Researching New Web Tools

Posted on

I’ve been spec’ing out this app idea off and on for a few months. At first I was going to do it on the Mac, but, as time passed, I decided to make it a web app in the newer style instead. Not a “present form, hit submit, view results” kind of thing, but something that is always saving and receiving messages from the server — very dynamic.

I’m actually blessed that there are a number of great web tools, libraries, and frameworks to choose from these days. One great overview I read last night was Rich JavaScript Applications – the Seven Frameworks by Steven Sanderson. It does a great job listing and categorizing some of the more popular choices out there. New to me on the list was Meteor, and I consider its video a must-see.

I’m still getting my head around many of these things. My general battle plan is to continue reading and playing with the example code of my CoffeeScript book (which also has some basic jQuery and NodeJS stuff), and then work through some of the various implementations of TodoMVC to see what tech speaks to me.


TodoMVC is a project that offers the same Todo application implemented using MV* concepts in most of the popular JavaScript MV* frameworks of today. These frameworks include Backbone, Ember, AngularJS, and Spine, to name a few. TodoMVC offers a great way to see how different stacks approach the same problem.

Other tools that are relevant to my cause and look promising include:


Ace is a standalone code editor written in JavaScript. Our goal is to create a web-based code editor that matches and extends the features, usability, and performance of existing native editors such as TextMate, Vim, or Eclipse. It can be easily embedded in any web page and JavaScript application. Ace is developed as the primary editor for Cloud9 IDE and the successor of the Mozilla Skywriter (Bespin) Project.


ShareJS is an Operational Transform library for NodeJS & browsers. It lets you easily do live concurrent editing in your app.

While I personally have a lot of Rails experience, I’m not going to shy away from NodeJS and other solutions. I almost welcome the opportunity to try something new these days. I’m also very excited to see that the NodePhilly group has gotten off the ground — I hope to make the next meeting in September.