Programming Languages of the Web

Open source software and web development are closely related to one another. Why? If you write a web application, anyone who receives the final product will see all of your source code without any hindrance (except PHP at some cases, but obscuring your PHP web application’s source code is way tedious and clients won’t like it). Therefore, it’s common for the open source community to develop a lot of web applications as well as plugins for popular open source CMS or web apps like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Therefore, if you want to be a part of the open source community, programming the web is a great first step.

Now, we know that the web development niche is full of open source folks so we would want to start getting into it. In order to be a web developer, you need to learn the programming languages of the web. Let’s get started.

web development


The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the very first step that everyone makes towards web development. It’s the core of webpages, the backbone of any other web language. HTML is used to define the structure of a webpage. It’s a relatively easy language to learn and most of the time, learning HTML is accompanied by CSS and JavaScript, which we’ll tackle next.


Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) is usually called the twin of HTML. HTML is for structure and CSS is for design. Using CSS, we can define how our webpages look and we must have HTML first before we can use CSS to define the design. Like HTML, CSS is quite easy to learn, but to be more accurate, let’s say it’s one level above HTML in terms of difficulty. Nonetheless, HTML and CSS should be learned side-by-side.


Not to be confused with Java, JavaScript or JS for short adds interactivity to your webpages. JavaScript is the hardest one to learn of the three because this follows programming logic. You’ll have to learn variables, arrays, functions and others. But don’t worry, learning JavaScript is easier than learning C++ (or similar programming languages). Now, it’s complete, we have the design, structure and interactivity. Once you have a good grasp of HTML and CSS, it’s generally a good idea to start learning JavaScript. With JavaScript, you can control both HTML and CSS and add different kinds of events, detect forms, create customized messages or add fanciness to your webpages.


After you are quite knowledgeable with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. PHP and MySQL goes hand in hand with one another and they will allow you to build complex web applications. They could take some time to learn, but if you get a good grasp of them, you can confidently indicate in your resume that you are a web developer. PHP is about the logic execution while MySQL is about database/data storage and retrieving.

The first three languages, HTML, CSS and JS are front-end languages, which mainly focuses on what the end-users see. PHP and MySQL are backend languages and they focus on manipulating and processing information at the server-side, a place where the end users can’t see. In order to develop a fully interactive web application that can let users register and interact with one another, you need to have the knowledge of those five languages. A simple about page only needs HTML and CSS, probably a JavaScript for additional interactivity.

Learning web development is a step-by-step procedure. First, HTML and CSS, then mix JS. After that, start with PHP & MySQL and finally, try to build a simple web application to expand your experience and knowledge. When you finally get them all, you’re going to want to get a decent web server to make sure that you can showcase your work to the world.

Popular Open Source Web Applications

What are the most popular open source web applications? If you are a web developer or a web designer or someone who wants to learn how the web works, knowing some of the popular open source web applications can greatly benefit you. On the other hand, if you want an open source solution for your web project, then knowing some of the best open source web apps could help you choose which one you’ll get.

It’s true that there are thousands of open source web applications, but not all of them are equal. There are ones that excel in one thing but lacks in another, there are ones that does a mediocre job on everything and there are those who manage to provide a commercial level, and best of all, free. With those things in mind, let us discuss some of the most popular open source web applications today.



No doubt, this is the king of open source web application. It’s a fully pledged content management system that evolved from a simple publishing tool. As of this writing, WordPress powers almost half of the internet, from large companies like CNN, TED, and BBC to small bloggers and site owners. Starting in 2009, it became the most popular CMS and also the most powerful. One of the reasons why WordPress became the most powerful CMS is because of its flexibility and extensibility. With its wide array of plugins and themes, a simple user who wants to setup a blogging platform can easily add additional features.


This is another popular content management system, an award winning platform use by many. Joomla allows you to build powerful websites and web applications. Like WordPress, it also has a wide array of extensions and templates to choose from. Joomla was first conceived in 2000 and with its steadily growing community of users and developers, there’s no doubt it can go a long way.


If you want to build an ecommerce website, you can choose osCommerce. Like Joomla, it was also released in year 2000, and it is deeply committed to open source software. With 260,000 active users and developers, osCommerce is one of the solid e-commerce platform to choose.


If you are looking for a fully pledged, multipurpose, integrated image gallery script, Coppermine is the best solution for you. This web application is written using PHP that supports GD or ImageMagick as image library and uses the MySQL backend. Though major updates are a rarity nowadays, there are still a lot of security and minor fixes released on a regular basis.


A free flat-forum BBS, phpBB was a very popular open source web application software on its early years, though it still remains a popular free forum software. Its source code is available on GitHub repository and is available for anyone to customize and improve.

Open Source Software and Free Software-What´s the Difference?

Both of these terms seem to mean the same thing but the truth is that they are not interchangeable.  Some say that the difference between these two is more philosophical than practical.  To others, there are fundamental differences between the two.  The term open source was coined back in 1997 as a substitute of “free software” because the term gave out the idea that since it was free, it was probably of low quality.

Let´s first try to find the definitions of these terms.  In our blog post, we defined open source as software that is distributed along with its source code.  This means that it can be used, studied, and modified to fit user’s convenience.  So what would free software be?  Technically speaking, free software is one that is available to the public free of charge.  All free software is open source but not all open source is actually free, at least according to the Free Software Movement.  There is, in fact, a term describing free and open-source software-FOSS.

Keep in mind that when defining free software, we are talking about freedom to use at own´s convenience, not price. This term must not be confused with freeware, which refers to available software at no monetary cost, but the source code has not been published.  Free software has an advocacy that supports the distribution of free software, especially the GNU Project, which authors some of the most popular free software out there.

When we define open source software, we must consider that the term stemmed from the advocates of free software.  The proponents of free software even call this term a marketing strategy in the name itself.   It was actually born as a response to help rise up the feelings that due to the collaboration aspect of free software and the potential to being improved, it is technically superior to propriety property.  This is when the open source movement was born.  In very simple terms, the movement placed emphasis on practicality, on having superior quality software that was free for all. This as opposed to the free software movement that made emphasis on the ethical or political aspects.

The Open Source Initiative came to formally approve licenses as open source.  To some, Open Source is just part of a marketing campaign for free software.  Interestingly, we find ourselves with a distinction that taps into the ethical and political aspects more than in any technical distinction.  They both have points that meet, which actually makes it more difficult for it to make any objective distinction between them.

To try to keep it simple and correct, and as stated before, all open source software is free software.  It is also true that there is open source software that is not free.  Some open source software is not completely free in rendering to tivoization.  This means that some open-source is completely free to modify, use, study, and distribute, except when there is an update on the software where it is being used.

The Free Software Movement and the Open Source Initiative are at odds only when it comes to ideology, which appears to be an important aspect to consider when dubbing a software as “free” or “open-sourced”.

Most Popular Open Source Software

Last time, we published a post about the meaning of open source. We learned that open source software is software that was released along with its source code and is mostly free. That attributes made open source software popular to the masses because they can alter the software to their liking if they have the skills for free! In addition to that, there are popular open source software that dominates its field and some that are almost a match to proprietary software that costs hundreds to thousands of dollars. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the most popular open source software today.


No doubt, WordPress is one of the most popular open source software when you want to start a website. Not only it’s free, its extensions and plugin selection comes with a great variety that is also free. There are hundreds to thousands of free themes available in the WordPress repository and thousands of free plugins too. It’s also easy to install, use and modify if you have the skills and there is a huge community to help you when you have problems.


Linux, as an inseparable unit with GNU programming as GNU/Linux, has progressed beyond anyone’s expectations since Linus Torvalds reported that he was making an OS kernel in view of Minix in 1991. Nowadays, a lion’s share of web servers run Linux, and with Ubuntu (see beneath) it is likewise (at long last) beginning to make advances into the desktop market, and possibly it will soon additionally be solid player in the mobile business sector with Android (which utilizes the Linux kernel).


A favorite browser for developers, Firefox is an open source software that is used by a lot of people all around the world. From students to professional programmers, Firefox offers a powerful way of navigating the World Wide Web and it comes with thousands of extensions to extend its functionalities. It also has themes to customize its looks and you can even fork Firefox itself to make your very own browser. The TOR browser is one popular Firefox fork that allows almost complete anonymity on the web.


A standout amongst the most prominent open source security applications, ClamAV has been consolidated into various items and has been called “the accepted standard for mail gateway scanning.” The core program works with UNIX-based systems, yet the site additionally offers data on Immunet, a ClamAV-based Windows solution that is accessible in both free and paid variants. Operating System: Linux, yet front-closes and extra forms are accessible for different OSes.

Aside from this list, there are thousands of free software available for use by anyone and can be easily found by using Google for searching. You can also visit GitHub and Source Forge to look for numerous open source apps.

What is Open Source?

If you are new to the world of development, then you might be wondering about the meaning of the word open source. For the untrained mind and common folks, open source might seem to mean that the software’s source code is open and that means it can be easily hacked or modified without permission. Another term about open source is that they are free software and that open source developers are those willing to give their talent for free. But the truth about open source is that it’s full of misconception. To understand fully what open source means, we have to know what really open source is.

Open Source – The Definition

The term open source means that a software is distributed along with its source code. That means that anyone can modify the software to his or her heart’s content depending upon its license. Open source software usually uses license from Creative Commons, which have different versions.

“Source code” is the piece of software that most computer users or end clients absolutely never see; it’s the code computer programmers can control to change how a bit of a program, software or application works. Programmers who have access to a computer program or application’s source code can enhance that program by adding features to it or removing bits that doesn’t work at all.

Why Open Source Is Popular?

Numerous individuals lean toward open source software in light of the fact that they have more control over that sort of software. They can inspect the code to verify that it’s not doing anything they don’t need it to do, and they can change parts of it they don’t like at all. Clients who aren’t programmers will have an advantage from open source software because they won’t have any restrictions from using the software. That means that they can use the software or application any way they like.

In addition to that, popular open source software tends to have their bug fixes done instantly because there are a lot of programmers around the world any time that can respond to a bug report and take initiative in fixing it.

And the most important part of it is that open source software is free most of the time. But there’s a catch.

So, Open Source is Free.

This is a typical misconception about what “open source” infers. Programmers can charge cash for the open source software they make or to which they contribute. But since most open source licenses oblige them to discharge their source code when they offer software to others, numerous open source software programmers find that charging clients cash for software administrations and installation is more lucrative. For example, the WordPress platform is open source but many programmers make figures just by helping clients customize their WordPress installation.