Forrester: open source project explosion driving a "golden era" in app dev

The explosion in open source projects in the HTML, mobile, cloud and big data spaces such as Android, jQuery, PhoneGap, Sencha, Hadoop and Cordova are driving a new model and a golden age of "app" development, Forrester Research says.
Written by Paula Rooney, Contributor

An explosion in the number of open source technologies and projects is driving the new paradigm of application development in the mobile, cloud and big data era. 

Of course, one would have to live under a rock not to notice the huge "app" industry around smartphones and tablets. 

But Android is not the only open source game in town driving the innovation. jQuery, Phonegap, Hadoop, Sencha , Apache Cordova, dojo, Ehcache, Riak, Munin and OpenStack are among the many key open source technologies driving the new wave of innovation across the consumer space and enterprise markets, according to Forrester Research.

In a webcast with Black Duck Software today, Forreser Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond said that five out of six developers are currently using or have used open source software tools and frameworks as part of their projects.

And that survey was conducted with readers of Dr Dobbs, many of whom identify as more traditional .NET, C and C++ and Java developers, Hammond said.  Only 16 percent of the 481 developers urveyed in the third-quarter of 2012 survey say they have not used open source tools at all. 

In the last two years alone, the number of open source projects has exploded to roughly  725,000 in 2012, with 10,000 new open source projects in 2011 alone, and up sharply from 100,000 projects reported in 2006.

Much of the development is occurring in the HTML, mobile, cloud and big data space, with  other leading open source projects such as the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl), NGINX and MongoDB also cited as oft used tools by enterprise customers, Hammond said. 

Enterprises are developing systems of engagement ton top of traditional systems of record o interact with their customers, employees and partners using a variety of mobile, web, cloud technologies. Innovation in software is only 10 percent of the cost of softare development 10 years ago and that is leading the charge, the Forrester analyst said. 

"It's a golden age from the software development perspective," Hammond said, noting, however, that these different models of development require new proceses and tools. "It's a fun time but a challenging time."

Hammond said the change is as big if not bigger than the switch from mainframes and minicomputers to client/server era. "There's not much commercial shrink-wrapped"[software development] going on. 



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