For many years, I haven't really been happy with the state of documentation for Ruby or Rails, the programming language and framework I mainly work with. Somehow, browsing the different documentation pages never felt right, and I often ended up reading the source code directly.
Then railsapi.com (which went offline long ago) started creating docs in the sdoc format which was fast, responsive and - most importantly - easily searchable! Unfortunately new versions of Ruby and Rails were never added so the site quickly became less useful. At some point I set out to rebuild that functionality which ended up becoming RubyDocs.
RubyDocs lets you create sdocs for any version of Ruby and Rails, either combined or separately. New Ruby and Rails versions are added automatically as soon as they are relased, so you can always browse the docs of exactly the versions you need.
Check out the launch blog post!
ProductWidgets was a tool for publishers like bloggers or niche website owners to present attractive widgets to their visitors and showcase their favorite products!
Whether you run a fashion blog or maintain a website about tech gadgets or the latest trends in interior design, recommending products to your visitors is often a more direct approach of monetising your project than simply adding Google AdSense or other banner ads. The click-through rate is much higher and the widgets are not perceived as ads but as editorial content.
To offer a wide range of merchants and products to choose from, ProductWidgets cooperated with the affiliate network Zanox.
ProductWidgets shut down in April 2017.
DraussenKino (German for "outside cinema") is a project I started out of frustration that there was no central website that listed all open air cinemas in Berlin. Everytime I wanted to check what the Berlin open air cinemas (and there are more than ten of them) were showing in the next days, I had to go to each site separately. For regular cinemas, there are lots of websites aggregating this info (too many if you ask me) but there were none for open air cinemas... so in spring of 2015, I finally had enough and cranked out the first version of DraussenKino in one week.
The problem is that none of the open air cinema websites have an API, so I had to resort to web scraping to import the screening times. Once that was done though, I could automatically pull in info about each movie from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, and posters, images and videos from other websites. Then I added Hamburg as the next city and the goal is to add most open air cinemas in Germany in the long run.
Future Hope People
Future Hope People is a nonprofit organization founded in Ghana in 2003. It focuses on improving the living conditions of Ghanaian children and women. The organization usually works on one large project at a time. You can see all completed projects on the website and follow the progress of the current project on Facebook.
Financial support for the projects mainly comes from donations, and the founder Djarbah Meshach Quarcoo comes to Germany for a few months each year to hold drumming workshops in schools. The organization also offers sponsorships for school children and for a small monthly fee the sponsors pay for the school meals and school uniform of their sponsor children.
Do you like riddles? Sure you do. How about (well-made) infographics? Thought so. How about a combination of both? Awesome, you say?
That's exactly what I thought when Jenny Lettow presented me with the idea to her latest project "Peripheres Wissen" (German for half-knowledge, literally translated "peripheral knowledge"). The way it works is that Jenny posts a new infographic containing lots of clues about a specific item every first Monday of a month. You, the reader, have one month to submit your best guess of what the infographic is about (guesses will of course be kept secret). The following month, the riddle is revealed, the winner received the infographic as a postcard, and a new inforgraphic is posted.
Update January 2014: it was lots of fun while it lasted, but Jenny has moved on to other projects.
CarFinder was another weekend project I built only to fulfil my own selfish needs: to quickly find an available carsharing car nearby.
I have been using the carsharing providers DriveNow, Car2Go, and Multicity here in Berlin for some years now, and I am a big supporter of carsharing in general. Compared to everyone owning their own car, which sits idle 95% of the time and has to be paid for anyways, carsharing makes sense for the environment, government and each individual user. It's a win-win-win, and there are almost no arguments against it (none that really make sense anyways).
While the carsharing providers' mobile apps for Android and iOS work quite well and quickly show you available cars nearby, the websites are a different story. They were (and mostly still are) bloated, slow and badly designed.
I simply wanted a Google map that shows available cars in a radius of a few hundred meters. The implementation was quite straightforward since I could use the data the carsharing websites use as well.
Carfinder shut down in April 2017.
Aktuelle Zeit was another side project I set up over the course of a weekend, initially under the domain wie-spaet-ist-es-in.de. I basically wanted to see how much Google favors domains that contain the exact search query - lots of people google for "wie spät ist es in london" ("what is the time in London"), so the URL wie-spaet-ist-es-in.de/london should theoretically come up very high in Google (provided it contains enough relevant content and has a good link profile).
It turned out that it was actually quite easy to get the website up to good positions in the SERPs. When I noticed the domain aktuellezeit.info ("aktuelle zeit" meaning "current time") was available, I switched to that one since "aktuelle zeit in" was almost as a common a search term as "wie spät ist es in". I set up a list of all time zones in the world and all major cities, so it would be easy to simply enter aktuellezeit.info/CITY in your browser - with CITY being the name of any major city - and see what the current time in that city is.