Ideas for Web Applications

by williec

Every once or twice in a 4 month term, I get a sudden rush of inspiration and ideas for cool things to take on as projects. This term at Mozilla there has been a lot of exposure with open sourcing, scraping the web for data and software tooling and automation. This lapse of ideas mostly revolve around those areas.

However, I usually get drained after the phase is done which is probably why I don’t feel like doing anything right now. I’ve already created repositories for these projects on GitHub and will contribute to whichever then interests me the most after this lazy phase is done.

  1. Tradester
  2. “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a financial trading algorithm that anyone can write into and use freely?”. This thought came to me a few years ago when I finished first year at university. I wanted to start an open sourced script for an automated trading algorithm. The hope was for it to encompass all the smartness of traders everywhere into one algorithm for all who are smart enough to take advantage of it. Then I found MetaTrader4, a niche language which I never found the willpower to learn. So the idea died, or in terms of recent medical research, got put in animated suspension.

    Recently, I discovered that online brokers like Oanda and Robinhood (hopefully soon) are starting to offer REST APIs as one of their services to traders. Then it hit me that MT4 could be dropped completely by using common scripting languages like PHP instead. I.e. deploy algorithm script on any web hosting service, set-up CRON jobs, start automated trading. It also helps that web development languages are more popular than the obscure MT4, which is important considering that this will be open sourced.

  3. StoryLine
  4. This started about a year ago. The idea was for a common social platform where story writers could come together and collaboratively create new stories that were open sourced, like the GitHub for people who wrote in languages that were not meant for the computer.

    The project died mid-way when I realized that the product was taking a very bad approach to begin. It was made to try and take on a lot of stories and writers at the same time, which led to a very confusing user experience because of all the empty “social” views. I was working through the version control (back-end) component of StoryLine and Terry on the user interfaces when the project was killed.

    I recently found inspiration from looking at the WordPress model. The code is open sourced, so anyone can deploy and install their own independent instance of WordPress. At the same time, non-technical users can simply use wordpress.com where deployment is made simple. WordPress makes money from advertising on the wordpress.com sites and from writers who wish to export wordpress.com sites to their own hosting servers.

    Instead of a common platform that acts as GitHub for writers, StoryLine is likely to be better off as a deployable web application for all end-users. Each instance of StoryLine hosts a single, independent story. At some point later after maturity, a unified tool for users to create stories easily on awesome-name.storyline.com can be set up, much like the existing wordpress.com.

  5. Languify
  6. I love fontawesome. It’s open sourced, so simple, and adds so much value when used in the right context. Languify, like fontawesome, is an open sourced CSS library that contains commonly used words and phrases in different languages. Languify enables developers to create views that can be adapted to any language they want, just by the loading of a .css file.

    For example, <span class="lf lf-hello></span> shows “hello” when the “en.css” file is included on the page. When “en.css” is replaced with “zh.css”, the HTML page will display “你好” instead of “hello”. Aside from the Languify css file being loaded, no other changes to a HTML page are needed to have it adapted to a community that reads a different language.

    The repository currently contains some css files which have the words manually filled in. It is not scalable and I see it getting messy very quickly, especially if people start contributing to the library. For this project to get anywhere, a front facing tool has to be made to manage the addition/editing of words in the language library. The tool will then automatically generate the [language].css files that will be pushed into Github.

    Those are the project ideas that I will be building upon.
    If anything interests you, reach me!