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rails rumbleTeams from all over the world go all-out against each other in Rails Rumble, an annual web development competition that took place last month.

The objective is to create the best online tool in under 48 hours using Ruby and Rails. This sounds like an insane objective, and it is, but it begets some amazing gems every year.

The winners have been made known, but we compiled our own list of three extremely useful tools that we would advise to every MakeUseOf reader.

Unpack

Using a smartphone, there’s little more frustrating than receiving a ZIP archive of files. Given third-party archiving software, it’s altogether possible, but you’re left with an almost inconceivable mess to clean up.

rails rumble

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Luckily, it’s not the only way. Unpack is a very straightforward online service that’ll take care of these archives. Forward the mail with the attachment, to jimmy@unpack.r10.railsrumble.com, and you’ll receive the unarchived files back in your inbox! Unpack works with RAR, ZIP, tar.gz, tar.bz2, CAB, ACE, 7zip, dep, rpm, lha, lzop, rzip, and more!

Scrappler

Scrappler is an online tool that allows you to easily scrape any part of any web page. This can be the current top 10 movies on IMDb, the airplanes flying to and from Washington, or even the latest article here, on MakeUseOf. Scrappler makes the process of scraping a page accessible to anyone without prior technical knowledge, and it hardly takes a minute.

rails rumble

First, enter a URL on the Scrappler homepage. This is the URL you want to scrape, e.g. the top 100 movies on IMDb. After you click Scrape!, you’ll be shown the page in question and are able to select parts of its content, e.g. the top 10 movies. Scrappler will then eliminate all the extra, superfluous information from the webpage and give you clean, simple results.

rails rumble

You’ll be able to view the static results of your query in HTML, XML and JSON. On that same page, you’ll also find a Scrappler URL, which will always give you a fresh result of the scrape. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page, you can optionally enter your email address and subscribe to an hourly, daily, or weekly scrape result.

Newspaperly

I’ve often been scared away by the all-or-nothing requirement of RSS readers. When I tried to check on these sites manually, I often forgot; not to mention the time it took. RSS readers gave me a constant stream of all those interesting articles – never to miss one again. The sheer flood of content however, made that I scarcely even dared to open the application.

rails rumble prizes

Newspaperly is designed to take care of your RSS subscriptions, and only show the news that actually matters. We’ve seen services like this before, but they usually aren’t free. Newspaperly gives you one comprehensive stream and trims it down so only the important news remains. Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

Have you checked out the contestants of the Rails Rumble contest? There are some real gems there. Let us know your personal favorites in the comments!

  1. Gouthaman Karunakaran
    November 15, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Unpack sounds good!

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