Top 10 discovered sites of 2005

Published January 4, 2006 on adamfortuna

    There were more than a few sites in 2005 that I just fell in love with. The ideas, ease of use and overall execution of vision in some of these is just astounding when you think about it. Most of them are really small ideas too, but are just beautifully done. Most of them just made me want to program more, which means they're doing something right. So here you have it, my favorite 10 sites discovered* in 2005. In the order that use them… 1. Gmail - http://mail.google.com Gmail has completely spoiled me. I just forward@anyDomainIOwn.com over to gmail and it does the rest. Labeling, filters, searching — it's all there! I made it a point to set up labels for each domain I own as a quick way of handling emails. Anything that's to an email address I actively use I have a label for that as well. Any bills from Verizon or receipts from Amazon get routed to their own label for that kind of thing too. It takes a lot of tweaking to get things just right, but when they are it's amazing to see 9000 spam emails miss your inbox and the one you want to read show up. 2. *Digg - http://www.Digg.com Move over slashdot! That's what everyone is saying at least, but to me it's still a little too soon. Digg is a social bookmarking site that allows users to Digg a site, give a short description, a category and have it show to all users searching the site. Other users _ Digg_ your same link, bringing the count of users that like that article up. If the number goes above a certain theshold (say 30 diggs) it shows up on the front page. It's a great place to go to search for topics, find useful links and get the latest on what's hot. Digg has it's drawbacks though — no nested comments, duped links and boards filled with users spamming or flaming. 3. *Google Maps - http://maps.google.com Google launched one hell of a product. Compare draggable, detailed maps, available in satellite, map view or hybrid to the MapQuest standard of just a year ago. With a deep and beautiful implementation of AJAX, and a developer friendly API Google Maps spread like wildfire to the developer community faster than anyone could have expected. Hell even I got in on the action. :) 4. *Del.icio.us - http://Del.icio.us A long time before Digg there was Del.icio.us. Similar in many ways to Digg, it is a social bookmarking site. You bookmark a site, tagging it as you want and adding a short description. One major advantage of Del.icio.us over Digg is that URLs are unique. If you bookmark a site it will tell you how many others have already bookmarked it. Also because of tagging it offers much better organization of your personal bookmarks. It's easy to share these as well. I often bookmark things at work and read about them later at home using Del.icio.us. Sad to think it was taken over by Yahoo recently; I hope the site doesn't change too much! 5. *Google Video - http://video.google.com Google Video is taking over more and more. How many times do you see a video linked to only to find it's down by the time you click it? With Google and it's recent buy up of black fiber , the amount and quality of bandwidth Google can handle will be skyrocketing in the next year. The ease of use of Google Video, as well as just the fun of exploring hilarious videos on the main video page. 6. *AJAX- http://www.adaptivepath.com/publications/essays/archives/000385.php AJAX is the buzzword that's now known by more than just web programmers (well i think at least — you tell me. :p). The term itself was created back in February to describe a method of programming used for a presentation. Now the term and the practice all everywhere you look. Gmail was really ahead of the group with it's release back in 2004, but they didn't develop the catchy name. Since early this year JavaScript frameworks and libraries have sprung up such as Prototype , Script.aculo.us , Open Rico and The Dojo Toolkit . If you're designing user interfaces professionally, look into these! 7. *Ruby On Rails - http://www.RubyOnRails.com Ok, so far fewer people will care about this one, but it's a place I've been spending a lot of my time lately. Ruby on Rails is a web application framework based on the Ruby programming language that was publicly released about a year ago. It features some of the most in depth built in Ruby has emerged as one of the most fun and exciting language/frameworks to fool around with. So so many times I've been reading something and laughed out loud at how easy it is to do something in Rails compared to PHP/Coldfusion/ASP. I'm still just a newbie in the Rails world, but no other framework has impressed me quite this much. 8. *Flickr - http://www.flickr.com Chances are you've heard of Flickr. Flickr is much more than just a photo storage site like Imageshack and Photobucket , it's a site where images are the content. You tag photos and galleries with any number of tags, join a variety of community involvement mechanisms, and a vast collection of add-ons and mashups. Uploading photos is as easy as dragging and dropping them. The Flickr ap resizes and uploads behind the scenes. There is also a developer API! 9. *Wikipedia- http://www.wikipedia.org/ Ok, ok Wikipedia has been around since 2001, but this is the year where it really took off. With a layout overhaul in late 2004, it was all ready for a huge jump. With the Web 2.0 revolution utilizing users for content, Wikipedia was positioned to take advantage of that influx in content unlike any other site on the net. I have to admit I can surf wikipedia for hours. Just open anything interesting in a new tab and close the current tab when you're done reading. Using this approach I'm quite sure I could be entertained indefinitely. 10. Greasemonkey - http://greasemonkey.mozdev.org/ Greasemonkey is an extension for firefox that allows specific add-on JavaScript files to execute on specific sites. What's this mean? Well, do you want to download that google video you just watched? With the right Greasemonkey script installed there's a "”Download Video"”:http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/2084 link. Tired of looking at awful awful MySpace layouts? Just install a script and see everything in the default; and without music and videos playing. These scripts are really easy to make too, but every time I think of a new idea there's already a script for it! So there you have it, some of my favorites of 2005. All nerdy sites I know. There's a lot of recreational sites I found that wouldn't fit in as innovative in the same way as these like Uncyclopedia , Venganza (home of FSM), podcasts and video casts galore such as MoBuzz.com , Diggnation and allll the NPR podcasts.- Many were around before 2005, but I didn't know about them