming a trend?

Tarbell said there are some obvious benefits to doing so. For retailers who are looking for an ecommerce technology, showing how the product works is a huge selling point, he said.

“They’re really skeptical buyers, and it’s a very risk-averse decision,” he said. “The transparency of showing how the code works comes at an advantage to us.”

And there’s an overarching consensus that open source will lead to better bug-fixing in the future, he added.

“Our product team is excited about it,” he said. “They’re sort of putting their life’s work out to be scrutinized. We want to bring transparency to the process like this.”

Companies: URBN / WebLinc

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