The InfoWorld Bossies are chosen annually by Test Center editors, analysts, and reviewers. The winners represent the best free and open source software we've used. In application development, our choices were spearheaded by contributing editors Rick Grehan and Martin Heller.
Got an open source favorite we missed? Please send us a note.
db4o began life as a Java database library, but its designers have since created parallel editions for the .NET languages. In 2005, db4o implemented Native Queries, which allow you to express queries as Java (or .NET) methods. Recent additions to the library include Transparent Update and Transparent Activation, which more completely automate object persistence. The engine itself deduces how much of a persistent object's members must be read from and written to storage, simplifying coding and providing better memory management. Also new in db4o is support for Microsoft LINQ.
Distributed version control has become a major need as development teams have become more geographically distributed. Originally the brainchild of Linus Torvalds and currently maintained by Junio Hamano, Git is the revision management tool of choice for several prominent open source projects, including the Linux kernel, X.org Server, One Laptop per Child (OLPC) core development, and the Ruby on Rails Web framework. The Git engine is at least an order of magnitude faster than other revision control systems for large projects, and it has strong support for branching and merging.
Web Client Library
HttpClient is an open-source Java HTTP client library begun in 2001. Formerly a component of Jakarta Commons, it is now being maintained by the HttpComponents project. Though there's nothing earth-shatteringly new about HttpClient, it is as useful as ever. Particularly helpful are property settings that let you configure HttpClient to dump detailed 'on the wire' data to System.out. If you're a Java programmer with a complex application staring at you, swing by the HttpClient-3.x site and you'll have your client application done in no time.