Walmart probably isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think about open-source software (or the second or third, really), but WalmartLabs , Walmart’s innovation-focused tech division, has already launched a number of open-source projects into the wild. The most interesting of these so far wasOneOps, its DevOps platform, but today it is launching a similarly ambitious project.
Over the course of the last year, Walmart.com — a site that handles 80 million monthly visitors and offers 15 million items for sale — migrated to React and Node.js. In the process of this transition, the WalmartLabs team built Electrode , a React-based application platform to power Walmart.com. It’s now open sourcing this platform.
Electrode provides developers with boilerplate code to build universal React apps that consist of a number of standalone modules that developers can choose to add more functionality to their Node apps. These include a tool for managing the configuration of Node.js apps, for example, as well as a React component that helps you render above-the-fold content faster.
The team tells me it had a number of specific goals for this project and the hope is that this project can help other organizations solve some of their challenges, too. Electrode is meant to help internal developers get applications to market faster and help them stick to a consistent structure that follows the best practices the company developed for its own teams.
“Electrode has improved performance of our apps and increased developer productivity, among other things,” Alex Grigoryan, the director of engineering of Walmart Labs, told me. “ By open sourcing Electrode, we’re encouraging the OS community to help make it better — for us, and other developers who will use it.”
The team decided to make the platform as modular as it could. This meant splitting it into three parts, for example (core, modules and tools). All of these parts can be used independently of each other.