Tag Archives: Customers

The WSO2 Approach to Creating and Managing Content for Open Source Products

“Just open, honest communication is the best thing in the world” (Brett Davern). I was delighted when I stumbled upon this quote, because it sums up our approach to technical content at WSO2. There are plenty of advantages to open content: driving adoption and expansion, improving content quality via better feedback from users, and increasing successful usage of our products.

You may wonder why we make our documentation and even our training content publicly available for free. After all, support is an integral part of our business model, and it contributes to a sizable percentage of our revenue at WSO2. What we have discovered is that high-quality, freely available content does not deter users from buying support. For customers who are building mission-critical solutions, support is essential to receiving timely responses to problems they may be experiencing, whether it’s a bug in the code or a question about the best way to solve a particular problem.

One of the primary advantages of open content is that it drives adoption and expansion. Our goal is to have as many users as possible, and when our documentation and training content is freely available, users have a better opportunity to get up and running with our products quickly and effectively. As they learn ways to solve their business problems with our solutions, people discover more of our products and features that can be used to solve other problems that they envision.

Another major advantage is that open content helps you to improve content quality. More readers mean more feedback. At WSO2, we take it one step further by making the documentation available during the development process itself to ensure that we receive feedback during the entire content release cycle. Getting user feedback early helps us immensely in the planning stage to make sure that issues of concern are addressed in our next release.

When developing training content, we point to the documentation for much of the conceptual information, so that as you learn to use the products during training, you become thoroughly familiar with the documentation as well. This approach allows users to easily go back and find information after they’ve completed the training. We’ve also discovered the following best practices for creating content for open source products:

  • Categorize the content types – at the beginning of a release, plan not only the documentation and training content for each new feature but also what would work best as technical articles, blog posts, or marketing content.
  • Write for a wide audience – open source products have wider audiences, many of whom are non-native English speakers. Use clear, concise language and include a glossary of terms.
  • Test and review on multiple platforms.
  • Engage the community – introduce simple processes for contributing, develop reward systems, build relationships with users, and recognize people’s strengths to maximize contributions from a wider community.
  • Release documentation at each milestone to encourage timely and ongoing feedback.

When your content is ready for distribution, there is a range of platforms you can use. We primarily use Confluence and GitHub at WSO2, but some other platforms we’ve been researching are ReadtheDocs.org, Mkdocs, and Asciidoc.

To learn more about these platforms, best practices, open source content licensing, and detailed advantages of open content, check out my webinar on creating and managing content for open source products.

Honoring WSO2’s Long-Standing Customers by Helping Those in Need

Earlier this year at WSO2Con USA we celebrated our customers who’ve stuck with us through thick and thin for 10 long years — eBay, Kaiser Permanente, Trimble and Concur. In recognition of their long-standing relationship with us, we launched the WSO2 10-Year Customer Anniversary Undergraduate Scholarship Program — a program that offers a full undergraduate university scholarship to passionate students in Sri Lanka.

Standing by our commitment to education (we have over 100 alumni that have or are currently pursuing master’s degrees or PhDs), we figured there’s no better way to honor our customers than by helping those who need financial assistance in following their dreams of a quality education.

The fully-paid program enables the selected students to obtain a degree in Computer Science, awarded by the prestigious University of Westminster, London, UK, through Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), Sri Lanka. The program also provides a monthly allowance paid by WSO2 to meet daily expenses and mentoring by WSO2 employees throughout their school tenure.

We partnered with IIT and began the search for the perfect candidates in early August. We received many applications from students from all walks of life but had to narrow it down to four (for the four customers). We selected the students based on their financial need, educational qualifications, and extra-curricular activities.

After a lot of deliberation, we announced the selected candidates last week! Our Congratulations go out to

  • Negeesha Divyanjalee Katulanda selected for the BSc (Hons) Computer Science course
  • Piyumi Hansika Madhubani Gamage selected for the BSc (Hons) Computer Science course
  • Chanuka Abeysinghe selected for the BEng (Hons) Software Engineering course
  • Jayasanka Buddhika Weerasinghe selected for the BSc (Hons) Computer Science course

We wish you all the best!