Best Open Source Technologies for Web Development

Originally published 2016, updated Nov. 8, 2018.

Twenty years after the Generic Public License (GPL) sparked the open source revolution, open source technology has become a keystone of the enterprise software market.

More than 80% of companies use open source software (OSS) to run at least a portion of their business, and that number is still growing. Take a look at some of the best open source web development tools in use today.


Bootstrap is an open source tool used to create responsive web designs. It comes complete with JavaScript extensions, containers, forms, buttons, classes, media queries, grids and navigation.

Bootstrap has more stars on GitHub than any other project, accumulating more than 90,000 stars and 38,000 forks.

Visual Studio Code

This free, cross-platform code editor is winning over developers. 35% of them use it, especially when it comes to web development.

VS Code is highly extensible and has integrations with other languages including Python, Java, and Ruby.

One of its biggest draws is Intellisense, a flexible bundle of code completion features that lowers the risk of human error.

There’s also a popular Settings Sync extension which allows developers to easily share their configurations with each other.


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 than 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.

While Node isn’t the best choice for heavy computation, it is ideal for creating network apps that can scale.


A CSS preprocessor, LESS has a similar syntax to CSS itself. Developed by Alexis Sellier, LESS helps developers make CSS more extensible 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.


Adobe designed Brackets from the ground up to be a powerful tool for front-end developers and web designers.

Based on CodeMirror, its native shell rests on Google’s Chromium Embedded Framework. The lightweight web design editor is a superior tool for working on CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

Brackets adds dynamic visual tools inside the editing area. For example, developers can open a window into selected code or get instant feedback on 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 developers 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 is a highly scalable database.

It has a short learning curve and is highly fault-tolerant. Unlike HBase, which prioritizes consistency, Cassandra was created to handle extreme workloads with an emphasis on throughput over consistency.

That makes Cassandra better suited for operational applications including product catalogs, time series and recommendations.

Looking Forward

The days when a developer could use the same handful of tools for every project are gone. It’s no longer enough to simply have a web presence.

That presence has to be created with a razor focus on quality, business goals, and innovation. Sophisticated open source frameworks and platforms emerge every day to help web developers handle the demand.

As developers explore ways to meet new challenges in enterprise computing, those tools will prove their worth- or find themselves relegated to the history section on Techopedia.

Every enterprise web application has unique requirements.

Concepta works with a wide range of development tools to build a custom solution for each of our clients, always focusing on business goals first.

Set up a free consultation to find out how we can solve your company’s biggest pain points!

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