Open Source10 Open Source Tools for Developers

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These are some of the best-known and most popular open source tools for desktop, Web and mobile development.


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According to the 2016 Future of Open Source Survey from Black Duck Software, 65 percent of organizations use open source software, and development tools are the third most common type of open source software used by businesses (after operating systems and databases). As Lou Shipley, president and CEO of Black Duck notes in the report, “Simply put, open source is the way applications are developed today.”

This slideshow features ten noteworthy open source development tools. It includes version control systems, integrated development environments (IDEs), text editors, and Web and mobile development frameworks. All are regularly used by developers to create new applications.


Git1. Git


With the rise of GitHub, Git has become a de facto standard, and according to several surveys is now the most popular version control system among software developers. Its users include all of the biggest names in the technology industry, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn and Netflix. It’s also very popular with open source projects, such as the Linux kernel, Eclipse, Gnome and others.


Eclipse2. Eclipse


Eclipse is among the most popular integrated development environment (IDE) for Java developers. It also supports C/C++, JavaScript and PHP. The Eclipse Foundation, which oversees development of the IDE, supports more than 250 open source projects, most of them related to development tools.


NetBeans3. NetBeans


Another very popular open source IDE, NetBeans is known primarily as a Java tool, but it also supports C/C++, JavaScript, PHP and HTML development. It runs on Windows, Linux or macOS, and it can be used to create desktop, Web or mobile applications.


Emacs4. Emacs


Generations of developers have debated the relative merits of two of the most popular text editors: Emacs and Vim. GNU Emacs boasts content-aware editing modes with syntax coloring, built-in documentation and tutorials, full Unicode support and tools for project planning, debugging and more.


Vim5. Vim


Also a well-known, mature text editor, Vim is included in most UNIX systems and macOS. Key features include a multi-level undo tree, support for hundreds of programming language, an excellent search and replace tool and an extensive plug-in system.


Node.js6. Node.js


With Node.js, developers can write server-side applications in JavaScript. In recent years, the project has skyrocketed in popularity, and its users include IBM, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Netflix, PayPal, Yahoo, Walmart and many other well-known Web companies. According to its website, “Node.js’ package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world.”


Cordova7. Cordova


Sponsored by the Apache Foundation, Cordova allows mobile developers to write apps for iOS, Android, Windows and other platforms using Web development technologies like HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Many other mobile development frameworks, most notably PhoneGap, are based on the Cordova code base.




Microsoft’s Web development framework has been around since 2002, but it wasn’t released under an open source license until 2014. It integrates with many other Microsoft development tools, including Visual Studio.


Bootstrap9. Bootstrap


On its website, Bootstrap claims to be “the most popular HTML, CSS and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile-first projects on the Web.” Developed by Twitter and first released in 2011, it aims to simplify front-end Web development.


Ruby on Rails10. Ruby on Rails


Ruby on Rails sets itself apart from other Web application development frameworks with its unique philosophy and friendly approach. Its users include some of the most popular services on the Internet, such as GitHub, Airbnb, Basecamp and Hulu.

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