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Bit — Mend’s Open Source Project of the Month for July 2018

Bit is an open source project that creates a faster workflow for sharing, discovering and collaborating on software components to build new applications. Bit was founded in 2015 by Ran Mizrahi and Yonatan Sason, later joined by Jonathan Saring and an amazing team of true open-sourcer developers. Their  offices are in Tel Aviv, Israel and New York City.

According to Bit co-founder Jonathan Saring, “The idea of Bit is to speed software development through collaboration and reuse of code components. Bit makes it easy to share components, using them in multiple projects, develop them anywhere and collaborate in the cloud. The coolest thing is that alongside Bit’s development, we also see the ecosystem developing in the same direction as software becomes more modular through UI components, Node.js modules, serverless functions, GraphQL APIs and many other components of the technology built around the world. That only makes it that much more important to organize and share them.”


How does Bit work?

Bit makes it possible to isolate components from existing projects without having to refactor the project, make code changes and split repositories. To isolate components, Bit will automatically create a unique environment for every component, which includes all the required dependencies, configurations and everything the components need in order to become executable from any other project. 

For example, components written in typescript can be used and developed in a project written in flow-typed. It also lets Bit test and build your components in isolation, so you can know the exact state of every component. 

Afterwards, components can be consumed from any other project using package managers and other methods. The components can also be imported into any other project using Bit itself, which enables the developer to develop the component from the end project directly, and sync changes across different projects.

For example, you can look at this React application found on GitHub. Using Bit, all of the UI components from the app were made available to individually discover use and to develop from any project. The repository itself wasn’t changed at all, and a team working with these components can now share code, collaborate to suggest and update changes and stay in sync while building new features and applications.

Like most open source project members, the Bit team are an avid group of open source developers. We asked Jonathon why they love being a part of the open source community. “I’d have to say, without a doubt, the people. We work with people who give up money, sleep or time with their families to build something they believe in for the greater good. These people come from everywhere in the world: the U.S., Asia, Europe and even Africa. The open source community is one of the most unique examples of how technology brings people together regardless of everything else in their life. We think it’s beautiful.”

While working on open source projects provides a lot of freedom to innovate, developing open source projects also present some challenges. “From day one, there was no doubt in our minds that Bit should be open source and built together with the community”, says Jonathan. The challenges of creating an open source project are also there, “First, when we release code to GitHub it has to hold to very high standards in terms of quality, test coverage, security, documentation, etc. It also must be very compatible with the complex OSS ecosystem, where Bit lives. Finally, when we release such a major part of our technology to the open source community, it influences who we are and everything we do, from team culture to the skillsets we seek in the developers who join the team. We provide everything we build 100% free for open source code and open source communities, and always will”.

Without a doubt many open source projects reach out to the open source community to help get their project off the ground. How did the Bit team work with the open source community?

“Since day one we worked closely with the open source community. We got hundreds of feedbacks, requests, issues and code contributions from the community. We work together with key communities to understand their needs and solve real problems for them, which means that everything we build is built for the community just as much as it’s built for teams and organizations. We also take responsibility and issue pull requests to other open source projects to help them advance alongside Bit. Soon, Bit will also become an integral part of some of the more popular projects in the JS open-source ecosystem. Regardless, we also support communities which we believe are helping leap the world forward, including Babel, Vue.js and other great projects.”

True to open source community values, Bit believes in giving back to the community. One of their favorite open source projects is Git. ”Linus Torvalds did an amazing job, changing the way we build software itself. Bit aims to follow in these footsteps.”

When asked which was the first coding language that the Bit team members learnt, the majority of the Bit team responded with C++ and Java, while one single developer surprised us with good old Pascal P.

To learn more about the great work by Bit visit their GitHub page.

Meet The Author

Adam Murray

Adam Murray is a content writer at Mend. He began his career in corporate communications and PR, in London and New York, before moving to Tel Aviv. He’s spent the last ten years working with tech companies like Amdocs, Gilat Satellite Systems, Allot Communications, and Sisense. He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature. When he’s not spending time with his wife and son, he’s preoccupied with his beloved football team, Tottenham Hotspur.

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