Recently, TSC Nanjing Architecture Team announced that “ICON” is turning into a Community-Driven Development project - “ICON community”, which is a new try in TSC software development.
What is ICON?
As we all know, Schenker as a logistics company, its IT systems need to be integrated with many external systems from customers, vendors, suppliers, carriers and so on. Among these connections, tens of thousands of messages are generated and processed every day. In Schenker’s IT landscape nowadays, SWORD as an enterprise integration platform, provides the functionality of secured data transmission and transform, between Schenker and outside world.
If you take SWORD as a highway for messages transmission, ICON is aimed to be a mature and free load equipment to handle the last (or first) mile of each message from/into your backyard (databases) directly and safely, which can also be easily implemented by every IT system in Schenker.
How does Community-Driven Development look like
ICON 1.0 was developed in 2010. It transferred from a private project into an internal open source software when it comes to version 6 in 2018. Every Schenker employee can access its source code, which makes this software transparent to its end users. Open source in DB Schenker is the first step and shaping it into a Community-Driven Development project is the next step, according to Jake Ma, Head of S2A Nanjing and the initiator of ICON community.
There are many benefits to start ICON Community. On one hand, “This action builds up more trust between us and our partners. We already receive some positive feedback from partners and developers.” said Jake Ma.
On another hand, ICON community will also be the most efficient way to maintain and develop software like ICON, with committers, developers/contributors and of course end users, taking various roles and responsibilities and therefore working together to make this software more powerful and easier to use.
Actually, open source is not just changing the code repository privilege. It requires not only a code base with high quality, but also a set of complete and up-to-date document. Jake said, “Our team has rewritten 80% of the old code before we officially open it, and we are spending around 1 day per week just to maintain the documents.”
Jake hopes, “Now, there are 20 users in this community. We would like to engage more active contributors in the coming years and make ICON more popular and add more values to Schenker.”