With the rise of Internet use and advances in new technologies, more and more companies are starting to use web based applications. Distributed teams and a heavy focus on outsourcing are two other major reasons why web based apps are becoming popular. When it comes to distributed teams, software engineers are some of the most affected. Below are five web based apps that are not very popular, but can be used to make your software engineering easier.
Rescuetime – Rescuetime is a productivity tool which helps you become more efficient. Although some companies have already adopted this, it is also extremely useful for software engineers involved in freelance work or consulting work. Since software engineers are knowledge workers, productivity is very important to them. Rescuetime helps track which website you spend time on, lets you specify a time limit for specific websites. According to Rescuetime, it helps save an average of three hours per week that can be used for more productive tasks. I could sure use three more hours every week.
Creately – Creately is on online diagramming tool with support for many diagram types. Because it’s web based, you can access your diagrams anywhere in the world. It has a free version with some limitations, but I think that the single user license for $5 is a bargain. Try comparing it to software like Visio, which costs 300-900$ depending on the license. For a single user this is definitely a must have diagramming tool. An added advantage is the collaboration built into the tool. So even if you aren’t in the same location, you can work on diagrams as a group. It supports almost every type of diagram needed by software engineers, including the ability to come up with simple Gantt charts.
Confluence – Confluence is software for wiki page creation. It’s useful to distributed software teams, especially in large organizations. It encourages knowledge sharing and saves a lot of time when looking for expertise in specific areas. The ability to quickly find experts and information is critical for the success of any organization, and Confluence supports this in an efficient way. As an added bonus, it has social networking built in.
Basecamp – Basecamp is a project management software. Although it’s not fair to categorize Basecamp as not very popular, but I couldn’t think of better project management software. Jira, PivotalTracker and others, also provide some great tracking features, but I still don’t think they offer as much as Basecamp. The ability to collaborate on your projects is the critical element of Basecamp .
Escrow – Escrow is service that acts as a middle man in a payment. If you’re a software engineer who works for a company, then you won’t have any need for this. But if you are doing freelance work as a part time job without using websites like Freelancer or ODesk, then this is a very useful service.
There are hundreds more web apps that I could list here, but these are my favorites, and I’ve personally used each to some extent. If you know of similar web services that make your software engineering work easier, feel free to share them in the comments section, below.
==== About the Author ====
Nishadha Silva is a Software Engineer specializing in Oracle. He does SEO work in Sri Lanka and manages his own blogs in his spare time. He’s passionate about social media and always looking for ways to increase Twitter followers without following back everyone.