2014’s Most Useful Web Tools

Here is a list of the most useful web tools of 2014 covers everything from creating charts to making your computer screen a little easier on the eyes. Of course this is not a comprehensive list, but these may be useful for you in the future so give them a try:

Infogram — useful for: great visuals

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The easiest way to generate sharp, modern and responsive graphs, charts and infographics. The learning curve is minimal, with almost everything you’re going to want presented in simple, user-friendly menus. It’s free to use, but a pro account allows you to hook up real-time data and share privately.

YouTube Music Key — useful for: easy music discovery

YouTube has long been a great platform for discovering new music and listening to rare and obscure recordings. Now that the company is branching out into the subscription service market, it has organized its deep libraries of music like never before. And since you’ve already probably enjoyed some music on YouTube, it has a personal mix ready to go from the jump. You don’t even really need Music Key, as the “music” tab on YouTube’s homepage is already showing improvements.

Inbox — useful for: messy emailers

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Google’s Inbox isn’t the most innovative thing of 2014 (plenty of people have pointed out that it uses a lot of features developed by other sites), but Google does it as good as anyone. If you’re already a Gmail user and can snag an invite, this new version of the email inbox can help even the laziest emailer organize their digital correspondence quickly.

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Best Web Development Tools of the Year

The web has certainly come a very long way in last few years. We have technologies and tools that have changed the way we develop web apps. As the technology keeps evolving, we will see more improvements in the coming year. Here are some of these tools:

ECMAScript6

ES6 is the future of JavaScript and is going to bring many new features. The good news is that the feature set of ES6 is already frozen and browsers have already started implementing the features. Tools like Traceur already allow you to write code in ES6 and then transpile it to ES5 so that it works in Today’s browsers. Furthermore frameworks like AngularJS and Ember are going to target ES6 in future releases.

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AngularJS 2.0

Google’s AngularJS is one of the popular frameworks for developing Single Page Apps. The good news is that AngularJS 2.0 is under development and this time it’s more powerful, better and faster. As Durandal, another popular SPA framework, is converging into AngularJS the combo is definitely going to make an impact. AngularJS 2.0 is also going to target ECMAScript 6 which means your JavaScript code is going to be future proof.

React

React, the UI library by Facebook, is a great tool for developing User Interfaces. As you may be aware there are certain challenges involved in running Single Page Apps. The major one is SEO. But this can be solved by creating isomorphic apps. One of the best things about React is that it can render on both client and server which makes it an excellent choice for creating isomorphic apps. React, when used with Flux pattern, is definitely a bliss for developers. Popular websites like Facebook, Instagram, Khan Academy, New York Times and many more are using React.

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Web Tools in 2015

Web development has been revolutionized in the past few years, thanks to a bunch of new web tools that continuously evolve to make our lives easier. Here are technologies that are going to be more popular in the upcoming year and see heavy demand in coming days:

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Meteor is an open source platform for creating realtime JavaScript apps. One of the good things about Meteor is that you just build templates and the pages update whenever data in the database changes. So, you can say Meteor is something that can make your database (MongoDB) realtime. Meteor Development Group has also secured $11.2 million in funding which is definitely great for an open source project.

Ionic is a platform that lets you create cross platform mobile apps using web technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript. Although Ionic is still in beta, developers have been actively using it to build mobile apps. It’s one of the tools that has drastically changed the way we build mobile apps. With Ionic, anyone with front end development knowledge can start creating smartphone apps.

Dart is an open source project by Google which aims to simplify web development. It can run on the web and server. Lately Dart has been getting developers’ attention and it has been ported to AngularJS too.

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Firebase lets you sync and store data in realtime. It has binding for all popular programming languages and client side MV* frameworks. As we are seeing more and more JavaScript based apps, Firebase is definitely going to be a popular solution for realtime backend.

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ReactJS

React is a JavaScript library developed by Facebook and Instagram team, for building user interfaces. The entire front-end of Instagram web site and some parts of the Facebook web site was built with ReactJS.

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React was built to solve one problem: building large applications with data that changes over time. To do this, React uses two main ideas.

Simple

Simply express how your app should look at any given point in time, and React will automatically manage all UI updates when your underlying data changes.

Declarative

When the data changes, React conceptually hits the “refresh” button, and knows to only update the changed parts.

Interestingly, you can use ReactJS with other front-end frameworks such as AngularJS and EmberJS. You can use ReactJS as the view layer along with an MVC framework. When most of the SPA frameworks are living with traditional MVC paradigm, ReactJS provides a different approach for building UI on the client-side. ReactJS introduces Virtual DOM, which is awesome part of the ReactJS library and it enables high performance for the rendering the UI. ReactJS provides better performance for the UI rendering than MVC frameworks such as AngularJS and EmberJS.

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You can build re-usable UI components with the Virtual DOM abstraction and later we can compose these components on the actual DOM. Virtual DOM lets you use React for building UIs outside the browser. For an example, React team at Facebook, building an Objective C bridge for building UIs on iOS apps. For scaling front-end apps, we can use Flux architecture with React, which is basically set of architecture practices, that provides data flows in a single direction. React is highly recommend for building user interfaces.

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Web Tools for Online Newspapers

The innovations of the internet and web-based tools have ushered in a new era for journalism and news writing. Now, anyone can write a post about anything and some even blow up worldwide ad become ‘viral’. The new era for social media has been ushered.

Scribd
Scribd

For educators, if you want to add a sense of achievement and to showcase what you have been working on diligently with your students, a digital newspaper would be your perfect solution. This paper can include different contributions from your students and from you as well. Encourage students to share their writing pieces, create videos and share the links or any other multimodal activity. There is nothing as rewarding for students as seeing their work published and shared with others.

This is very important forrecent news because one is simply a click away from news about human rights violations, the Vietnam comfort women, gender equality and other news to date. Some reports are even cited to personal accounts of what happened. In today’s world, it just takes seconds for the world to see what is happening even if you are in the far reaches of the globe.

Issuu

To create a newspaper using Issuu , all you need to do is upload the content of your news paper into Issuu and choose the template you like and there you go. The tool is free and requires a sign up.

Scribd

This is another popular web tool to use for publishing your class digital magazine. It works the same way as  Issuu and  it also requires a sign-up.

Zinepal

This tools lets you create an ebook or magazine from posts and articles of a blog. Just paste in the url of the story and Zinepal does the rest.

Fodey

This one here is very simple and easy to use. Just type in the content of your newspaper and Fodey automatically generates it into a newspaper like format.

Fodey
Fodey

Paper.li
This is only good if you use Twitter in your teaching. It is a fantastic site to turn Twitter into an online readable magazine.

Of course, there are more web tools you can use, it is not limited to these.

Images from topapps.net and edshelf.com