Open Source Repository for Industry Collaboration, Adoption, and Trust

IAB Tech Lab invites the digital media and advertising industry and its software developers to the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Source Initiative to build and share solutions for common industry challenges. 

Collaborative software development has been practiced since the 1940s through the 1960s and later, mostly driven by researchers, hobbyists, and even allowed in the past by commercial manufacturers to reduce software support and bug fixing costs. The term ‘open source’ is a more recent phenomenon and has gained popularity in the last couple of decades with a number of successful and popular products that form the bedrock of the internet and cloud infrastructure as well as popular applications, namely WordPress, Angular, Kubernetors, Linux, MySQL, Hadoop, Tensorflow, or the underlying engines of all major web browsers. Popularity of the open source development model can be gauged by Github, among the most popular providers of open source development, with over 56 million users and 28 million public projects as of this writing. 

Besides the engineering economics of greater returns via contribution process, there are other advantageous outcomes of collaboration and open source projects like supporting growth of an open standard, driving adoption of a platform, or developing a healthy ecosystem of skills and applications for a platform. While there are several open source projects supported by advertising technology companies and individuals, there has not been a concerted industry effort to organize and maintain relevant open source projects in one place.

IAB Tech Lab has maintained a code bank to support several standards and supporting application programming interfaces (APIs) and tools. And with the Open Measurement software development kit (SDK), we have observed that collaborative software development and sharing the source code results in faster and consistent standard adoption. Our member companies have requested for more reference implementations of standards and development of tools and utilities to support consistent and unambiguous adoption of standards. Given the experience and the need, we are happy to launch this new initiative and provide the industry with a home for open source projects.

IAB Tech Lab team believes that the next generation of standards will evolve as code and is enthusiastic about supporting the industry and facilitating the governance and management of relevant open source projects that will support evolution, deployment and adoption of standards via code development as well as foster innovation while identifying and developing new foundational technologies in support of the advertising industry needs. Our initial focus is to develop reference implementations, actual standards implementations that can be directly integrated, and tools that can be helpful in deploying standards. The initiative will be governed by the Tech Lab Architecture Group composed of Extreme Reach, GroupM, GumGum, Oracle, Tapad, and The Trade Desk.

We are grateful to Google and Index Exchange, The Trade Desk, and Zefr, and their employees for volunteering to the initial contributions for the initiative, in addition to our existing projects from our code bank. The first initiatives including: 

  • Unified ID 2.0 (UID2) 
  • Brand suitability test benchmarks
  • Ads.cert

In addition to these projects already in progress, a new project has been initiated for developing an API-managed ad container to facilitate rich ad interactions in any environment. A GitHub repository has been created for the Safe HTML Ad Richmedia Container, or “SHARC,” and is currently recruiting developers.

You can find all current projects and details on governance, project submission, code of conduct, and community guidance for the Open Source Initiative here. Looking forward to a thriving ad tech open source community.


Shailley Singh
Senior Vice President
Product Management & Global Programs
IAB Tech Lab

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