8 Top Open Source Developer Tools

The InfoWorld Test Center picks the top free and open source RIA platform, AJAX framework, business rule management system, version control package, object database, Web service test tool, and HTTP client library.

1. Object database – db4o

Db4o leverages cutting edge technologies to achieve unprecedented level of performance and flexibility. By simply embedding db4o’s open source object database engine into your application, it allows you to store and retrieve even the most complex object structures with only one line of code.

db4o started life as a Java database library, but its designers have since created parallel editions for the .Net languages. In 2005, db4o implemented Native Queries, which allow you to express queries as Java (or .Net) methods. Recent additions to the library include Transparent Update and Transparent Activation, which more completely automate object persistence. The engine itself deduces how much of a persistent object’s members must be read from and written to storage, simplifying coding and providing better memory management. Also new in db4o is support for Microsoft LINQ

2. Version control – Git

Git is an open source, distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.

Every Git clone is a full-fledged repository with complete history and full revision tracking capabilities, not dependent on network access or a central server. Branching and merging are fast and easy to do.

Git is used for version control of files, much like tools such as Mercurial, Bazaar, Subversion, CVS, Perforce, and Visual SourceSafe.

3. Web client library – HttpClient

HttpClient is an open source Java HTTP client library begun in 2001. Formerly a component of Jakarta Commons, it is now being maintained by the HttpComponents project. Though there’s nothing earth-shatteringly new about HttpClient, it is as useful as ever. Particularly helpful are property settings that let you configure HttpClient to dump detailed “on the wire” data to System.out. If you’re a Java programmer with a complex application staring at you, swing by the HttpClient-3.x site and you’ll have your client application done in no time.

4. Parallel programming – Intel Threaded Building Blocks (TBB)

The effective use of multicore processors is one of the more difficult and pressing problems facing software developers today. Over the years, there have been many proposals to address parallelization, many of which involved new languages. Intel Threaded Building Blocks (TBB) is a portable template-based C++ library that implements a higher-level, task-based parallelism that abstracts platform details and threading mechanism for performance and scalability.

Intel® Threading Building Blocks (TBB) offers a rich and complete approach to expressing parallelism in a C++ program. It is a library that helps you take advantage of multi-core processor performance without having to be a threading expert. Threading Building Blocks is not just a threads-replacement library. It represents a higher-level, task-based parallelism that abstracts platform details and threading mechanism for performance and scalability and performance.

5. Business rule management system – JBoss Drools

Drools is a business rule management system (BRMS) and an enhanced Rules Engine implementation, ReteOO, based on Charles Forgy’s Rete algorithm tailored for the JVM. More importantly, Drools provides for Declarative Programming and is flexible enough to match the semantics of your problem domain with Domain Specific Languages, graphical editing tools, web based tools and developer productivity tools.

JBoss Drools is a worthy rival to leading enterprise competitors Blaze Advisor and JRules, but is available free under the Apache open source license. It combines a very fast runtime engine, a full-featured rule repository, excellent Eclipse-based developer tools, and support for Excel-based decision tables, allowing rules to be written and maintained by business analysts. The developer group is large, and the project moves fast. Drools even has one feature the market leaders lack: the capability to import rules from almost any other BRMS.

6. Rich Internet applications – open-sourcing the Flex SDK

InfoWorld has given high marks to Adobe Flex Builder 3.0, which is a commercial product. We would also like to honor Adobe for open-sourcing the Flex SDK (although not the Flex Builder IDE) under the MPL model. This move opens the door for open source tools and applications targeting the Flex framework, which in turn is one of our favorite ways of producing rich Internet applications. Competitors to Flex include OpenLazlo and better performers such as Curl and Silverlight 2.0, but those last two products are not open source, even though they may be used for free in some scenarios.

7. JavaScript framework – Prototype

Prototype is a JavaScript Framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications.

Featuring a unique, easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven development and the nicest Ajax library around, Prototype is quickly becoming the codebase of choice for web application developers everywhere.

Prototype is a JavaScript Framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications.

Featuring a unique, easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven development and the nicest Ajax library around, Prototype is quickly becoming the codebase of choice for web application developers everywhere.

8. Web services test tool – soapUI

soapUI is the leading tool for Web Service Testing. With more than 760 000 downloads, it’s the most used tool for SOA testing in the world.

soapUI is a free and open source desktop application for

  • inspecting Web Services
  • invoking Web Services
  • developing Web Services
  • Web Services Simulation and Mocking
  • Functional, Load and Compliance testing of Web Services

It is mainly aimed at developers and testers providing or consuming WSDL or REST based Web Services (Java, .net, etc). Functional and Load Testing can be done both interactively in soapUI or within an automated build or integration process using the soapUI command line tools.

Mock Web Services can easily be created for any WSDL and hosted from within soapUI or using the command-line MockService runner. IDE-plugins are available for

soapUI requires Java 1.5 and is licensed under the LGPL license

Via [InfoWorld]

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