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A New Contributor Stipend Program for WebdriverIO

· 5 min read

The WebdriverIO community is on the verge of an exciting new era, supported by strategic partnerships with BrowserStack and Sauce Labs, along with continuous support from other sponsors like LambdaTest. This collective endeavor signifies a crucial milestone for the WebdriverIO project, as we utilize these additional resources to foster the growth and enrichment of our ecosystem.

Towards a Sustainable Open Source Model

WebdriverIO's story began with its inception into the JS Foundation in 2017, which later evolved into the OpenJS Foundation. Since then, it has thrived as an open-governed, community-driven endeavor, witnessing continuous growth in NPM downloads, the introduction of innovative plugins and reporters, and the rollout of new functionalities. This expansion is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the global testing community, including project users and contributors from leading testing cloud providers.

WebdriverIO's core principle is its dedication to open governance, an aspect that has attracted the trust and confidence of its users, especially those in the enterprise world. The project's growth has been organic, independent of Venture Capital, corporate objectives and sales requirements, guaranteeing that its development aligns with the true needs of our user community and all features remain free of charge.

With the project's continuous expansion, marked by increasing NPM downloads, new functionalities, plugins, and reporters, the importance of nurturing a healthy and sustainable growth path has never been more critical. Our recent alliances with top cloud services for automated testing demonstrate our dedication to responsibly managing these resources, with the aim to widen our network of contributors and enrich the entire ecosystem.

Introducing the Stipend Program

Central to our ethos is the belief that financial support of the WebdriverIO ecosystem is a worthy endeavor. Whether it's the occasional contributions from casual participants or the continuous dedication of our core team members, every contribution is a building block of our project's success. Currently, the project benefits from a monthly donation inflow of $3,879, sourced through various channels like Tidelift,, GitHub Sponsors, and our Open Collective. These funds have empowered the Technical Steering Committee to finalize new governance policies, outlining our strategic approach to fund allocation.

Our monthly budget is allocated across four key areas:

  • Project Development receives the largest share, with 60% of the funds dedicated to fostering growth and innovation.
  • Travel and Event Expenses account for 20%, supporting our participation in and hosting of industry events and meetups.
  • Support Systems are allocated 10% of the budget, ensuring our infrastructure and community support mechanisms remain robust.
  • Lastly, Dependencies, crucial external projects and tools we rely on, also receive 10% of our financial resources.

Dedication to Project Development

Our financial strategy gives top priority to project development, dedicating 60% of our resources to it. This funding aims to draw contributions from a wide range of people, increasing our base of dedicated contributors. By dividing the funds, allocating 35% to individuals not directly involved with the project and 65% to our project contributors and the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) members, we seek to foster a strong sense of community and shared ownership. This approach is vital for ensuring the long-term prosperity and stability of our project.

As part of this strategy, we have developed an automated expense process using a GitHub Action to help run this program. You can read more about how this process works on my personal blog.

Supporting Community Engagement and Events

Recognizing the importance of community engagement, especially in the aftermath of Covid-19, we are allocating funds towards travel and event expenses. This decision emphasizes our commitment to creating user meetups and supporting the broader community in hosting WebdriverIO-related events. It reflects our desire to not only maintain but also to strengthen the community ties that form the backbone of our project.

Enhancing Support Systems

A small fraction of our monthly budget is allocated to various essentials that support our project's community growth and upkeep. Our intention is to invest in translating our documentation and financially support those who contribute to this effort. Additionally, we aim to cover ongoing costs for infrastructure needed to host project-related materials, as well as provide our maintainers with the software tools necessary to enhance their contributions to the project.

Acknowledging Dependencies

Finally, we're committed to giving back to the projects and communities that are crucial to WebdriverIO's success. We believe it's vital for open-source projects benefiting from generous donations to support their key dependencies. Thanks to, we can identify and financially support our most critical dependencies based on their significance to our project and the funds we allocate monthly for this purpose. Noteworthy dependencies include:

  • Individual open-source champions like Sindre Sorhus and isaacs, whose contributions to various dependencies are invaluable.
  • The Vite ecosystem: we use Vitest across almost all our projects, and we couldn't provide such powerful component testing capabilities without Vite under the hood
  • The Eslint project and its related ecosystem projects are fundamental to maintaining a high code quality of our projects and have significantly inspired our contributor stipend program.

Looking Ahead

As we embrace this new chapter, we're excited about the prospects of accelerating growth through strategic investments in our community and project. The early feedback from our initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive, and we are committed to refining our processes for even greater efficiency and transparency.

Twitter Excitement

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our sponsors for their invaluable support, and we warmly welcome further sponsorship to join us in this journey. Together, we are setting the stage for an even brighter future for WebdriverIO and its thriving ecosystem.

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