On November 2nd at All Things Open, we announced that jupyterlab-git had won the Community category of the 2022 Open Source Awards.

Jupyter is an incredibly popular open source computational notebook widely used in data science work. It has only grown in usage as the tooling has improved with an updated web interface: JupyterLab, which is the foundation for most new Jupyter notebooks today. As you dig deeper into how and why JupyterLab has been so successful, you quickly discover that it is supported by a vibrant extension ecosystem.

One such extension is called jupyterlab-git, maintained by Frédéric Collonval. It lets you commit various versions of your jupyter notebooks into a git repository via your standard JupyterLab interface. For data science teams sharing notebooks, this functionality is critical.

Over the past year and a half, Frédéric has been collaborating with ongoing cohorts of first-time open source contributors from the MLH Fellowship as they have made a multitude of contributions to the project. Through Frédéric’s dedicated work and the supporting sponsorship of the Royal Bank of Canada, new contributors have been welcomed with open arms and constructive mentorship into open source.

“Supporting new contributors to open-source projects is a big challenge for maintainers because it is time consuming and the outcome is uncertain. The MLH fellowship program is a unique open-source sponsor bringing commitment of new contributors making them very valuable. Moreover through the sponsoring of intensive users like RBC, the new contributions can focus on painless bugs and high value features.” – Frédéric Collonval

It is a reminder that a lot of the important open source work in the world is taking place on lesser-known initiatives with individual maintainers. In turn, this is also many new contributors’ introduction to what it is like to interact with open source. While many large projects often have funding and institutional support, this is less common for small ones like jupyterlab-git. By sponsoring MLH Fellows in their journey to become open source contributors, Royal Bank of Canada makes an impact on this critical project by providing Frédéric with more engineering support while also creating an on-ramp for a group of early-career programmers to get into open source.

“RBC’s partnership with the MLH team has been exceptionally impactful. We are often in situations where we are reliant on open-source projects that are beyond our capacity, capability or mandate to maintain. One of my teams goals has been to deliver a turn-key, low-barrier to entry & batteries included environment for Python analytics for our partners in the investment teams. This is a space to enable ‘coders’ to scale beyond traditional tools like excel and to encourage them to adopt basic software engineering best practices. This is where the JupyterLab-Git plugin comes to the rescue! It provides a simple way for non-software-engineers to adopt source control. Like any underfunded open-source project, JupyterLab-Git was not without warts and was missing key features that would have an impact on our users. MLH has really come to the rescue to allow us to not only improve something that we derive a lot of business value from, but also give back to the open-source community which all our engineers are reliant on. Its hard to put into words the positive impact that this has had!” – Matt Dalrymple, Director, Investment Platforms at RBC Global Asset Management

By investing in his open source project’s community and by directly supporting new community members, Frédéric and the rest of the jupyter ecosystem empower a group of early-career developers to become lifelong open source contributors. We are proud that our judges chose to award jupyterlab-git our Community Open Source Award!

To learn more about jupyterlab-git and what they are working on, visit their GitHub Repo

To learn more about the MLH Fellowship, visit our website here.