2018-2019 Software Community Health Metrics - OAE

2018-2019 Software Community Health Metrics OAE

Status: Graduated incubation

Background and Objectives
The Open Academic Environment is a multi-tenant platform aiming to support academic collaboration and networking. Specifically, OAE provides tools and services that can be used in the context of a class, of a formal or informal group outside a class or of such a group outside an institution.

OAE is widely used by staff in French higher education in the context of research and other inter-institutional collaboration. The project is now examining future directions which bring OAE closer to students and to learning.

OAE has a fairly complex technology stack that includes Express / NodeJS, Cassandra, RabbitMQ, Redis, Etherpad, Ethercalc and Elasticsearch. The project development environment requires docker and contributions are submitted via Github.


Date of First Release 

Date of Last Release 

Number of Releases


April 2019

70 total

(1 in 2018, 3 in 2019 so far)


Commits in 2018

Commits in 2019

Frequency of Commits





Contributors in 2018

Contributors in 2019




Number of sites in use (estimated)

 1 (ESUP Portail, France)


In 2018 the project went through a period of internal reorganisation as a result of the discontinuation of its commercial instance, Unity. This led to the suspension of the roadmap and team reorientation towards data migration and redeployment. Two new projects emerged from this effort: a public repository for the data migration project (https://github.com/oaeproject/tenant-migration) and a private one for software provisioning and overall installation and configuration of OAE in an automated fashion.

Still, the OAE team was able to advance significantly on other fronts such as integration of collaborative spreadsheets, reduction of technical debt and the implementation of GDPR-related functionality. This effort is still ongoing and has been the core of the past releases.

Another relevant information to help contextualise the project activity is the fact that the previous team of three people was reduced to just one mid-2018. This lasted until January 2019 when a design intern joined the team to lead the redesigning effort.

2018 Highlights
In 2018 the project mostly dealt with the discontinuation of Unity, the reference implementation and commercial instance of OAE. Initially, the OAE team focused on migrating the important data over to a new OAE instance. In turn, this effort triggered the need for a new continuous delivery mechanism which lasted until 2019.

2019 Highlights
In 2019 the project resumed its normal development rhythm and has been gaining momentum since the latest major release 15.0.0 “Snowy Owl”. This milestone was the result of a consolidation effort focused on reducing technical debt and improving developer ergonomics significantly. Since then, the major highlight has been the integration with Ethercalc to provide collaborative spreadsheets, in a similar fashion to Etherpad.

OAE has also been redesigning its somewhat outdated visual identity with new features and new target audiences in mind.

Future Plans
Future plans include the implementation of the ongoing redesign, the development of new user-facing features and possibly the integration of a third-party office suite.