Open Source Tools to Increase Code Quality and Team Productivity

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Open Source Tools to Increase Code Quality and Team Productivity

Projects are demanding faster time-to-delivery to meet time-to market needs. Here are some open source tools that can enhance quality and accelerate delivery.

· Open Source Zone ·
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Project teams are often faced with challenges maximizing value from diverse toolsets usage in the projects. Defining processes to the projects with access to tools at the right time and the right place is critical to maximizing the productivity of the project.

 Projects are demanding faster time-to-delivery to meet time-to-market needs. The push is for lower development costs without compromising on code quality and delivery timelines. Open-source tools that are well established and proven to add value are an alternative to enhance code quality and accelerate the time-to-delivery.

Project teams spend a significant amount of their time and effort in manual activities such as rework for fixing common code issues, enforcing quality standards, code reviews, testing, and handling performance issues. There is a need to create awareness in project teams to effectively use tools to take pro-active steps for improving code quality and to automate manual activities. 

Open-source tools that can help in significantly enhancing code quality and productivity by inculcating best practices through static code analysis, configuration management, build and continuous integration.

 The common set of tools, predominantly open-source, to promote the usage of tools to improve the overall quality and productivity in application development and maintenance engagements.

 The Open Source tools address the following common issues associated with software development:

  • Lack of central source control repositories and proper version control
  • Poor coding and commenting practices; No code documentation
  • Build issues detected too late; Often, when system testing is initiated
  • Lack of clearly defined development and testing standards and tools
  • Focus on manual testing. Not much support for building unit test cases and automated testing
  • Lack of code coverage analysis to detect dead code and un-tested code segments
  • Minimal focus on non-functional testing; Lack of load testing, memory profiling, and performance analysis awareness and competency
  • Poor visibility of development issues
  • Lack of proper communication among development and test teams
  • Manual effort in building reports and dashboards for Customer communication

Paradigm Shift from Commercial to Open Source:

Currently, Organizations are known to prefer only commercial software for software development. Over the years, open-source software from Apache, Red Hat, Google, and Source forge has become robust and gained acceptance at many enterprises. There is a paradigm shift now in enterprises from commercial to open source tools for overall productivity gains and better TCO.

open source tools vs commerical tools

The following are recommended open-source tools  to increase code quality and team productivity: 

ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)

  • Tuleap: Open Source project management system for managing application lifecycles, Agile development, and design projects, V-model, Requirement Management, IT Services Management from Enalean. Tuleap is an enterprise alternative solution to proprietary tools like CollabNet, Jira, and Confluence, Crucible.

Configuration Management 

  • Subversion: Open Source version control system founded in 2000 by CollabNet. Developers use Subversion to maintain current and historical versions of files such as source code, web pages, and documentation.
  • GIT: Open Source distributed version control system for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. Git was created by Linus Torvalds in 2005 for development of the Linux kernel, with other kernel developers contributing to its initial development

Build Management 

  • Maven for Large projects: Primary goal is to allow a developer to comprehend the complete state of a development effort in the shortest period.
  • Ant for Smaller projects: Java library and command-line tool whose mission is to drive processes described in build files as targets and extension points dependent upon each other. The main known usage of Ant is the build of Java applications. Ant supplies many built-in tasks allowing it to compile, assemble, test, and run Java applications. Ant can also be used effectively to build non-Java applications, for instance, C or C++ applications

Code Quality 

  • PMD: Static rule set based Java source code analyzer that identifies potential problems.
  • CheckStyle: Development tool that helps programmers adhere to the Java coding standard and is ideal for Java projects to enforce a coding standard
  • FindBugs: Static analysis to inspect Java byte code for occurrences of bug patterns. Static analysis means can find bugs by inspecting a program's code: executing the program is not necessary.
  • SonarQube using Developer IDE and a centralized Sonar Server: Open source software quality platform uses various static code analysis tools such as CheckStyle, PMD, FindBugs to extract software metrics, which then can be used to improve software quality.

 Unit Testing 

  • JUnit for Unit Test Cases Preparation: Open Source Java testing framework used to write and run repeatable automated tests. It is an instance of the xUnit architecture for unit testing framework.
  • EclEmma for Code Coverage Analysis: Open Source Java code coverage tool for Eclipse, available under the Eclipse Public License. It brings code coverage analysis directly into the Eclipse workbench.
  • eCobertura for Code Coverage Analysis: Open Source Eclipse plug-in for Cobertura - a Java code coverage reporting tool. eCobertura enables you to launch your applications or tests in Cobertura-covered mode directly from within Eclipse. View source files colored according to the coverage results. Browse through the detailed coverage results in a tree view 

By using the above Open Source tools adoption in developers IDE’s as plug-ins. The quality of the code improves to avoid duplicate code and monitors code complexity, which leads to transparency of code to the development team. Using unit testing and coverage tools helps developers to do black-box testing efficiently. Using the above tools projects can see the benefit of quality improvement by 15-20% and productivity by 10-15% to avoid manual code quality checks. All the Application Lifecycle management tools help the project teams to track the tasks end-end traceability that helps the management to track the project activities seamlessly.

open source tools

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