QueryTree: Now open source!

December 14, 2017


QueryTree is now open source 🎉

Anyone can use QueryTree for any purpose that they so desire - for free!

You’ll find the code on GitHub along with support docs. Oh yeahhh!

Oh yeahhh

You can download the QueryTree codebase on Github.

But wait, why are we open sourcing QueryTree?

Three years ago we built QueryTree. The idea was to create a tool that non-technical people could use to access and visualize data locked away in their databases. No SQL and no scary command line to get your data, just a nice interface for you to build queries. Over time we built up a core set of customers and asked for and received feedback on the product. This led to an even simpler reporting tool, automated email reporting, more visualization options, and various tweaks and improvements to QueryTree.

Talking to our customers we were struck by the diversity of them. We had a vision of a certain type of non-technical user but the reality was different. Techies and non techies across job functions and industries were using QueryTree for their various reporting needs. Fantastic! Yet this created an issue for us in terms of finding product-market fit, future product development, and support: how do you prioritize and meet the needs and support issues of such a varied user base? There was a common thread of course: everyone wanted to report and visualize their data but everyone wanted to do it differently.

Some kind of unity

Through all of these use-cases there seemed to be a single consistent use/request for QueryTree: software engineers setting QueryTree up for non-technical colleagues/clients as a way to access data, build visualizations, and regularly report on data. QueryTree is perfect for this because it requires read-only access for databases, meaning no harm can come to a database, and the interface is simple and friendly for layman users.

Building a reporting in QueryTree

These software engineers, often from medium to large-scale companies with apps of their own or consulting companies building bespoke software, were setting up QueryTree accounts and sending people to the app. From a user experience and customisability perspective this isn’t perfect so people often requested white-label integration options for QueryTree.

But, as QueryTree was using a SaaS pricing model, it was difficult to respond positively to these requests - we’d just end up doing bespoke software development, trying to fit QueryTree’s code into each requester’s scenario.

A little digging and customer-conversing showed us that this was actually one of the main uses of QueryTree. We’d always intended QueryTree ‘buyers’ to be the non-technical person. But it seemed we’d built an app for non-techies that techies were giving to non-techies to use. In a roundabout way QueryTree was doing it’s intended job.

If technical people were the real ‘buyers’ why not give them full control over how they use QueryTree?

Open source QueryTree

We’re open-sourcing rather than selling access to the source code because we recognize that integrating QueryTree into your product means you’re making a commitment to our tool. We want to make it as easy and hassle-free as possible for you to do so. But while, after 20 years of building software using OSS tools, we’re excited to finally contribute something substantial to the OSS community, we also need to replace QueryTree’s existing revenue.

We’ll be doing this by keeping paid-for options which include enterpise support and SLAs and custom development for large, complex use-cases. But don’t worry - QueryTree’s code is completely open source and there’re no feature limits. The OSS code is complete.

As a bunch of developers using open source tools ourselves we know adopting new tools and integrations, OSS or proprietary, involves a minefield of motivations and questions such as:

It’s ok, we can adopt this tool and build our product around it, because we’re never going to need that paid feature

Or

We’re only going to need that paid feature once we’re big and successful, and by then we’ll have money

And

Who are these people and why have they open sourced this thing? Will I get locked into someone else’s tool to find they’re going to screw me?

That’s why we’re not putting formal licensing agreements in place because it’s a huge hassle for everyone involved, especially you. And that’s why we’re not ever going to adopt a ‘freemium’ OSS model - we always want you to feel you can use QueryTree without worrying about future compatibility or lock-in.

Go forth and visualize as you please

So that’s it - QueryTree is open source and ready for you to use as you wish! If you have any questions, issues, or suggestions please get in touch.

Happy visualizing!


You can download the QueryTree codebase on Github.