Developing Software Through Open Source Libraries for Beginners

July 20, 2021 – José Vazquez

Being a software engineer and/or a computer scientist both are top-grossing positions in the business environment (Top 100 Highest-Paying Jobs, The 20 Highest-Paying Jobs in the World, a diversity of software- and computer-related positions rank among the highest-paying jobs in the world), so it isn’t surprising that there is a boom in computer scientists and software engineers becoming entrepreneurs lately. As an entrepreneur, you are a risk-taker, but it will surprise you to know that there is excellent FREE open source software for you to develop new software and technologies!
Open-source software is any type of software to which its source code (the code the programmers wrote to develop the software) has been made publicly and freely available (source code tends to be private as it may contain company secrets or trademark content); this type of software has no, or very limited, copyright restrictions, giving you, the entrepreneur, the opportunity to develop, distribute, and commercialize your software applications.
In this blog post, I share what I consider to be the best open-source libraries and tools for beginners to develop all kinds of software:

1. TensorFlow

Top Use: Machine learning capabilities for your applications.
As artificial intelligence and machine learning have become one of the technologies with the most demand these past few years, the first recommendation is TensorFlow. TensorFlow is a Python-friendly open-source library that in itself contains tons of libraries and tools to make machine learning faster and easier.
To give you an idea, some of the most notable TensorFlow-powered projects are capable of “Helping doctors detect respiratory diseases with machine learning”, “Categorizing Airbnb listing photos”, or “Enabling medical staff to prescribe the right antibiotic”. But what I think is perfect for an entrepreneur like you is that TensorFlow is beginner-friendly.
Visit their official website here.

2. OpenCV

Top use: Computer vision technology capabilities for your applications.
An open-source software implementing computer vision. A library originally made in C++, but it has an implementation in Python (a more beginner-friendly programming language). Computer vision is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that takes information from digital imagery, analyzes that imagery, and can understand it.
Good examples of computer vision technology include face recognition, body/hand detection, eye tracking, object detection, and a lot more. With OpenCV, you can use this technology to develop your applications and the possibilities are virtually limitless. OpenCV is also beginner-friendly as they offer a variety of courses for beginners to learn to use the library. Examples of applications that use OpenCV are: surveillance cameras with face detection/recognition or weapon detection capabilities, background removal apps, an app for text and information extraction from an image, even some robotic projects that use OpenCV, and a variety of other applications and possibilities out there.
Visit their official website here.

3. Android Studio

Top use: Environment for Android phone application development.
Another field with high demand is mobile applications. Android Studio is Android’s official Integrated Development Environment (IDE, a software application with tools to program or develop other software), thus arguably the safest option out there to develop your android app.  Although Android Studio has a steep learning curve since it has an ample API (it has lots of libraries) and it requires some familiarity with Java, having such a powerful API is not necessarily bad. Android Studio’s ample API presents the user with diverse options to develop diverse android applications: from a simple map app, online shopping app, calculator app, restaurant menu display app, messaging app, to even a video game app (although developing video games in Android Studio is not too practical), and many others!
Visit their official website here.

4. Apache Cordova (previously PhoneGap)

Top use: Develop cross-platform apps with HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
Apache Cordova (previously known as PhoneGap), is a cross-platform application development framework. It is a framework for building cross-platform (be it an Android phone, Apple phone, or web) applications with HTML, CSS, and Javascript, so if you are aiming to become a full-stack developer, Apache Cordova will be straight-forward for you
Not only because of its versatility, but also Cordova’s stability makes it a great tool for developing cross-platform mobile applications. Although Cordova may be on the average side of the curve of app development, it gives enough accessibility for a beginner to start their project since Cordova’s learning curve is gentler than many other tools out there. With Cordova, you can develop apps such as a chess game app, pet-finder app, personal workout trainer app, and many more!
Visit their official website here.

5. Node.JS

Top use: Runtime environment to develop a robust web application.
Node.JS is a cross-platform, back-end Javascript runtime environment (compared to perhaps more familiar runtime environments such as Java Runtime Environment (JRE), Common Language Runtime (CLR) for .NET framework). Node.JS is a great tool when developing web applications, with features that help you develop a more robust web application. Since Javascript is listed as one of the best languages for beginners to learn, you should not have a hard time learning it if needed.
Considered one of the best tools for real-time web apps, Node.JS stands its ground with features that let developers handle databases, handle files on the server, collect form data and generate the dynamic page content. It is also a great tool for entrepreneurs to start their web application projects! Furthermore, since Node.JS is widely used, there are abundant tutorials and courses for you to take and expand your abilities as a web developer, like Codecademy, Udemy, or W3schools, and a diversity of Youtube content. Some applications examples that use Node.JS are streaming applications (Netflix uses Node.JS), E-learning platforms, social networking apps, online stores and marketplaces, and many more!
Visit their official website here.

6. Google Web Designer

Top use: Designing ad banners and responsive web components.
Sometimes you need to be versatile when creating your webpage, and sometimes even develop your designs. Google Web Designer can help you do just that. This open-source platform will help you create interactive HTML websites features and ad banners. Although it is famously known for making ad banners, there are a variety of other website components like clickable buttons and images, 360° gallery (for example: to display a car or a dress you’re selling that needs a 360° view), components to display audio and/or video, labels, sliders and many more! Although Google Web Designer leans towards average when it comes to creating a fully functional website, it will help you design most web components and create new responsive animations, and all of this while being free to use and you keep full propriety of your design (which is awesome).
Visit their official website here.
Open-source software is the perfect solution to creating new web applications and starting your own business not only because you will take full authority over your design, but as the blog has shown, most open-source software is greatly designed and can do wonders for your new company. As an entrepreneur, you are a risk-taker! However, you do not need to spend big bucks on a super platform, when there’s open-source software as good as what we have shown in this blog post! You can use your free resources to develop a great software or application that can give your new business the success it deserves!
Let us know what you think of this list and if you know of any other open-source libraries! Have you used any of these? Share your experience and tag us on our social media with #ReplyingPG.

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