JOSSA 2010

Well, only a few months late.  I could list many excuses, including a last-minute ski trip to Whistler, but I won’t bore you with that (future post on that ski trip coming soon!).

So a little late but here are the 10 projects that received my JOSSA (Jamas Open Source Software Award) for 2010.

Firefox/ThunderbirdMozilla – I have been a long-time user of both Firefox and Thunderbird, both at home and the office. Looking forward to seeing what the next major revision will bring.

LightningMozilla – OK another one to Mozilla but this project deserved its own special mention.  It has allowed me at work to continue to fight our IT department in moving to Outlook.  It still has some issues but with the ability to talk to exchange servers and Google calendars it is easy to overlook these.  Looking forward to the future of this project.

Tab Mix Plus – onemen and Gary Reyes – On a typical day I have 15+ tabs open in FireFox.  Managing these can get a little bit frustrating.  Thankfully the Tab Mix Plus has some helpful options to keep me sane.  For example, you can choose where a new tab will open, my favourite is beside the current tab I am working on, saves me having to go to the last tab and pull it back to where I wanted it.

WP-Stats-DashboardDave Lighthart – Keep track of all your social media accounts tied to your website can be a lot of work.  Dave has created this great WordPress plugin to provide you with a list of quick stats for a very wide range of social media and other community sites (some I only found out about through the plugin).  It has been great to see the progress this plugin has made over the past year.

NextGEN GalleryAlex Rabe – Most plugins for WordPress are fairly small, which tweak or add a small piece of functionality.  Then there are the plugins in the category that NextGEN Gallery are in, which are massive.  This plugin turns WordPress into a CMS for photos.  Uploading in batches, organizing into galleries and albums, slide shows, thumbnails and watermarking.  I have yet to think of a feature it is missing.

Google Analyticator – Ronald Heft (SumoMe) – Google Analytics is a great tool for gathering information about visitors to your website. This plugin for WordPress makes adding the tracking code a snap.  Extra features include the ability to exclude logged in users, based on permission levels.  It also adds access to stats right in your admin dashboard.

Google XML SitemapsArne Brachhold – Don’t let the name fool you, this plugin does XML sitemap submission for a wide range of search engines, all with a few clicks.  Submitting sitemaps is an important part of SEO for any site.  The fact this tool does it with so little effort is a great time saver.

All in One SEO PackMichael Torbert – SEO takes work, there is no silver bullet that will just do it for you.  This plugin, however, makes it very easy to correct some SEO issues on any WordPress website.  It can be used to change the home page title, description and keywords.  It can also automatically rewrite page and post titles for you.  A great tool when getting people started on a new WordPress site.

Contact Form 7Takayuki Miyoshi – I tried many contact forms for WordPress until I found this one.  Clean simple interface, with no extra fluff features (like Ajax pop-ups) that would randomly break.  You want your contact form to make it easy for visitors to your website to reach you, look no further than this plugin.

Notepad++ – Don Ho and Team – I do most of my programming in a cygwin or linux environment.  But every so often I have to do things on a Windows machine, which Notepad++ has made less painful. Quick and feature-rich it makes a great C, C++, HTML and PHP editor.  I wish I could same the same thing for most other Windows programs.

Well, that is it for this year.  I hope 2011 JOSSAs won’t be so late, but last-minute ski trips can happen any time.  I encourage you to start your own JOSSA style award.  It isn’t a lot of money but it will hopefully make a developers day, which will make your year better.