Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Web Development Frameworks

The idea behind this piece is to collect any open-source web development coding frameworks and libraries that I find. These are not all based around scripting languages, since there are some CSS representatives here. Otherwise, there are tools based on JavaScript, PHP, Python and Ruby too. More may appear as and when I come across them.


This is a little something from Twitter that can be used as the basis for responsive websites that fit whatever device is used to view them. This is something that I use extensively and is the basis of several blogging and website themes as well.


If one of the available publishing platforms is too restrictive for you, then this may be what you because it effectively is a web application toolkit. That last point means that there is a lot of power here that may or may not be needed, depending on what you need to do.


This is another UI framework that I have seen used as the basis of a number of WordPress themes. Of course, it should do more than this since it supports responsive design, with tutorials about the tool’s use on the website.


Of these two, Jekyll is a way of getting plain text files into web format using a command line and makes you work to do so. It is based on Ruby and you need to set up your own templates to make it work, hence the mention of effort. Octopress is an extension of Jekyll that does some of the work for you. It is the latter where you will see the word “framework” used, and that’s how it gets its place here. Having seen a very natty blog created with it, I quite fancy seeing it in action for myself, though not all web hosts support Ruby in my experience, so I am unsure as to how far such curiosity will take me.


All of these are JavaScript libraries that find usage in many web applications, with WordPress being but one example. Writing raw JavaScript code can be a chore when it comes to browser support of the Document Object Model, which is why JavaScript and AJAX libraries came into being in the first place. Some are included in the round-up at Open-Source Technology, and quite a few are graphics libraries that saw inclusion in a Net magazine feature article a little while ago.


Both of these in concert can be thought of as alternatives to the likes of Google Maps or Bing Maps. Leaflet is a JavaScript library for displaying interactive maps, while OpenStreetMap contains actual map data from the likes of the U.K.’s Ordnance Survey. Interestingly, Leaflet refers to Mapbox in its examples as a place to collect map data. That is a pay-per-month service that does use open-source technology itself and also provides an interface to OpenStreetMap.


There are times when you need to connect with a database from bespoke PHP files rather than using a CMS to do so. While I have been known to piggyback off WordPress machinery for the same, that will only work if you are not database hopping. Rather than doing low-level database scripting in PHP, I turned to MeekroDB in the interest of avoiding errors and perhaps adding insecurity. That the syntax is straightforward to use makes things even quicker to set up as well. So far, I am using it only to read database contents and that is how things may stay, for now at least.

Ruby on Rails

This web application framework has been around for a while and once generated a lot of interest. It comprises a scripting front end and a server back end. Together, these allow a lot of power and flexibility that does more than the creation of blogs using code. Then, the core functionality can be extended using RubyGems to make even more powerful applications.

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