Best Open Source Technologies for Web Development

November 16, 2016 7:05 pm Published by


Enterprises are adopting open source technologies more than ever. According to the 2015 Future of Open Source Survey from Black Duck Software and North Bridge, almost 80 percent of respondents said their firms use open source software (OSS) to run all or a portion of their operations. Here are some of the best open source web development tools.


Bootstrap is an open source tool often used in creating responsive web designs. It has more stars on GitHub than any other project, accumulating more than 90,000 stars and 38,000 forks. It comes complete with JavaScript extensions, containers, forms, buttons, classes, media queries, grids and navigation.


Notepad++ has long been a favorite selection for Windows developers. A text and source code editor, it offers syntax folding and highlighting over 50 programming languages. It also features multi-document view, Perl Compatible Regular Expression (PCRE) search and replace, auto completion, function parameter hint and more.


Node.js is a popular platform for creating network applications that are both scalable and fast. It uses less CPU horsepower and has a smaller memory footprint then the .NET framework or Java. Node.js is revolutionary in that it helped usher in real-time web apps using websockets to deploy push technology. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O structure based on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. It is not your best choice for heavy computation, but is ideal for creating network apps that can scale.


A CSS pre-processor, LESS has a similar syntax to CSS itself. Developed by Alexis Sellier, LESS helps you make CSS more extendable and maintainable with a full feature set including functions, variables and mixins. It can be used on the command line as a script file for a browser or inside a number of third-party tools.


AngularJS extends the power of HTML using markup for data binding and dynamic views. A Model-View-Whatever (MVW) JavaScript platform, it is well-suited for creating one-page web applications and connecting HTML forms to JavaScript controllers and models. It uses two-way binding to seamlessly synchronize data from the user interface with JavaScript objects.


Brackets is a lightweight web design editor created by Adobe. The concept behind Brackets was to create a superior tool for working on CSS, HTML and JavaScript. Based on CodeMirror, its native shell is built on Google’s Chromium Embedded Framework. Designed from the ground up to be a powerful tool for front-end developers and web designers, Brackets adds dynamic visual tools inside the editing area. For example, you can open a window into selected code, or get instant feedback on your changes by creating a real-time connection to a browser.


MongoDB is a popular document-oriented database. With the ability to work across multiple platforms, it uses documents with dynamic schemas for rapid data integration. Related data is kept together for faster access. MongoDB lets you start forming data records without knowing the data fields or values beforehand, which is ideal for arrays, hierarchical relationships and other complicated data structures—documents aren’t required to have the same fields. It also comes with built-in auto-sharding and replication.


Originally developed at Facebook by Avinash Lakshman and Prashant Malik, Cassandra was created to handle extreme workloads with an emphasis on throughput over consistency. In contrast, HBase was built to maximize the consistency of writes and reads. For that reason, Cassandra is better suited for operational applications you might be developing including product catalogs, time series and recommendations.

It’s an exciting time for open source software, as new frameworks and platforms constantly emerge to address new challenges in enterprise computing. As IT demands change, better and more sophisticated open source tools for web developers are created to overcome obstacles and make programming easier.

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Author: Leo Farias

Leo Farias is the CTO and Co-founder at Concepta. He received his MPS in Business of Art & Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art. With over 18 years of technology-focused experience, he plays a vital role in architecting and leading various mission-critical projects for world-renowned clients like Time Warner Music, Orlando City Soccer, Vasco de Gama and Corinthians Soccer Club. Leo has a wife and a beautiful baby daughter and can be found watching Game of Thrones when he’s not reading the latest articles on new programming languages and books on being a transformational CIO.

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