Thanks in large part to the popularity of the open-source model, companies of all shapes and sizes have access to technologies that would have cost six and seven figures to develop in-house a half a decade ago.
From high-performance data stores to countless software libraries, there are plenty of open-source technologies that make building a sophisticated web-based service far less costly and time-consuming than it would have been.
But open source's popularity hasn't just been a boon for the back-end, it's also making big contributions on the front-end thanks to the increasing popularity of high-quality open source front-end frameworks.
Here are five worth kicking the tires on.
This popular responsive front-end framework is arguably Bootstrap's biggest competitor. Created by product design shop ZURB and like Bootstrap, Foundation includes a 12-column flexible grid. It's mobile-friendly, comes packaged with dozens of pre-built styles and has a number of add-ons, including icon fonts, responsive tables and SVG-based social icons.
A mobile-first front-end framework, the Responsive Grid System was built by a web designer who wanted "a simple fluid grid system without the bloat." There are separate 12, 16 and 24-column versions and unlike some of the other frameworks mentioned here, the Responsive Grid System comes with few extras, making it worth a look for those seek a lighter foundation on which to build.
This SASS-based HTML5 framework features a grid builder, CSS3 mixins and a number of built-in styles. Like the Responsive Grid System, Gravity is designed to be on the lighter end of the framework spectrum.