15 amazing Web apps built in 48 hours

Winning entries from the annual Ruby on Rails coding contest.

15 amazing Web apps built in 48 hours

Earlier this month, the Rails Rumble 2008 announced the eight winners of its programming competition where teams of up to four people had 48 hours to build original (and somewhat complete) Web apps. Ruby on Rails is perhaps best known as the app development platform that built Twitter. But competitions like the Rumble prove how powerful the young platform can be. Here, we showcase the competition winners along with other cool apps of enterprise appeal from the 130 qualifying entries. Winners were selected by an open vote on the Internet and were judged on appearance, completeness, innovation and usefulness.

Rails Rumble 2008

First prize:  MeetInBetween.us

With a cutline of "I'm not driving all the way out there!" this application is all about finding middle ground. Plug in two or more addresses and the site returns a destination in the middle, so you can meet your friends halfway.


Second prize: Qflip

If you are a Netflix user with friends' of the same movie-renting persuasion, and you have an evil sense of humor, this is your app. Qflip let's you alter your friends Netflix queues. It also lets you randomize your own queue.


Third prize: Riverdex

Rafters and kayakers rejoice. This site pulls live, streaming data from the US Geological Survey's flow gauges on thousands of rivers nationwide, so boaters can easily pinpoint the best river to run.


Winner, best appearance: Jot.ly

Jot.ly offers a sleek interface for blogging your heart out, within limits. The site offers a compromise between full-blogging platforms and micro-blogs like Twitter limited to 140 characters. The site calls this happy medium "micro-hybrid-blogging."


Winner, most complete: TrackClass

This is a student organization site. It was an astounding feat of programming to have built it in only 48 hours. The team of two Web developers built four applications for this site, a dashboard, a class schedule, a note taking application and an assignment tracker.


Winner, most innovative: So2Speak

This site makes the Internet more accessible to the visually impaired by reading the content of Web sites aloud. The site uses speech recognition technology and supports RSS feeds, Gmail and iCalender events.


Winner, most useful:  WhatDoesThisErrorMean

The name says it all. When your computer returns a strange error message, you paste it into the site's text box and it returns an explanation.


Winner, best solo entry:  Forever Home

This site has a lot going for it. It has a picture of cute puppy on its home page and a nice humanitarian angle. The site helps pet lovers search an online database of animal shelters to find their next dog.

Forever Home


If you hate PowerPoint and Keynote than you might just love Dense, which offers browser-based presentation software. Dense is simple to use, creates slideshows with text and graphics and then issues a URL where all can see them.



The MySQL admin interface, phpMyAdmin was not only lacking essential features but it was boring AND ugly, according to the creators of rbDB. So they built this app that offers features like smart browsing between tables, smart display of foreign keys and fields, ability to memorize the last tables visited and SQL queries executed and more. They promise this interface will eliminate the need for PHP on your mySQL production server.



This site helps you find and bookmark great quotes and proverbs you discover while surfing the Internet. Good advice always deserves a moment of recognition.



This site allows you to share code examples with your Twitter network. You can use Twippet to elicit help - or just show off what a darn good programmer you are.



This site allows you to easily add a communication element to any app. Your app user can choose how they want to be notified such as e-mail, instant messaging, text message or Twitter.

Choose how they want to be notified such as e-mail, instant messaging, text message or Twitter. This site allows you to easily add a communication element to any app. Your app user can choose how they want to be notified such as e-mail, instant messaging, text message or Twitter.



This app allows you to watch four videos at the same time in your browser window. After you've built your custom quad-feeds, you can share them with your friends.


Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.