One of open source’s biggest contributions, Python, now powers countless technologies from robust websites to enterprise applications and even desktop utilities. With popular projects like OpenStack, OpenShot, and even the original BitTorrent using Python, it’s no wonder why the technology is ranked high up when it comes to open source development services.

Python is also one of the few languages that’s both easy to get started for software development beginners and a powerful tool for experts working on real-world projects. Most developers who work on large-scale projects with sophisticated code bases often use a combination of Python and its many useful IDEs.

That said, here are a few popular cross-platform Python IDEs that developers would find very useful.
 

Eclipse with PyDev

 
Possibly one of the most popular open source IDEs out there, Eclipse is backed by a large developer community and a plethora of customizable plugins. However, it still has some demerits according to many. Its performance in systems with low hardware specs is often criticized, and many others claim Eclipse is quite bloated.

Nevertheless, Eclipse is still the go-to IDE for developers who shifted from a different language, like Java. Eclipse can be augmented using PyDev, which adds a lot more features to the already useful IDE. PyDev can handle code completion, and can effectively integrate Python debugging.

PyDev is particularly useful for those involved with Django Python web framework, as it facilitates creation of new Django projects, and execute Django actions via hotkeys. It even enables the use of a separate run config for Django. Both PyDev and Eclipse are made available under the Eclipse Public License.
 

PyCharm

 
PyCharm is a popular commercial Python editor. Its makers also offer a free edition of PyCharm which is open source under the Apache 2.0 license. What makes it popular is the fact that it features everything expected from an IDE – code inspection, integrated code testing and version control, code refactoring, project navigational aspects, and even automated completion.

But not everything is good about this IDE as well. Its open core model is considered by many to be one of its flaws. The fact that many of its advanced features are not available under open source license can be a deal-breaker for many devs. Even without the advanced features, PyCharm is still considered as a great, lightweight Python editor.
 

Eric

 
A great alternative to PyCharm, Eric itself is written in Python using the Qt framework and is made available under the GPL version 3. The source code editing component of Eric is Scintilla which is also used in various other IDEs and editors.

The IDE packs many features similar to its counterparts including code completion, integrated testing, brace matching etc. Devs involved in Qt GUI development for applications will find Eric quite useful as it features a Qt form preview function. Eric’s massive documentation can be quite annoying, as most devs prefer not to go through the entire PDF. However, learning Eric inside out would give them a totally different perspective on the IDE. It’s still one of the best lightweight, full-featured programming environments available.
 

Conclusion

 
The list doesn’t include every best Python IDE there is. These are just our top picks that contribute to leveraging open source technologies effectively. There are still many more useful IDEs that could’ve made it to the list including BlueFish and Spyder. However, these IDEs and Editors can certainly be an asset to people using Python.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan

This article lists 5 handy open source tools that businesses can use for business intelligence and reporting purposes. Generally, companies rely on firms that provide open source development services to develop custom open source solutions to serve such purposes. But with the rapid growth of big data, there is also a rising demand for tools that could come in handy for enterprises – that which complement their existing enterprise solutions.

The tools mentioned in this article are all open source, providing solutions to having business data analyzed and presented in a readable format. The following list comprises of both business intelligence and reporting tools.
 

JasperReport

 
One of the most widely used open source technologies in the business world, JasperReport finds its use mostly in production environments. Community and commercially-supported versions are available.

The key components include JasperReport Library, JasperReport Studio, and JasperReport Server. The JasperReport Library includes all APIs and Java classes that power the tool. The tool licensed under AGPL also makes it easier to integrate with existing IT architecture of organizations. It features praiseworthy documentation support, a wiki, and other useful resources.
 

SpagoBI

 
SpagoBI is a full business intelligence suite providing many features from reporting to data mining and ETL. What makes SpagoBI unique is the fact that it supports integration with other tools including KeyRock identity manager, CKAN, Orion Context Broker etc. It’s written in Java and licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0.
 

BIRT

 
The open source Eclipse project was the source of origin for BIRT which was released in 2004. The open source platform sponsored by IBM, OpenText, and Innovent Solutions was designed to help create data visualizations and reports.

Its key components include BIRT runtime and report designer, chart engine, chart designer, and chart viewer. It’s also written in Java, licensed under the Eclipse Public License. BIRT runs on all popular platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac.
 

Seal Report

 
Seal Report allows one to generate reports and produce dashboards from any open database. Some of its many features also come with support for Dynamic SQL sources, HTML5 charts, native pivot tables etc. It’s written in C#.

The open source framework requires a recent version of Microsoft Windows to run, along with .NET framework. It’s licensed under the Apache License Version 2.0.
 

KNIME

 
KNIME is an open source analytics platform originally developed to serve pharmaceutical research. Now it’s a widely popular tool across many sectors including banking, automobile manufacturing, and telecommunication.

KNIME provides many features including a web portal and collaboration extensions, and also includes machine learning and WEKA support. The platform, licensed under the GPL, is written in Java and is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac.
 

Conclusion

 
Open source technologies generally have great importance when it comes to software development in the business realm. But it could be just as useful, if not more, in serving other purposes of enterprises especially in data analytics, business intelligence, and reporting.

All the tools mentioned above come with powerful features fit for enterprise use. However, the smarter approach to selecting a tool would be to compare them with respect to the business needs and goals. Because they are open source tools, it’s also possible to seek help from an open source development company to tweak the tool to adapt and align perfectly with your business.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan

Considering today’s fast-paced development cycles and cloud-boosted enterprise growth, businesses require firm and steady support from robust software that fits well within their environments. In light of such dynamic business ecosystems, forbidding open source technologies and relying solely on proprietary closed source software could be detrimental. Leveraging open source components efficiently can benefit enterprises in more ways than one with just a small investment.

One such benefit would be the competitive edge an enterprise can get; particularly startups. Despite prevalent security concerns about open source, several enterprises still rely on open source development services to craft custom software that can augment their operations and accelerate growth, and most of them succeed.

Why some are not succeeding even with the power of open source is a question that can be attributed to how they leverage the technology.

That said, here are a few best practices for enterprises to get maximum benefits from an investment in open source technologies.
 

Patch management

 
Even if it’s a custom-built software, an enterprise requires a centralized patch management framework. This ensures that patches from vendors are applied to the organization’s infrastructure on time and with efficiency. This is a security aspect that generally raises questions about open source software security.

Yes, the source code is available for all. But it doesn’t necessarily compromise the security of the software as long as the code isn’t made available for the public. The point is that many enterprises neglect certain security vulnerabilities such as the OpenSSL vulnerability. Developers can update components to fortify the software and augment the security. But ignoring vulnerabilities like the one mentioned above can delay updates considerably, giving room for cyber-criminals to infiltrate and cause damage.

That’s why organizations need to cultivate the ability to patch quickly and manage patches. Developers who know what they are doing would recommend cataloging the various open source components to keep track of them. So when a vulnerability is exploited somewhere, they can identify the applications that are at risk from the inventory, and fortify them with patches.
 

Prescribed policy for leveraging open source

 
The risk appetite of organizations vary based on their maturity and their targeted markets.  The organization should have a prescribed policy or a set of guidelines regarding how they will use open source software. Lacking such policies might lead the IT team to assume that they can use any open source component. This could, in turn, result in a product brimming with vulnerabilities, incompatible software licenses etc.
 

Controlled repositories

 
Optimized modern day IDEs make it possible for developers to get access to large open source libraries within their native environments. However, this may contradict an enterprise’s policies. Organizations can bar access to such repositories giving access only to approved software components.

Using commercial products that regulate and provide access to local cached versions of repositories is a good practice which allows the security team to closely monitor and control which components are included in the final product. Additionally, this practice also ensures that only approved components are used not other versions that may add potential vulnerabilities to the product.
 

Conclusion

 
Open source software development is not going to decelerate any time soon, and proves to be the catalyst that brings innovation into the mix in the modern enterprise. However, such widespread use also creates risks. The key is to understand open source components and formulate policies that ensure judicious utilization of the components. This could keep driving innovation without impacting security.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan

Open source keeps picking up the pace every year evidently. It was expected to boom as each year passed. Now we have reached a point where almost all applications feature some sort of open source element.

According to Gartner, an estimated 70% of newly deployed applications would be running on open source databases by 2018.

Integrating open source elements to an application enables developers to cut costs considerably and reduce time-to-market. The immediate future may add to the benefits, but because of technology’s metamorphic nature, the existing and established ways will be replaced with new ones.

Here are a few ways open source technologies can transform enterprises in the coming years.
 

Critical gaps in the model will become obsolete

 
Despite its unprecedented growth and the many benefits for developers, the open source model still has many critical gaps that haven’t been addressed yet. One of the most important of those gaps – collaboration, however, is being redressed. By 2018, experts expect seamless collaboration in software development and other sectors with multiple functionalities.

We already have collaborative platforms sporting functionalities like video conferencing, essentially allowing developers to form workgroups. A great example is GitHub.

But it isn’t just collaboration that needs to be addressed. There are obstacles for troubleshooting and technical support as well, more so than we think despite the huge open source community in the internet. Great technical support so far only applies to the more popular open source titles. This ‘hitch’ led to a new trend where open source software will be provided with commercially supported services. Though this can somewhat set things right, this particular gap is expected to be completely taken care of next year.
 

Security concerns will be addressed

 
This is something we’ve been hearing for a long time, ever since open source started gaining traction. Security has always been a concern since the source code of open source software is open and free. Because anyone can modify this code, vulnerabilities will most likely be present. This makes it particularly easy for hackers, and particularly threatening for enterprises wanting to use such software.

Things got more complicated after enterprises started shifting to the cloud while using open source software outside the company firewall. All hackers need to do is exploit those vulnerabilities to get access to the system from outside the firewall. This increases the risks of high impact cyber-attacks on profitable applications that enterprises use.

For the past few years, developers and security professionals have been paying close attention to this issue, while figuring out ways to implement effective security mechanisms and encryptions. 2017 increased the stakes. So we can expect some serious progress on this issue next year.
 

The Open Source – IoT compatibility

 
Open source established its authority as a preferred platform for the growing IoT. The application is primarily on the automobile industry. Although things look good at the moment with open source technologies being adopted by more businesses for IoT related applications this year, experts estimate that the sector will soon start to be plagued by the same concerns people have when it comes to general open source software.

2018 will be about exploring open source vulnerabilities in the IoT and sector, and hopefully coming up with effective solutions. That said, the automobile industry is certainly going digital and open source will definitely play a vital role in its evolution in the coming years.
 

The fate of existing open source technologies

 
Open source technologies have proved their worth in the form of stable and efficient infrastructure software as well. However, more cutting-edge closed software solutions have been coming out recently, offering considerably better services to customers. However, despite the odds, the open source community promises an immediate comeback in the sector. This could mean that enterprises will have far better options for infrastructure solutions next year that are well worth the investment.

The same can be said for Cloudera, another open source platform that’s gaining popularity along with Elastic. Though it’s still too early to say that these technologies will have a much bigger role in the coming years, they will nevertheless trigger the development of more efficient solutions – open source and otherwise. Other existing open source technologies like Drupal 8 is expected to evolve even further to give more flexibility to developers in future projects. This also applies to companies providing open source development services.

Collectively, everything seems to be indicating that there is no stopping the open source trend any time soon. It has grown larger this year, and shows no signs of stopping next year as well, unfolding lucrative prospects for enterprises and startups alike.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan

It’s great to get something for free…especially if that something is good. But this ‘free’ comes with a cost most often. Fortunately, we also live in a world full of open source technologies that haven’t failed to keep businesses on budget. You can find open source development services pretty much everywhere. But what sustains them is a plethora of free open source solutions.

Here are 5 of the most popular database software and open source DBM solutions that makes it worthwhile for businesses.
 

CUBRID

 
CUBRID is a free open source option that can be implemented in C, and specifically useful for web applications that process large amounts of data and generate just as many concurrent requests.

Key features include multiple granularity locking and auto-failover feature with 24/7 online web service. CUBRID also comes with a number of tools and drivers for PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, and JDBC. It also supports native DB sharding for scalability.

However, it is not compatible with Apple systems and also lacks script debugger.
 

MongoDB

 
Since its inception in 2007, MongoDB is probably the most popular open source solution at present with over 1000 partners backing it up. The document-oriented program uses JSON-like documents, and can be used to develop innovative, robust applications.

Key features include scalability, encrypted storage engine and document validation. MongoDB also reduces the time between primary failure and recovery, and can handle instantaneous queries over large data.

However, applications that require complex transactions doesn’t fit well with the program. There are no drop-in replacements for legacy applications either.
 

MySQL

 
It has been around since 1995, and comes as both free and paid versions. One of its biggest advantages is its compatibility with almost every popular operating system out there. Language is not a barrier for MySQL users, as the server can display error messages to clients in many languages.

Other advantages of MySQL include host-based verification, flexible privilege and password system, security encryption, support for JSON objects etc. It can be used even without a network. In client/server networks, it provides server as a separate program.

As Oracle now owns MySQL, it’s not community-driven anymore. It’s also known to get updates much slower than other similar systems.
 

SQLite

 
SQLite came out in 2000, and now claims to be one of the most widely deployed database in the world, affirmed by the fact that tech giants like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft use this.

Key advantages include cross-platform file format, ACID compliant transactions, and a compact library.

However, it’s not a good option for client/server applications, high volume websites, and large datasets.
 

Firebird

 
A relational database that’s been around since the 1980s, Firebird features a number of ANSI SQL standards. It can run on multiple popular operating systems including Windows, Linux, and a few UNIX platforms.

Its major advantages include Trace API for real-time monitoring, option to clean database, and free support through its large global community. Firebird supports SuperClassic, Classic, SuperServer, and Embedded architectures.

The cons include a lack of temporary tables and integration with other database systems, and integrated replication support.

Written by: Ajeesh Azhakesan
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