Built with Webstudio

Sustainable Open Source

March 20, 2023
3 min read time

I want to share our approach to becoming a sustainable for-profit company while also creating an Open Core product. Our hope is to inspire other companies to do the same over time.

Open-Source concept illustration.

True Open Source license

Many products claim to be open source, but in reality, they are only source-available. Open source has a specific definition and there is an approved list of licenses.

Source-available licenses are designed to restrict the usage of the software. For example, they will prevent building commercial projects on top of it for free. In contrast, a copyleft license allows all possible use cases with our core and encourages building on top of it.

I encourage you to read about the many misconceptions when it comes to Open Source, Open Core, and COSS.

Open Source Visual Builder

The core of Webstudio is the Visual Builder, along with everything required to run and host it yourself. Our Visual Builder is a tool that enables you to create a site or application visually, without requiring coding skills.

The Visual Builder is designed for a designer's mindset, not coders. However, I am sure that developers will find it liberating, as visual manipulation is often a more direct approach to building UI than a code-first approach.

In the next stage, the visual builder will become extensible at the deepest possible level, including the SDK, components, and data, which can all be replaced by your own implementation. The builder will become part of your application stack, enabling better collaboration between developers and designers when building products.

Webstudio visually translates CSS without obscuring it, giving designers superpowers that were exclusive to developers in the past.

Commercial Features

All commercial features that are not open source are designed with one fundamental question in mind: "Is this something most individuals need?" If the answer is yes, then we will make them open source. However, if the feature is mostly necessary only for companies and organizations, then it will not be part of the Open Source Builder and we will require them to purchase it.

For example, we built fine-grained permissions management to help organizations collaborate better and this feature is not open-source.

Sustainable Business Model

The first part of our business model is Webstudio Cloud, which is the hosted version of Webstudio. It provides an easy way to host a website without investing any time. We aim to provide extraordinary performance and reliability. Additionally, our transparent and easy to understand pricing structure scales with your actual usage.

The second part of our business model is a private cloud for agencies and startups. There are many reasons why you would want to host it on your own infrastructure, such as different privacy requirements, full control over servers, and integration with your monitoring tools.

Free Cloud for everyone

A big part of our philosophy is the free hosted Webstudio. We are on a mission to democratize visual development, and for this, we are convinced individuals must have a way to experiment and build freely, without limitations in capabilities. We want to enable millions of designers to learn visual development and become professional builders.

We built everything from the ground up to enable a sustainable, free cloud. We are leveraging Cloudflare's infrastructure, which not only provides next-level performance on the Edge but also allows us to keep the price low for you. Check out our pricing for more information.

The motivation behind Open Core model

There are several reasons for making the core Open Source:

  1. We truly desire for humanity to advance more rapidly and collaborate in building a brighter future.

  2. Our goal is to prevent vendor lock-in at a fundamental level, giving professional builders the freedom they need. This sets us apart from other tools in this space.

  3. We aim to create something that is resilient to economic crises and could even outlast Webstudio, Inc. itself.

  4. We want to build a community where both developers and designers feel empowered to change the system for the better through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

When access to code is limited, the company maintaining it becomes the sole source of knowledge. This creates a bottleneck and prevents others from contributing, aside from submitting bug or feature requests. To truly provide access to knowledge and enable more meaningful contributions, we need an open source approach and an open culture.

This is an exciting new journey for the visual development space, and we would like to officially welcome you to join our community on GitHub and Discord.