It has never been easier to get access to advanced tools, to integrate third-party tools with your applications to enhance the user experience, and to help you gather vital information. Unfortunately, this ease-of-use has come largely at the cost of your control over your and your users' data.
Not only can you not know what the data, that is generated by users' interaction with your company, is used for; several services are known to base their business model directly on collecting information on your users, aggregating it, building profiles, and using it to market content more directly to them.
Most distressingly, data that crosses the border to the US can be read by the US government in some circumstances, posing a significant privacy threat to your user.
Your application is a liability for your users.
It doesn't have to be this way. We're here to help.
Most companies depend heavily on third party applications because it is easy. Any potential replacement for existing services must be just as easy to integrate with and use.
The YOURdata initiative strives to build and support open source alternatives to established and popular services used by many websites, and to build them in such a way that you can spin up your own production-ready instance and integrate with it, as quickly as you would sign up for and integrate with alternatives where you are not in control of what happens to your and your users' data.
Here are a few guiding principles for the projects we are building:
With these rules in mind, we are building services much like the open source projects you know and love, but at a slightly higher level of abstraction: entire applications that can work as services in your software system, fully and adequately encapsulating functionality. You won't have to reinvent the same system for different contexts.
Get involved by getting in touch.
The following projects are recommended as projects that live up to the principles of the YOURdata initiative. These are projects we take try to take a role in supporting, but they have not necessarily originated with us.
Projects start as concepts, then move into alpha, beta, and finally release stages.
Fathom is a GDPR-aware analytics engine. It helps you keep track of user visits and behavior on your website—without handing data on to a third party.
The project was started by two independent software developers, Danny and Paul, who offer hosting services in case you don't want to set up your own instance.
An alternative to Google Analytics, etc.
hype helps you manage mailing lists and write newsletters. Let users sign up to news about your product or offerings, without passing all that information on to someone else.
The project is currently in alpha, which means you can run it, but the feature set is very limited.
An alternative to Mailchimp, etc.
Run your own chat-like interface with customers, allowing quick and informal communication. The goal of chattie is to construct a base level application that can be extended with any capabilities that may be needed, for example machine learning and other popular chat bot features.
An alternative to Intercom or even products like Facebook Messenger and Google Allo.
An identity service that does all the boring things you might want in a user system. The service will be easy to integrate with applications in several ways, including through an API or through quicker libraries that talk directly to a database, hopefully making for a service so fast that you will never need to write a user system again.
Currently, the project is being incepted as a part of hype, pending future extraction.
A fully working alternative (although not quite with the same plans for integration) is Netlify's gotrue.
A highly configurable service that allows you to take payment for orders, manage incoming orders, and send receipts by the click of a button. The goal is to support integration with various payment providers, making it quick and easy for a business to change which one they use, without it impacting any other part of the application.
Currently, a prototype is running in the Mærkelex project as maerkelex-payment, pending future extraction.
A fully working alternative (although not quite with the same plans for integration) is Netlify's gocommerce.
Allow users to comment on content you host.
An alternative to Discus, etc.
A fully working alternative (although not quite with the same plans for integration) is Netlify's gotell.
Communities should own the platforms they interact on. This project should result in a basic group interaction experience, where users can share relevant information with each other, create and manage events by the community, and so on.
An alternative to Facebook Groups, Podio, etc.
This project allows any community to sell tickets for events. It builds on top of payment to provide reservation of tickets until purchase is completed, queueing, and more.
This service may be combined with groups to allow groups to sell tickets for their events.
An alternative to Ticketmaster, etc.
There are projects which live up to the principles stated on this page, but which we are not taking a role in supporting and developing (usually because of slightly differing visions, which lead us to developing and supporting alternatives).
Nonetheless, these projects deserve mention, as they might be what you need in order to reclaim control of your data.
An open source comments-as-a-service created by Netlify that enables your users to comment on your content, run through an external service.
An open source identity-as-a-service created by Netlify that supports user management as an external service.
An open source payment-as-a-service library created by Netlify that allows you to take payment from your application, through this external service.