One of the best ways to describe what is open source is by saying that it is the art of democratizing knowledge. I like this description because it captures the essence of what open source really does—sharing knowledge that people can use to solve recurring problems. By recurring problem, I mean any problem that can be experienced by different people sharing the same context. Building Apache Kafka connectors is a good example. Different people may need to build one, and the reason is often the need to integrate with external systems. In this blog post, I will share the details of a very nice GitHub repository that does exactly this.
Kafka Connectors: What, Why, and When
Apache Kafka by itself is just a dumb pipe. It allows you to durably and reliably store streams of events and share them with multiple systems interested in either getting a copy of the data or processing it. To bring data in and to send data out, Kafka relies on another layer of technology called Kafka Connect. This is an integration platform that allows builders to connect with different systems via specialized connectors. There is a great number of connectors developed for different systems, available as both commercial and free offerings here. However, there are situations where you simply can’t use them. Some of these connectors may not be available for the specific system you intend to connect; maybe you can’t pay for the commercial licenses, or perhaps they don’t offer the exact support you are expecting.