Web applications can do more than enhance your site — they can also help you streamline your workflow and boost your productivity. A plethora of applications such as to-do lists, contact managers, file backup and management, calendars, email programs and RSS readers can assist you in your daily activities. You only need to download and install them on your hosting account.
Having your own hosted web applications allows you to better control your data and tweak the applications if needed. In addition, you can save money by not having to pay recurring fees from service providers. If you have a mobile device, chances are that you’ll be able to access your web application on the go too, without worrying about data sync.
In this month’s featured article, we take a look at 15+ such free and open source applications that we hope will make your work and life easier.
File & Document Managers
Relay is an AJAX-enabled and PHP based file manager with a fairly intuitive interface for uploading, managing and downloading files. The application is pretty responsive and dynamically loads your folders and files. If you’re already storing your files in a particular folder on your FTP server, you can configure Relay to manage files at that location. One feature that I really like is its ‘Download Cart’ – you can navigate your folders and add files you want to download to the cart and Relay will bundle everything as a compressed downloadable file for you. The only downside is Relay’s multiple users support, which requires some code manipulation to get it to work correctly.
Amazon S3 Storage is a web service provided by Amazon for online file storage at a reasonably cheap price. Since Amazon S3 was primarily build for Web applications to interface with it programatically, it can be a bit daunting to use its online management console for backing and archiving your personal files. The good news is that there are several desktop tools and remotely hosted services that will allow you to interface with your Amazon S3 storage. But if you’re looking to have a better control, you can download and install Amazon S3 File Manager which is a PHP and AJAX application aimed at making it easier to manage your files stored on Amazon S3 servers. You can use it to browse directories and files on the server and edit, copy, move, delete, upload, download files, create new directories and files and edit files.
OpenDocMan is a free, open source web-based PHP document management system designed solely for online document repository. It is more than just a mere file management system, but supports features like user access control, change tracking and workflow process. If your organization handles a lot of documents daily, OpenDocMan’s review process can prove to be extremely useful whereby which reviewers can approve or reject a new document or a changed document easily. On a friendly note, don’t let the interface of OpenDocMan deceives you – it certainly needs some decent UI, but at least it serves for its purpose.
RoloPress is an open source contact manager built on the top of the WordPress platform. It uses a combination of custom theme and WordPress post type and taxonomies to provide an elegant and feature-rich content management system. Your can easily add and modify your contacts, associate them to groups or companies and store any type of personal information you’d like. It has integration with social networks like Twitter whereby which your contact’s recent Twitter feed can be streamed.
PHP Address Book is a simple web-based address and contact manager application. You can store phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses and even birthdays of your contacts. It has integration with Google Maps & Gmail and supports several export features including vCards, LDIF, iPhone .ics and Excel.
Simple Customer is a lightweight, sleek and professional PHP/MySQL contact management for tracking clients, customers and other contacts. It supports multi-user accounts with profile and note handling capabilities. There are two features that I really like with this application – first you can add custom fields and second it allows you to import and export your contacts in CSV formats.
Notes & To-do Lists Managers
myTinyTodo is a jQuery and PHP based to-do list management system with support for multiple lists, note taking and tags. Notes or tasks can have due dates assigned to them along with priorities flagging. The interface is simple and clean with drag-n-drop features for sorting and tasks. myTinyTodo also has a dedicated mobile version (through different CSS styling).
TaskFreak is a simple but efficient web based task manager written in PHP. It is based on the GTD princible and sports an outrageously user friendly interface. You can order tasks by priority, set deadlines and organize tasks by projects or context. This application has been around since 2005 and is available in over 20 languages.
RSS Readers & Aggregators
rssLounge aggregator is a free Web-based RSS feed reader based on PHP and MySQL. It allows you to organize and read your RSS feeds and updates from online services like Twitter, Del.ico.us or YouTube in a central message center. It can be considered as a Google Reader clone script, but it has a few features that sets it different from Google reader. You can read more about rssLounge in our review post.
NewsWall is a sleek aggregator that you can install on your server and have it display and mix both RSS items and emails from your POP and email accounts. Just like on a “news wall” all messages show up in small blocks, if possible together with an image. That way it is easy to find the most important and interesting news and then have a closer look at these.
Project Management & Collaboration Suites
CollabPress is a WordPress plugin that adds project and task management functionality to WordPress. It allows you to create projects and assign tasks to users. You can create unlimited projects and task lists and it will also keep a log of all activity. A really nice feature of CollabPress is its calendar view for tasks’ due dates.
Open Atrium is an intranet that combines six modules – a blog, a wiki, a calendar, a to-do list, a shoutbox and a dashboard to manage it all. Companies can use it as a collaboration tool whereby which different teams can start conversations or share files. It proves to be very useful for individual as a project management tool. The best thing about Open Atrium is that it is based on Drupal, which makes it extremely customizable.
TeamLab is an open-source platform for business collaboration and project management. It is based on ASP.Net, C# and supports both MySQL and SQLite. It has several features like project management, reports, instant messenger, polls, task management and milestone tracking.
Calendaring & Scheduling
wdCalendar is aJQuery based google calendar clone. It cover most google calendar features. It has views for day/week/month and events can be created, updated and removed using drag-n-drop. wdCalendar is provided as a JQuery extension and comes with PHP/MySQL support but you should be able to adapt it to any other platforms or databases.
phpScheduleIt is a web application that attempts to solve the problem of scheduling and managing resource utilization. It provides a permissions-based calendar that allows users to self-register and reserve resources and the tools to manage those reservations. Some typical applications are conference room, equipment, or work shift scheduling. Please note that phpScheduleIt is not designed for personal calendaring or event calendaring, although it may suit those needs.
LuxCal is a free user-friendly and lightweight web based event calendar. Its primary goals are to be more user-friendly, smaller and easier to maintain as compared to other web-based event calendars. LuxCal may have fewer features than some other web calendars, but has all essential functions you may expect from a lightweight event calendar, implemented to be as user-friendly as possible. LuxCal has been designed for home use and small businesses.
ExtCalendar is a powerful multi-user web-based calendar application. Features include Multi-Languages, Themes, Recurrent Events, Categories, Users and Groups management, Environment and General Settings, Template Configuration, Product Updates.