Platforms for Developing Open Educational Software

Below is just a basic list of what software tools are popular now for creating various types of applications. I only post it because it changes from year to year and not everyone keeps up with this kind of stuff. I was also interested to see how well the Java platform could serve as an all-purpose open source stack for developing all kinds of educational software. It’s not always the best or most popular solution for some types of applications, but it does have the widest presence overall. Of course Sun, which controls Java, is being bought out by Oracle, which may have an impact on some of the below options (like perhaps project wonderland or javafx). I have nothing against .NET either (and esp. its open source clone, Mono). In fact for a good while I was the 2nd most active contributor to the Boo programming language and compiler that ran on the .NET/Mono CLR platform. But the fact that it still can’t do browser applets is a big strike against it for my purposes of creating educational software. Silverlight (and open source clone Moonlight) are making progress but still not there. Flash/Flex and Java are still the two best options there (with HTML5/Canvas being another up and comer). Google’s Java-like platform (such as Android) is becoming more dominant as well. They just released O3D, a new 3D multi-user browser plugin, replacing their earlier discontinued Lively tool. However it only runs on Windows and Mac and is still in early development. If they released a browser plugin for running Android applications they’d almost have the total stack as well, but I have a feeling Sun/Oracle wouldn’t be happy about that.

I didn’t have time to hyperlink everything – you can google to see the various tools in more detail.

  • Learning Management Systems
    • Moodle (PHP)
    • Sakai (Java)
  • Web-based application frameworks
    • Rails (ruby)
    • Grails (groovy)
    • Turbogears, etc. (Python)
    • Cake, Symfony, etc. (PHP)
    • JSP, Struts, Velocity, Tomcat, etc. (java)
    • ASP.Net (.NET/Mono)
  • Cloud computing services
    • Google Appengine (Python, Java)
    • Amazon EC2
    • Sun cloud
  • Content management systems
    • Drupal (PHP)
    • Joomla (PHP)
    • Plone (Python)
    • DotNetNuke (C#, .NET/Mono)
  • Browser-based Ajax/Javascript frameworks
    • GWT
    • JQuery
    • Mootools
  • Browser applets
    • Flash/Flex
    • JavaFX, Java
    • Silverlight (.NET) Moonlight (Mono)
  • 3D multi-user virtual worlds
    • Second Life / OpenSim (.NET/Mono)
    • Project Wonderland (Java)
    • Croquet (squeak/smalltalk)
    • O3D (Javascript, new from Google)
  • 3D games
    • Java – JMonkeyEngine, JOGL, LWJGL, etc.
    • C/C++
    • .NET – XNA
  • 2D games/simulations
    • Netlogo, Starlogo, Repast (Java)
    • Pulpcore (Java)
    • Processing (Java)
    • PyGame (Python)
  • Cell phone applications
    • Android (uses java-like language and runtime by google)
    • iPhone (apple)
    • JavaFX mobile
    • Java ME
  • Desktop applications
    • .Net/Mono System.Windows.Forms
    • Java Swing
    • C/C++ – GTK, QT
    • Python – PyGTK, wxPython, etc.
Posted in development, java, opensource

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