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Ask HN: What small webapps do you know that have a large audience?
274 points by thinkpozzitive on Nov 2, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 163 comments

+1 to Bustaname.com, it's a great tool for finding domain names and one I have found to be invaluable.

https://domainr.com/ is another one that I've used in the past.

Bustaname is pretty nifty and useful. I'm also a fan of Namebird, a name generator that uses probability algorithms to make names that are catchy and memorable http://shobia.com/namebird (and only partly because I made it!)

I keep seeing this plugged (by yourself actually.. :P )

I think it definitely needs a tutorial or walkthrough of some sort. I only ever get dodgy looking words that aren't memorable in any sense, in fact would be extremely difficult to say over the phone. I am guessing it's the way I'm using it but I don't know any better! :)

Hehe, launching something new you made is hard/takes persistence. Hope I'm not being annoying; seemed to be appropriate here and the other time I mentioned it in a comment on HN.

Sorry to hear that. There actually is a tutorial/guide referenced a bit lower on the page but not many people seem to see it, may need to emphasize it more!

Maybe try the basic word maker to make words starting with 'arb,' 'orb' or 'mar'? I've found the words those generate are fairly nice as an idea for what it can do. Also maybe try shorter words?

Dunno. To be honest, having used the other name generation tools, this is the one I'd use to get a new domain name and a good amount of people have found names they like through Namebird (someone put in starts with 'pay' and got paydrow for instance and I used it to name itself too :P).

No no not annoying at all! If anything I'm annoyed (extremely mildly, mind) at myself because I'm not managing to get it :)

It looks like a really good tool if (and I'm assuming it does for others) it works nicely, I'm just missing that moment of 'click' right now where I grasp how it works. Going by what you've said I think I was more using it as "here's a word, do more with it please website robot" - I'll have another play! :)

I am also building an algorithmic name generator, so I have been watching namebird closely. It's excellent!

Thank you! Would very much like to see what you come up with when it's ready/hope you'll post it to HN.

+1 for http://preev.com, simple and functional.

and down

Wait, did I read that second one right? A streaming gif that is created/updated in real time by the server (i.e. the later frames don't even exist as the browser starts loading the asset)? What a hack!

Before websockets, some hackers used gifs as an one-way raw socket. Very impressive stuff.

Example project: https://github.com/videlalvaro/gifsockets

http://ipinfo.io API gets ~300M requests per month

I love pinboard! I started out with delicious until it got bought and got weird, then I moved to Google bookmarks but it's so crude. I need something that follows me on every machine. The magick is in being able to add tags.

The irony is that Pinboard really is the rightful heir of del.icio.us, not Delicious.com.

I'm so curious.. I don't use pinboard, but everyone says it's awesome. What's so good in it?

It's no frills, just works, saves a cached version of the page when you bookmarked it, doesn't change in any way that is going to surprise you, did I say it just works?

I've wondered the same.. I actually subscribed to see what the hype was about; after using it for a few weeks I found it hard to justify the cost for such a simple and relatively featureless webapp

I actually gave up just a few weeks ago on Delicious (I have 15k+ bookmarks there, but it gets too slow too often) and moved to Pinboard.

Exporting from Delicious into Pinboard was done in a few minutes.

Pinboard is just like Delicious but faster and more responsive, I am willing to pay $10.61 for that.

And I actually paid for archive option not because I particularly need it but because I like the idea of supporting a lean one person operation.

Only thing Pinboard is missing(just like Delicious is missing) is quick filling in of suggested tags.

Also, for some reason Pinboard suggests IFTTT tag almost every time. I only use IFTTT sparingly.

I only paid one up-front fee of about $10.00. It isn't subscription-based. That is stated quite clearly on the home page. Be sure you go to http://pinboard.in/ and not one of their rivals.

http://www.pogdesign.co.uk/cat is a TV calendar I have been using for like 7 years, damn thing is great.

Not sure of their exact traffic but it's pretty popular.

It's pretty neat :) I'm building one myself, about 20k users atm. (more targeted at getting to the content though)


I'd host those images on something other than Imgur, some of the images there are missing.

Thanks for the heads up! We recently swapped out some images that are now not under my private account

http://strawpoll.me/ - create simple straw polls that anyone can answer at a unique link. Every game streamer I watch uses it daily. Dead simple to use and a memorable name.

I like that... and I would use it if it allowed the voter to enter their name so I could see who had chosen which response.

http://pythontutor.com/ (my webapp) very small footprint ... just a single simple CGI script. but pulls in 6,000 - 10,000 uses per day. not "large" by commercial standards, but not bad for a free tool made by a single person.

Cool! This reminds me of an object graph visualizer my friend Martin have written for SharpDevelop long time ago: http://community.sharpdevelop.net/blogs/martinkonicek/archiv...

I have to say, I absolutely love your app. I use it when teaching people to program all the time!

I tutored in university and Online Python Tutor came in handy many times, thanks!

http://sleepyti.me - simple concept, simple implementation, lots of users.

Exactly. At late nights when I am unsure about whether to sleep or continue working, I simply go to the site and calculate when to sleep. It has become a habit!

I'm completely amazed that people do this to figure out when to sleep. My intent is not to sound rude; I'm a big believer of "do what works" in my personal life and at work. For me it's always so simple: if the following day is a work day, I need to make sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep so that determines how late I can stay up. If it's the weekend, I go to sleep when my body says it needs a break.

I think an app like Sleep Cycle is better than this because it can feel your movement, whereas this is just based on the "average" person's sleep cycles...

Sleep Cycle only works if you sleep alone though.

I think if you keep it on the outside of your bed (away from the partner) and your bed isn't super responsive, it should work. There are others that integrate with wearables and works in that situation, but the concept of it using motion and not just random time is what makes it work more effectively.

Shameless plug, http://jollynap.com

It's the same formula SleepyTime uses, in a mobile friendly format.

The two appear to get different results. To get up at 7:00 AM, sleepyti.me says to go to sleep at 10:00 PM, whereas jollynap says to go to bed at 10:45 PM. Obviously the latter is taking 15 minutes into account for falling asleep, but it's still an hour difference.

SleepyTime mentions, "The average adult human takes fourteen minutes to fall asleep..." so I compensate with 15 minutes in the calculation. There shouldn't be any major variance. Perhaps an odd calculation with Daylight Savings?

The sleep now option doesn't seem to take my time zone into account.

The time is based on your browser's Date function which should match your system clock. I think you might be experiencing a strange calculation with Daylight Savings.

http://timeanddate.com is my go-to tool

Use it all the time. Great tool!

This would be great if it worked on mobile (I.e not desktop optimized)

I agree about the lack of mobile web site, but I broke my resistance and the official iOS app is good (there's an Android one too)

great for coordinating workers and teams in multiple time zones!


Math pastebin with LaTeX/HTML/Markdown mashup.

http://www.workflowy.com is very popular and one of my favorite apps

I love workflowy, but it's definitely not a "small" web app.

Maybe not as pretty, but more customizable http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/

Really nice UI. But as a dane I find AM/PM really confusing, I would love if these types of webpages also had a 24-hour version.

Nice UI

http://ip-api.com/ ~400m requests/month

What technique do they use to obtain "Internal IP"?

I've been looking for a Doodle replacement. This looks promising.

Shameless plug for my app. http://slotted.co

Many people use it for one-on-one meetings like office hours. But you can make any kind of signup sheet you can imagine. Very geek friendly UI.

Productivity web apps that I have used:

- Carbon Fin Outliner (Outliner) - https://cfoutliner.appspot.com/

- Writebox (Dropbox Text Editor) - https://write-box.appspot.com/

- Toodledo (Tasks, Notes, etc) - http://www.toodledo.com/

- Textdrop App (Dropbox Text Editor)- https://www.textdropapp.com


Nice tool to convert css into scss, a bit like http://js2coffee.org (which has probably even more audience)

Would be nice to see css2compass as a node module like js2coffee does, we should tweet the author about this.

Very usefull tool. I dont know the analytics for those, but I use them almost everyday ;)

Launched https://passwds.io a few days ago and it's gotten 500 uniques every day since it's launch. By no means large, but growing every day. :)

And just made a new blog post about plans for passwds.io, like opening up the source: https://longren.io/introducing-passwds-io/

I'd love to know what kind of numbers http://bigassmessage.com/ sees.

> 2,600,000+ messages created. 10,000,000+ unique visitors. 24,000,000+ pageviews.

-According to http://badmeangood.com/

That Magic theme is going to kill someone with epilepsy.

Jesus Christ, there really needs to be a warning on that.

http://idonethis.com/ is a simple idea that lots of people use.

Their [integrations][1] are pretty nice, too. Command line support! :)

[1]: https://idonethis.com/apps-integrations/

http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/dencoder/ - URL encoder/decoder

http://jsonformatter.curiousconcept.com/ - JSON formatter

http://www.colorzilla.com/gradient-editor/ - Gradient generator

http://mp3cut.net/ - MP3 cutter

http://ipinfo.io/ - Geo from IP as JSON

http://www.usdebtclock.org/ - US Debt clock

http://ifttt.com - General purpose web robot

What counts as a large audience?

100k monthly uniques? 1 million? 10 million?

I would think that for a small web app 100K a month would probably be the starting threshold. (maybe even 50K if it's < 6 months old)


In many regions of the world, navigation devices only locate a fraction of buildings by their street address. Naymit lets you mark, share and find exact locations.

I'm intrigued -- what countries are we talking about?

From my own experience at least most countries in Western Balkans and Middle East. I imagine things are even worse in Africa or India.

not huge but jsonprettyprint.com gets 20k hits a month. http://www.similarweb.com/website/jsonprettyprint.com

I'd imagine jsfiddle.

I'm not sure what counts as "small", but I can't imagine they have very few LOC...

http://imgur.com/ comes to mind, though its scope has obviously seen a vast increase from when it first appeared

Given that they raised $40mm[1] earlier this year not sure they really fit in this list.

[1] http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/03/imgur-the-startup-that-doe...

https://minotar.net does about 4 billion requests every month. About 15 million unique "visitors".

Etherpad : real-time collaborative text editor. Readable URLs so great for instantly getting people together on a doc. http://etherpad.org/ is the project site but a commonly used hosted one is at https://etherpad.mozilla.org/


Used by over 50,000 internet marketers every month.


A really simple Rails CRUD app where 90% of the time was spent inputting data and making it look nice. We average about 500 daily uniques and pay for it purely by advertising revenue (lol - "revenue"). It pays for itself and is a nice resume-booster.

Interesting to consider that the vast majority of these apps could be implemented as well or better as mobile apps. I'm on record as being a skeptic of the "mobile is eating the world" meme but I do expect a lot of these kinds of smaller, more specialized apps will migrate to the computers we carry with us everywhere.

Looking at the top-voted examples here, I would entirely disagree. They seem to mostly be utilities that would be used while in the process of doing other, more involved work.

For those apps that are useful on mobile, what advantage would they gain by being developed as mobile apps? In their current states they work on nearly every system commonly in use in the world, including all of the popular mobile platforms.

http://jsonip.com/ has quite a bit of traffic

http://www.boomeranggmail.com/ I feel like half the people I talk to at work use Boomerang for gmail. They seem small because I don't see a footprint online or much marketing from them.

http://scrumy.com/ - scrum board

I keep reading this as "screw me"

which, you know, with scrums, kind of makes sense

https://targeted.io - Email testing, made by two developers. 200% growth per month. Not large in commercial standards but still large amount of users for a two man team.

DoCapture got 20,000 uniques the first two days. Not much but still hitting a few hundred daily http://skakunmedia.com/docapture/

http://aboutbrowser.com -- share browser details via a link or email. Enables better troubleshooting than "What browser are you using?"


url shortener with builtin support for google analytics link tagging utm parameters. time saver for marketers creating tracking links for google analytics.

What always prevents me from using URL shorteners other than bit.ly or goo.gl is reliability. Might have temporary downtime just at the time when a traffic surge comes, or completely stop working one day and then you've got a bunch of broken links. Seeing (C) 2013 on a site when it's nov 2014 makes me not even take a second look :) Would fix that.

Seems like a cool idea, though all I'm getting is a directory listing when I visit the site.

sorry about that I thought sun night would be a good time to move to heroku. should be resolved now.

This looks intriguing, but as usual not enough information on the site. And I'm not willing to sign up after having seen only 2 tiny screenshots.

http://www.gistboxapp.com - lets you add metadata to your GitHub gists (e.g. labels) and the search is much better

SunCalc is a little app that shows sun movement and sunlight phases during the given day at the given location.


Umap: https://umap.openstreetmap.fr/

Easily create custom maps showing distances, areas, points/pins, heatmaps...

Open source mobile analytics & push notifications - http://count.ly - more than 2000+ servers running worldwide

http://socialairways.com/ Is a nice application that connects people who are on the same flight.


Great when I just cant remember the syntax for non-jQuery things in pure javascript!

http://universalscrobbler.invitationstation.org, a manual scrobbler for last.fm


According to their Twitter, their API serves more than 1 billion requests per month.


Probably not a large audience but very useful: one mouse click and you are listening music.


As with Pinboard, it became popular in the vacuum following the implosion of a large, centralized service.

Would be interesting if we could share some actual numbers.

http://www.music-map.com has about 100k monthly users.

What this app suppose to do ? And from where you take the data ?

It shows bands on a map. Organized by taste. The data comes from http://www.gnoosic.com

http://www.checkiday.com/ shows you what obscure holidays are happening every day.



300K users per month, 600K in June and November, mainly Chilean teachers.

http://doodle.com/ - Very simple way to pick a time for a meeting

Not sure if it's small enough: https://www.toggl.com/

Interesting, how do you explore these apps? Personally, I've never heard about any of apps mentioned so far.


>You mean how do people find out about these apps?


What do you mean by "explore"? You mean how do people find out about these apps? Usually word of mouth, online forums, stuff like that.

Even five years ago, the global programming community wasn't that large. If someone built something small and useful, and they promoted it in their local community (like at a LUG, Perl Mongers, other meetup) they gained decent usage and exposure.

I am trying to document some at mobilewebappsftw.tumblr.com because finding apps on the web is incredibly hard.

You also have places such as Chrome Web Store and Firefox OS Marketplace

https://clippod.com - Great social plugin for Google Calendar.


Not really a large audience. :)

http://img42.com (temporary image hosting)

It tells me I'm "You are 7970.70 miles away from Ebola at Bellevue Hospital Center", which is completely wrong. I'm only 3500 miles from Liberia: http://www.gcmap.com/dist?P=ROB-JNB

I'm in Houston and it's only 250 miles to Dallas and yet,

"You are 706.93 miles away from Ebola at Emory University Hospital! Stay safe!"

That's 100% correct, eight days ago there were zero active cases of Ebola in Dallas. The two active cases since the first one had been shipped out to other cities and they were just on watches for the remaining exposures.

What can we consider a large audience? One million users?

100K bottom threshold, 50K if < 6 months old

Cool list of small webapps.page bookmarked.








The only example I can think of is HN.

It's probably the only example I can conceive of existing, too, since it's in a pretty unique position of being cheap to serve and indefinitely funded (hence not under pressure to grow, monetize, or advertise to cover costs).


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