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Use of Open Source components in Abeo. Who we are?. Abeo is the result of the merger between ConsultIT and eScienza Consulting company for systems development and advisory at several levels in the IT-industry Ca 50 employees Ca 55 mill. NOK turnover

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who we are
Who we are?
  • Abeo is the result of the merger between ConsultIT and eScienza
  • Consulting company for systems development and advisory at several levels in the IT-industry
  • Ca 50 employees
  • Ca 55 mill. NOK turnover
  • Offices in Trondheim (headquarters) and Oslo
types of systems development in abeo
Types of systems development in Abeo
  • We work with systems development in several ways
    • Develop and deliver complete projects by contract to customers
    • Participate in customer driven projects as extra resources or specialists
    • Participate in customer driven projects as advisors
    • Have no product development of our own
    • Use both Open Source-components and commercial components, depending on suitability and customer preference.
motivation for use of open source products
Motivation for use of Open Source products
  • As we do not have our own products, Open Source products can function as our toolbox, which we can bring into projects to deliver faster and at a lower cost.
  • For the customer, we can assume the responsibility for delivering a problem free solution ourselves, rather than blaming problems on a third party – since we have full access to the source code and can correct problems ourselves.
  • Open Source-products are usually driven by technical needs, and therefore have a tendency to suit us well as technicians.
  • Our competence in Open Source products can also be of interest for those of our customers wishing to start using Open Source-products internally.
experience with open source products
Experience with Open Source products
  • Open Source build environment for Java
    • There is a set of tools that is the de facto standard in Open Source environments for java-projects
      • Ant – building tool
      • Xdoclet – code generating tool
      • Middlegen – code generating tool
      • Cruisecontrol – continuous building tool
  • Open Source based test tool
      • JUnit – unit testing tool
  • Experiences
    • The tools often require some effort before you really can start developing, and you should not be weary of editing for example XML-files, the interfaces are often text-based and command-line based.
    • The tools work very well, have a lot of functionality and lots of add-on tools which provide extra functionality usually exists.
experiences with runtime environment components
Experiences with runtime environment components
  • JBoss
    • J2EE application server
    • Supports the standards very well
  • PostgreSQL
    • Database-server
    • Easy to integrate with other components (for example JBoss)
  • OpenLDAP
    • Directory server
  • Experiences
    • The Open Source-products we have used function very well as a development platform, we save licensing costs, and we are sure to avoid being tied to a particular commercial platform by using non-standard features.
    • Our experiences with using Open Source products in production have also been very good.
    • Newer technologies, such as webservices, are not that well supported.
    • Good tools for development, maintenance and debugging.
experiences with components
Experiences with components
  • Lucene
    • Free-text search engine
  • Struts and Velocity
    • Framework for development of web systems
  • Log4J
    • Log system
    • Simple to use, simple to learn, simple to expand
  • Experiences
    • Our experiences with using Open Source components in solutions have been good.
    • It is usually easy to integrate the components with the rest of the solution.
    • Many of the components provide more functionality than what is needed, and planned for. However, this extra functionality often proves useful and is used later in the project. If we had made the components ourselves, we would end up using extra time to develop our own mechanisms to provide the similar functionality.
    • Many of the components require a bit more effort to understand.
    • Easy to extend with our own functionality – access to the source code has been key here!
    • Some problems can be difficult to solve, access to the source code to see what is really happening has been very useful.
challenges in using open source components
Challenges in using Open Source components
  • Difficult to survey the market effectively
    • Many components to choose from
    • Not easy to know which components actually work well
  • Can be difficult to understand and make work
    • Limited documentation
    • Practically no access to courses/training
  • Upgrading can be difficult
    • No guarantee/security that new versions are backwards compatible, the threshold for breaking compatibility is lower than with commercial products.
    • Many products are dependent on other products, this can be difficult to sort out, especially during upgrades
  • Error messages and documentation can be lacking, it is a benefit not to be weary of reading source code
  • Important to be aware of the licensing terms for the Open Source components you use.