Dev Tools Roundup #3: February 2018

Dev Roundup 3

Our favorite thing to do around here is find the hottest and most exciting new developer tools and share them with you. If you subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you're getting the inside scoop every week! But let's take a moment at the end of another month to celebrate the most popular new tools added in all of February.

These are the top 10 new tools added to the StackShare database in February 2018.

#1: Haiku


Build and design cross-platform UIs and Animations

“Haiku lets you design & build interactive, visually stunning UIs,” says creator Zack Brown. “Haiku has a lot in common with After Effects and Flash: it's a timeline-powered animation tool that supports interactions through code — but unlike After Effects it's intended for designing UIs, and unlike Flash, it's built on open standards and an open source, hackable renderer & file format. Haiku is all about bringing design and code closer together.”

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#2: Rekit


Toolkit for building scalable web applications with React, Redux and React-router

Nate Wang created Rekit because he felt creating a React Redux app required too much verbose boilerplate code. “Rekit helps to generate them automatically and refactor them easily,” he says. “It’s very important to keep a web app project readable, understandable and maintainable when it scales. Rekit suggests an opinionated pattern to organize files and folders in a scalable way and provides IDE/tools to help you always follow the approach.

How does Rekit compare to similar tools, and how is it better? Wang says “Rekit studio is an IDE that understands your web projects; it knows features, components, actions and routing rules so it can show and manage them in a meaningful way, while other IDEs are more like just code editors which only know folders, files.”

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#3: Docusaurus


Easy to maintain open source documentation websites

Facebook engineer Joel Marcey says his team created Docusaurus for a number of reasons:

  • To put the focus on writing good documentation instead of worrying about the infrastructure of a website.
  • To provide features that many of our open source websites need like blog support, search and versioning.
  • To make it easy to push updates, new features, and bug fixes to everyone all at once.
  • And, finally, to provide a consistent look and feel across our all our open source projects.

“At Facebook,” says Marcey, “Docusaurus allows us to quickly get different projects up and running with documentation websites, especially for teams who don't have much experience with web development or primarily want a basic site to showcase their project.”

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#4: Proton Native

Proton Native

A React environment for cross platform native desktop app

Gustav Hansen initially created Proton Native “because I had to create a complex GUI for another project, and I didn't understand why something so simple became so hard. I had close to a 1K lines of code for something that was repetitive and not too complex. I tried creating it in PyQt, but it became a mess.” Hansen had already used React a lot and loved the workflow, so “I decided to see if anyone had done something like that for desktop. I couldn't find anything, so I made my own. It quickly morphed into a response to the bloat of Electron and the split in developing for desktop.”

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#5: Apache OpenWhisk

Apache OpenWhisk

A serverless, open-source cloud platform

Apache’s OpenWhisk homepage describes the tool this way: “As a developer there's no need to manage the servers that run your code. Apache OpenWhisk operates and scales your application for you. Spend your time innovating, not configuring infrastructure. Plus, you only pay for what your app uses and needs at that moment.”

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#6: Maze


Create missions that testers will perform on your InVision prototype, and learn how your product’s design can be improved with zero lines of code.

"Too many businesses are wasting insane amounts of time and money building features just to realize that the design simply doesn’t work," says Maze creator Jonathan Widawkski. "This leads to frustration as teams end up rebuilding features instead of implementing new ones.

"We realised that there was a way to collect data much earlier in the process: performing quantitative user testing at the prototype phase to iterate quickly and effectively until your design is proven. This is why we created Maze: an affordable analytics and testing solution built on top of your InVision’s prototype."

Further, he says, "Maze is based on the tools designers already use (InVision) and doesn’t require testers to install anything."

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#7: Blazor

Blazor Open Source

An experimental web UI framework using C#/Razor and HTML, running in the browser via WebAssembly

Blazor creator Steve Sanderson of Microsoft built Blazor as a web framework that utilizes Web Assembly to run .NET in any browser. “Blazor is currently an experimental project and in the early stages of development...there isn’t a download available at this time.” But “if you’re keen, you can clone the repo, build it, and run the tests.”

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#8: dotmesh


Capture, organize, and share application states using a git-like CLI

Creator Luke Marsden says "We created dotmesh because data is missing from the circle of control: while managing code changes with version control, automated tests, and CI is obvious to modern developers, and managing cloud resources with declarative tools like Terraform is obvious to modern DevOps, the data in your app is left in the cold. With dotmesh, you can capture the state of multiple microservices' data stores in a single commit and branch and push/pull them between stages of the software lifecycle such as dev, CI, staging and (soon) production."

While intentionally similar to Git in terms of interaction patterns and command (to ensure it's familiar to developers), Marsden says dotmesh is different in three important ways. "Firstly it supports efficiently snapshotting large databases (e.g. a Postgres database), which Git just isn't set up to support; secondly it supports a feature called subdots, which enable more than one data store to be captured in a single commit so that you can capture the state of an entire app in one go, even if it's a microservices app with polyglot persistence; and thirdly it supports clustering out of the box, meaning that it can operate either on a single docker host (e.g. Docker for Mac on your laptop) all the way up to your production Kubernetes cluster (e.g. on GKE)."

Find out more in dotmesh's docs and "Please give us feedback on Slack; as a new startup we're very keen to hear feedback from users!"

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#9: PopcornNotify


Send simple emails and text messages from one API

"It's common for developers to want to send notifications from their code," says PopcornNotify creator Jason Strauss. "There are tools for sending emails and SMS, but they take a bit of configuration: buying phone numbers, verifying domains, etc.

"Those configurations are really important when communicating with your users, but unimportant for internal messages, like 'The server is down' or 'Your long script has finished running.' I built PopcornNotify because I have several small projects and internal tools, and I wanted a simple, automated way to send myself messages from them."

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#10: Airtap

Airtap Open Source

Test your JavaScript in 800+ browsers

"Airtap is different than other cross browser test runners in its simplicity and ability to easily run your test suite in many browsers without having them installed locally. It lets you iterate quickly during development and provide good browser coverage before release without worrying about missing a supported browser."

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If you use and love any of these new tools, be sure to add them to your Stack and to your News feed! Now let's gear up for another month of new tools!