Open source application development frameworks offer alternatives

Open source application development frameworks provide a lightweight, flexable option to more comprehensive application servers. This is part 3 of 4 in our Open Source Quick Guide.

Open source application development frameworks are seeing broader adoption across enterprise computing. The growth in popularity of Spring and other open source frameworks is in part due to growing disfavor among developers for comparatively heavyweight commercial application servers. "The monolithic application server is not in step with the times," said Rod Johnson, founder of Spring, during a keynote at the 2009 TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas. "The recession was the final blow."Johnson maintains that lightweight frameworks better meet the needs of developers who don't want to pay for unnecessary features packed into commercial application servers.

Spring, a Java development framework available at SpringSource.org, is one of the most popular open source development frameworks. Spring seeks to make J2EE easier to use by helping developers organize objects and create programs that are easy to test. SpringSource, the private company that oversees the open source Spring project, was recently purchased by VMware.

Because it is open source, Spring is widely supported by or integrated with other products to create new functionality. Skyway Builder supports Spring, for example, to help create better J2EE models. Prior to its purchase by VMware, SpringSource acquired Java deployment platform provider CloudFoundry to ease the deployment of Java applications created with Spring. Widespread integration and support is common for many open source frameworks, and contributes to their popularity among developers.

Many other languages have associated open source application frameworks. There's Ruby on Rails for Ruby, Symfony for PHP, and Django for Python to name only three of many.

Open Source SOA Quick Guide
Part 1: Benefits of open source go beyond cost savings
Part 2: Open source ESBs drive integration but not without risk
Part 3: Application development frameworks offer open source alternatives
Part 4: Open source options exist for BPM, IDEs, and more

Open source application development framework resources
Lightweight Framework Resource Guide
This Lightweight Framework Resource Guide covers the latest news on Ruby on Rails, GlassFish, Spring and Plain Old Java Objects (POJO).

Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails is a lightweight open source framework for the Ruby programming language. It is designed to facilitate agile methodology for rapid development.

Spring
Spring is a Java application development framework designed to ease programming in J2EE. It incorporates layering, a lightweight container, and the ability to program on an interface.

Apache Struts
Apache Struts is an open source Java application development framework. Struts includes a response handler, and request handler, and a tag library.

Symfony
Symfony is an open source application development framework for PHP, a popular language for creating Web sites. Symfony is aimed at building robust applications in an enterprise context.

Django
Django is an open source application development framework for Python. Django was designed to help developers meet the deadlines of a newsroom and the requirements of experienced Web developers who maintain that newsroom.

This was first published in December 2009

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