Community > Code, Doing Things the Apache Way

November 14, 2022

Community

In 2019, Apache APISIX, an open-source cloud-native API gateway project, was donated to the Apache Software Foundation by API7.ai. By 2022, APISIX has grown into a 10k+ starred open-source software project on Github, with 6M+ downloads and 500+ open-source contributors. The secret to Apache APISIX's fast growth lies in its community, more specifically its activeness and openness, as APISIX is truly doing things "the Apache way".

APISIX contributors have grown from 0 to 500+ in three years' time.
APISIX contributors have grown from 0 to 500+ in three years' time.

Had you ever been part of a conversation in the APISIX community, you will instantly notice its responsiveness and friendliness. If you submit an issue in any APISIX-related space or post a question in our Slack chat, most likely, someone from the community will reply within a few hours. If there are features of APISIX that you find improvable, it is easy to start a conversation within the community and have someone else appending to or even helping with your suggestions.

This activeness is heavily reliant on the fact that APISIX caters to actual needs, thus inducing more people to try out the open-source API gateway and to come back and contribute. Another factor, we would love to think, is the efforts of API7.ai, who initially donated the project to the Apache Software Foundation. Not only are the employees of API7.ai frequently maintaining APISIX, but we also originated a few initiatives that significantly drew more awareness to APISIX.

In 2022, employees in API7.ai hosted and co-hosted nearly 40 in-person and online APISIX community events. Those include in-person meetups, community meetings, use case demonstrations, and contributor workshops. Our most recent event is Toronto Open-Source Meetup, where over 40 software engineers, founders, and contributors showed up in person, and many more joined online. The event included fact-based and experience-based sharing sessions on open-source- and API-gateway-related topics. Allen from the University of Toronto commented that the talks drove him to consider contributing to and even pursuing a career in the open-source software field.

The event attracted more than 40 participants to attend in person.
The event attracted more than 40 participants to attend in person.

The Apache APISIX Summit Asia 2022 in May was yet another brand new attempt to help organizations and enterprises better understand and utilize the open-sourced API management tool. This two-day event introduced 15 event-based APISIX use cases presented by engineers from top-tier tech companies like Tencent Cloud, AliCloud, VMvare Tanzu Labs as well as APISIX PMC members. There were also many in-depth roundtable seminars where engineers, open-source contributors and investors shared their thoughts on the whys and hows of building a community first open-source software.

Apache APISIX Summit Asia 2022
Apache APISIX Summit Asia 2022

Besides all these, API7.ai engineers play a critical part in APISIX's projects in GSoC. Google Summer of Code(GSoC) is a global program focused on bringing new contributors into open-source software development. GSoC Contributors work with an open-source organization on a 12+ week programming project under the guidance of mentors. For 3 years in a row, engineers at API7.ai have acted as mentors to APISIX's projects in each year's GSoC. Under the guidance of these APISIX PMC members/Committers, many GSoC contributors went on to become APISIX Commiteers themselves.

The welcoming environment serves as another powerful enticement. APISIX boasts a widely diverse community consisting of people of different ages, races, genders, and experiences.

Zeping has been an active contributor to APISIX since early 2020 when he was looking for an easy-to-use full-lifecycle API management tool for his personal project. At that time, he was a junior in college majoring in management. According to Zeping, his issues and PRs would always get responded to within half a day, and essentially that was what lured him into the community and kept him in. It also helped that he was promoted to become an APISIX PMC member later on. "If you go over our PMC members and Comitters, you will find that there are many students or fresh graduates like myself."

Like Bai, Zexuan has also been contributing to APISIX in its early days, but he is already an experienced expert at OpenResty and Go. Zexuan is the core developer of OpenResty and has been writing Go & Lua for more than 7 years. He discovered the Apache APISIX community in 2019 and eventually became an APISIX PMC member and tech lead at API7.ai.

Sylvia's story is a little bit different. You will most likely have seen Sylvia's work if you've read APISIX's blogs. She's an open-source enthusiast and she helps with APISIX's documentation and blogs. She's drawn to the community by its warmth. "I and other contributors attend meetups and play games together. I like the vibe of APISIX's community.", She commented, "I also love how so many women play a critical role in this community." Indeed, not only does the APISIX community value equal opportunity, but we're also bringing more women into the OSS game. This December, APISIX will partner with Amelia, a North-America based exclusive gathering place for women in tech, venture, and business, to host an online meetup to talk about women and their success in the open source software space.

You can also learn more about our developer advocates story.

These stories are a mere fraction of hundreds of true APISIX enthusiasts, but they showcased why APISIX has gained so much traction in the past 3 years. Earlier this year, APISIX was awarded "Cloud-Native Technology of the Year" by CSDN and recognized as "Top 100+ Developer Tools 2021" by Stackshare. By putting community before code, APISIX welcomes all sorts of meaningful conversations via mail group, Slack, or in Github. As 2023 approaches, all of us at API7.ai genuinely look forward to seeing APISIX being discovered, implemented, and improved by more and more people.

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