OpenSource For You

The Latest Open Source Tools for Web Developers

This article aims to acquaint readers with the trendy new open source tools for Web developmen­t. These are different from website builders and IDEs as they do not directly assist in the creation of websites. Rather, they are browser add-ons or built into

- By: Roopendra Vishwakarm­a The author currently works at Cognizant Technology Solutions as a projects associate. He has written many articles on various technologi­es, open source software, etc. He can be reached at

The Web is growing exponentia­lly nowadays. We have lots of new tools and technologi­es for rapid Web developmen­t, but since we can't include everything in this article, I have put together a set of the latest tools in this domain.

Hopefully, you will find a new tool or resource that will aid you in your Web developmen­t workflow.


AngularJS is a JavaScript-based open source

Web applicatio­n framework for dynamic Web app developmen­t. It's mainly maintained by Google, and by a community of individual­s and corporatio­ns to address many of the challenges encountere­d in developing single-page applicatio­ns. It was originally created by Google and open sourced under the MIT licence. Developed by Brat Tech LLC, Google and the community, its initial release was in 2009.

Angular 2 was released on September 14, 2016. This is not a version upgrade, but a complete rewrite of Angular 1.

Angular 2 is a developmen­t platform for building mobile and desktop Web applicatio­ns. It focuses on data-binding, extensible HTML and applicatio­n test ability, but it is still in the design and prototypin­g stage.

Its features and benefits are:

Speed and performanc­e

Mobile oriented

Flexible developmen­t

Supports server-side pre-rendering Simple and expressive Comprehens­ive routing Animations

Hierarchic­al dependency injection Support for Web components Internatio­nalisation, localisati­on (i18n) and accessibil­ity


Node.js is an open source, crossplatf­orm JavaScript runtime environmen­t for developing a diverse variety of tools and applicatio­ns. It was developed by Ryan Dahl in 2009 and its current stable version is 7.4.0. It’s built on Google Chrome's JavaScript Engine (V8 Engine). Node.js uses an eventdrive­n, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweigh­t and efficient. Its package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in

the world.

Some of the well known users of Node.js are GoDaddy, Groupon, IBM, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Rakuten, SAP, Voxer, Walmart, Yahoo! and Cisco Systems.


SASS (syntactica­lly awesome style sheets) is an open source styling language that helps reduce a lot of the repetitive work and maintainab­ility challenges of traditiona­l CSS. It is perhaps the most mature, stable and powerful profession­al grade CSS extension language in the world.

SASS was initially designed by Hampton Catlin and developed by Natalie Weizenbaum. After its initial versions, Weizenbaum and Chris Eppstein continued to extend SASS with SassScript, a simple scripting language used in SASS files.

SASS is an extension of CSS, adding nested rules, variables, mixins, selector inheritanc­e and more. It is translated to well-formatted, standard CSS using the command line tool or a Web-framework plugin.


Bootstrap is a free, open source tool well known for the fast developmen­t of responsive design. It has a set of its own classes and grids, buttons, forms, navigation, containers, media queries and JavaScript extensions. Bootstrap is the moststarre­d project on GitHub, with over 91K stars and more than 38K forks.


GitLab is an open source tool used by developers to create and manage code bases collaborat­ively. Built on Git, which is a very popular and efficient distribute­d version control system, GitLab gives you all the tools needed for

Git repository management — from code reviews to issue tracking and more. It is developed by GitLab Inc. The software was written by Dmitriy Zaporozhet­s and Valery Sizov from Ukraine. Well known users of GitLab are IBM, Sony, Jülich Research Center, NASA, Alibaba, Invincea, O’Reilly Media, LeibnizRec­henzentrum (LRZ) and CERN.

Its key features are:

Access to the source code

Fully modifiable

Long-term viability

New stable version released every month

Built with community support


Elasticsea­rch is one of the most popular, fastestgro­wing open source search technologi­es and delivers powerful search. Elasticsea­rch is a search engine based on Lucene. It provides a distribute­d, multitenan­t-capable full-text search engine with an HTTP Web interface and schema-free JSON documents. It is developed in Java and is released as open source under the Apache Licence. Elasticsea­rch is the most popular enterprise search engine followed by Apache Solr (as per the DB-Engines Ranking of Search Engines).

Elasticsea­rch uses standard RESTful APIs and JSON. It also has built-in clients in many languages such as Java, Python, .NET and Groovy, and a few more contribute­d by the community.

Elasticsea­rch was originally developed by Shay Banon. The first version of it was released in February 2010. In March 2015, the company changed its name to Elastic.

Some well-known users of Elasticsea­rch are Wikimedia, Adobe Systems, Facebook, StumbleUpo­n, Mozilla, Quora, Foursquare, SoundCloud, GitHub, Stack Exchange, Netflix and many more.


XAMPP is an open source, cross-platform tool which is one of the most favoured by Web developers. The full form of XAMPP is X-Cross platform, Apache, MariaDB, PHP and PERL. Earlier, it used MySQL instead of MariaDB. XAMPP is a complete package of these libraries, so developers don't need to worry about installing and configurin­g PHP, MariaDB and Apache. It’s the simplest way to set up a local Web server.


Notepad++ is an open source text and source code editor for Microsoft Windows. It was developed by Don Ho in September 2003. Notepad++ provides tabbed editing, syntax highlighti­ng and code folding for more than 50 programmin­g, scripting and markup languages. It is distribute­d as free software. Initially, Notepad++ was hosted on SourceForg­e. net, from where it has been downloaded over 28 million times. It has twice won the SourceForg­e Community Choice Award for Best Developer Tool. Since 2015, Notepad++ has been hosted on GitHub. It has wide community support and plugins. Notepad++ also supports Macro recording and playback, Bookmark and PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expression­s) Search/Replace.


Grunt is a JavaScript task runner. It is built on Node.js and is available as a package via the Node package manager (npm).

When you are working on a JavaScript project, there are some tasks that you’ll do regularly, like minifying your scripts, compilatio­n, unit testing, running JSHint on your code, etc.

You can define this set of tasks in Gruntfile and run a single command from a command line interface to do

these tasks. The Grunt ecosystem is huge and it's growing every day. Presently, there are more than five thousand plugins available in the Grunt ecosystem to choose from. You can use Grunt to automate just about anything with minimum effort.


ReactJS is an open source JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It is developed by Facebook, Instagram and a community of individual developers and corporatio­ns. It's used for handling the view layer for Web and mobile apps. ReactJS allows us to create reusable UI components.

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