10 interesting projects from Google Code

by Jean. 48 Comments -

I may not like how Google is building a monopoly on the internet, but, I have to admit that most of their services are useful. As developers, it is useful to know that Google hosts a lot of open source projects. Today, let’s have a look at the 10 most awesome projects hosted on Google code.

ZeroClipboard


Do you remember the old days of web development, when IE6 was the king? (ok, it sounds soooo bad now but if you were already building sites in 2002 you know what I’m talking about!) It was extremely easy to force copy to clipboard.
But, for obvious security concerns, Firefox doesn’t allow clipboard access by default. This is a good thing, but for some sites, being able to copy into clipboard is a must.

Using powerful Javascript and a .swf file, ZeroClipboard allow you copy information into the user clipboard. For a live demo, just have a look to my Coupons For Bloggers site.
» Visit ZeroClipboard

yourls


As a blogger, I know how important Twitter is to stay tuned with my readers and share my favorite links with them. But as you know, Twitter allows only 140 characters in messages. In order to create shorter urls, you can use a service like bit.ly or Tinyurl.com, or you can get yourls, and create your own service.

Yourls is built in PHP and is very easy to configure. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll probably be happy to know that yourls has its own WordPress plugin.
» Visit Yourls

Minify


I know I already talked about Minify in a previous article, but I simply cannot resist to spread the word about this very cool piece of code.
Minify is extremely simple to install and will combine, minify, and cache JavaScript and CSS files on demand to speed up page loading.

Installing minify is extremely easy: you just have to upload a directory to your site document root and Minify will start to speed up your blog. Wonderful, isn’t it?
» Visit Minify

Thematic


Being a WordPress fan, I really love the concept of Theme frameworks. For those who doesn’t know what it is, Theme frameworks are WordPress themes which contain lots of functions and styles. You can extend both in looks and functionality by adding a child theme.
For example, my other blog Cats Who Blog is using the Thesis theme framework that I extended using my own styles and functions.

Many commercial frameworks are availables, but Thematic is 100% free. A definitive must download if you’re into WordPress!
» Visit Thematic

Flexlib


As you may guess, Flexlib is an open source Adobe Flex library. It provides lots of components that you can freely use in your Flex or Air projects.
The currently available components include: AdvancedForm, Base64Image, EnhancedButtonSkin, CanvasButton, ConvertibleTreeList, Draggable Slider, Fire, Highlighter, HorizontalAxisDataSelector IconLoader, ImageMap, PromptingTextArea, PromptingTextInput, Scrollable Menu Controls, SuperTabNavigator, Alternative Scrolling Canvases, Horizontal Accordion, TreeGrid, FlowBox, Docking ToolBar, and Flex Scheduling Framework.
» Visit Flexlib

Zen Coding


As a web developer, I often find it frustrating having to type lots of tags and attributes to reach the desired result. HTML tags are necessary of course, but that doesn’t mean it should consume so much typing.
This may be the idea Sergey Chikuyonok before he started to develop Zen Coding. What is Zen Coding? It is a handy set of tools for high-speed HTML and CSS coding. It integrate in your favorite text editor and then provide functions and shortcuts to speed up your development.

As an example, if you type this:

div#content>h1+p

You’ll get the following output:

<div id="content">
<h1></h1>
<p></p>
</div>

If you want to know more about Zen Coding, Smashing Magazine has a nice article about it.
» Visit Zen Coding

Sexybuttons


On the internet, design matters. Some people are good for designing, some, like me, aren’t. Happilly, those who aren’t designers (or who are bad designers!!) should take advantage of projects like this one.
Sexybuttons is a small CSS framework that allow you to instantanely create gorgeous buttons for your blog, websites and web apps. If you like CSS buttons, don’t forget to have a look to my Top 10 CSS buttons tutorial list.
» Visit Sexybuttons

jQuery transmit


Who doesn’t like jQuery? This very handy Javascript framework allows developers to enhance both the design and usability of your website. Thanks to plugins, jQuery can be easily enhanced with the functionalities you need. There’s a bunch of very cool jQuery plugins available from Google code so it was very hard to choose one. However, file upload has always been a major problem in web development and this jQuery plugin will be extremely helpful.

Using jQuery transmit is incredibely easy :

$(document).ready(function() {
    var options = {
        allowedFileTypes: [{
            description: "Images",
            extensions: "*.jpg; *.gif; *.png"
        }]
    };

    $("#transmit").transmit("http://mysite.com/upload/", options);
})

» Visit jQuery Transmit

dompdf : Convert HTML to PDF using PHP


The PDF format is useful for many thing such as invoices, and is largely used in business. dompdf is an advanced HTML to PDF converted which can download and read external stylesheets, inline style tags, and the style attributes of individual HTML elements. It also supports most presentational HTML attributes.
» Visit dompdf

stop-spam


Spam is definitely a big problem for blogs and websites. Although it is still impossible to completely prevent spam, some tools can help you a lot to fight it.
Stop-spam is one of those tools. It is lightweight, compatible with all blogs and forums (WordPress, PhpBB, Movable Type, etc) and easy to install. It automatically blacklists well known domains and IPs used by spammers. Of course, you can edit lists to blacklist/whitelist to add more domains and IPs.
» Visit stop-spam

Any other you’d like to mention? Don’t hesitate to let me know in a comment!

Comments (48) - Leave yours

  1. Kurt said:

    don’t forget webkitpdf.
    http://code.google.com/p/wkhtmltopdf/

    it’s an almost perfect solution to convert your html to pdf.

    regards, k.

  2. Jared said:

    When I went to that coupons for bloggers site, Mcafee popped up saying it detected a virus. It was a trojan that was detected as, Exploit-InvCSS. Just want to let you know. I don’t know if the site has a virus or what. But you should be aware.

  3. djavu said:

    I did some Project with Flexlib. They have some nice components but if you look for some advanced scheduling features you should look for other librairies (iLog Elixir, not free for commercial use) or you should be motivated to continue developping Flexlib’s scheduler.

    Btw nice article

  4. James Pasion said:

    The thing about Zen Coding is, at first, it might seem like more effort. Considering you have to remember new things (or learn a new way of doing things, I should say). But after a day or two you’re wondering how this couldn’t have come sooner! Zen Coding is awesome.

  5. Jared said:

    Oh okay :iu) Just making sure it wasn’t something more serious, though I knew it wasn’t. I usually hear “virus” and go hunting for it, and download it just for the fun of removing it. lol I get bored I guess.

    Nice post though btw. Some really useful stuff here. :D

  6. ichramm said:

    Well, this article was very good, but I think you should choose another name because you are talking about “10 interesting WEB projects from Google Code”

  7. Around the WordPress Community: Plugin Tips, Weather Reports, Google Maps, and Google Code | WordCast - Blogging news, WordPress help, WordPress plugins, WordPress themes, WordPress news said:

    [...] Cats Who Code – 10 Interesting Projects From Google Code: Jean-Baptiste Jung highlighted some interesting projects from the popular Google Code project, open source projects sponsored by Google. WordPress has been involved since nearly the start of Google’s Summer of Code, so it’s not surprising to see Jung’s list include Google Code projects that work with WordPress, including the popular Thematic WordPress Theme. [...]

  8. Michael Safyan said:

    Regarding minify… Google Closure (http://code.google.com/closure/) includes a free JavaScript compiler service (http://closure-compiler.appspot.com/) that not only minifies but can also optimize (e.g. propagating constants, inlining functions, etc.) JS code.

  9. Andy Holiday said:

    Mifiny alone is great. That has cut my bandwidth bill by over 40% alone! Thanks for the others. I was not aware of about a third of these projects. I use a lot of Googles tools like webmaster tools and analytics. I don’t like their domination but they seem to know what we all need and want.

  10. JP said:

    I use zen coding and I love it, very easy to use, also you can add your own snippet.
    Example: I added lorem in the file so when I type “lorem:p” I got a nice paragraphe of lorem.

    Do a find of html’: {‘snippets’: in the zencoding.js file and add your own stuff.

    ul>li*22 will give a list with 22 li in a ul.

    J-P

  11. Jom said:

    All of the projects looks so interesting. I am most interested in the last two, converting of PDF files and no spamming one. Hope they come out soon.

  12. Andrew Rodgers said:

    Nice post, I like the idea of Zen Coding, I think I’m going to try it soon… Do you use it?

    Do you think frameworks (hook and filter based) dev results in lower performance sites? It just seems like the more hook and filter calls the slower things will be…

    Andrew Rodgers

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