September 08, 2007

How to quickly develop a Web application

Now, developing a web application has become a weekend activity for some... Gone were the days when you have to deal with complex code behind .NET or J2EE. So, what are the options to quickly build an industry standard webapp?

Use of Ready-made software

Easiest of all, you can use white-label frameworks to clone an existing webapp. Check out the chart published by Techcrunch on white-label social networks available. Below is a summary of clone projects mentioned by Read/WriteWeb.

Folkstr is a micro-blogging platform that mimics Twitter, but without the SMS features. It is a self-hosted and extensible social network developed in PHP and uses MySQL.

Pligg is a perfect replication of Digg, and adds some features such as tagging and the ability to automatically share links on other popular social news and bookmarking sites.

Scuttle is an open-source project that replicates the popular Delicious Bookmarking service of Yahoo. But, a new version hasn't been released in over a year.

Video Share Enterprise is a PHP/MySQL script that clones YouTube. Video Share duplicates most of YouTube's features pretty well, and powers a number of small-to-medium sized sites. Yet another You-Tube clone script is vShare.

One of the most popular and well-developed MySpace clone scripts out there is phpFoX. This is behind some fairly large niche MySpace clones, and has most of the features of MySpace.

AJAX DeskTop StartPage Enterprise is a PHP and MySQL based AJAX start page script that mimics the sites like Pageflakes ands Netvibes.

UPDATE: Check out more such frameworks listed by AjaxFlakes. There is a mention of NewsCloud, Dolphin, PHPizabi, Elgg, Mugshot, AroundMe, GetBoo, and more...

Using frameworks based on dynamic languages

Ruby on Rails (RoR)
The open-source RoR project innovated the coupling of the powerful Ruby language and the Rails framework. It aims to ease database-driven website development with a template pattern called 'Convention over Configuration'. But, many developers including me are not yet ready to get away from core Java. Luckily, Grails framework is now a good substitute to RoR.

Groovy & Grails
Groovy provides powerful features of a dynamic language, and proves to be a handy tool to Unit test Java applications. It offers a syntax similar to Java, supports Java libraries, and compiles to Java Byte Code. So, calling of methods between the two languages can be interoperable. Groovy can serve as a good alternative to Perl and Ruby.

Grails is a open source web application framework based on the Groovy. Similar to RoR, Grails also embraces convention over configuration. Additionally, Grails uses other proven tools to provide state-of-art technologies. In Grails, you will find ORM mapping provided by Hibernate, Dependency Injection and MVC architecture by Spring Framework, and layout management by SiteMesh.

PHP 2.0
We can create portals and simple web applications using PHP. Its the most preferred implementation language by all of Yahoo Portals.

Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

RIAs like JavaFX, Adobe AIR / Flex, and Microsoft Silverlight are slowly getting popular among developers. You may want to experiment with them.

UPDATE: The description of RoR & Grails framework is updated with original content.


FrankC said...

Don't forget WordPress and Joomla. You can get them up and running in a few hours by using available free themes and you can tweak the CSS and PHP rather easily for your specific needs.

Goku2 said...

Look at Plone for an awesome CMS

And for web development you have a great framework in Smalltalk called

Jim said...

ColdFusion - easily build sites like

Snipher said...

A rather new but promising agile java framework, that share some of the Groovy stuff,is the Play! framework

Anonymous said...

JNEXT ( is a new RIA open source technology that's worth taking a look at. It has a small footprint and is cross platform and cross browser.

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