The developers working on the next generation of the European Commission’s websites (ec.europa.eu) and closely related web applications and web services recommend the use of modern software build tools based on open source and open standards.
At Digitec 2017, an internal IT conference for the European institutions that took place in Luxembourg in October, a group of software developers working for the Commission - known internally as the INNO Team - showcased their use of modern build tools. Examples include markup languages and data structuring tools such as Markdown, YAML and JSON, HTML5 and CSS3 and the GIT code repository.
The modern development tool chain facilitates the reuse of data and components, with a focus on lightweight applications, rapid prototypes and innovation, the developers explain.
All of these components and tools are collected in the Europa Component Library, itself published as open source using the EU’s open source licence (EUPL). “The library makes it easy to create all kind of applications, from websites to webapps, reusing and combining existing components,” said Wesley Deglise, one of the INNO team members.
The open source build tools offer best performance and fast deployment at low cost, Deglise says. Static sites and assets are easy to deploy and take little time to load, benefiting site visitors and app users. In addition, this lowers the cost of hosting. “Hosting static assets is much cheaper, since it does not require databases such as MySQL, scripting languages like PHP or other dynamic components,” Deglise said.