Click Whatruns and discover the secrets of your competition

whatruns
Whatruns screenshot (2019)

With the browser extension Whatruns, you can click to discover what makes a site run. Which platform do they use, serverside or clientside? Do they use a CDN? Google Analytics (hint: always!)? A necessary tool for any developer or anyone interested in knowing more about the Web.

Features

  • As always with an extension from the Chrome Web Store, the installation is a breeze.
  • Use it on any site, including Whatruns.
  • Do you blog yourself? See the themes and plugins your competitors rely on!
  • Useful for competitor analysis, sales intelligence, and website profiling.

Benefits Whatruns

The major benefits of this Chrome Extension are easy to divine: you get to pop the hood and take a peek at the machinery. Now you see just what technology your prospective new client or the company relies upon, so you can prepare yourself for that important first contact. Or the job interview. You know just where to invest your time and effort. And if you want to learn from their success: this is a quick and dirty way to stay ahead of the game.

Drawbacks

The information you get isn’t always easy to interpret, especially for someone without a background in coding. And for a real coder, there are a lot more informative ways to get to the heart of a strangers website: Devtools, for example. And also, if you really want to learn about alternatives to the products Whatruns discovers: don’t rely too much on their categories or background information. It seems arbitrary at best. You’re better of checking Alexa or the discover section of start.me.

Alternatives

There aren’t many alternatives to Whatruns, but the Chrome Web Store does mention Snovio web technology checker. With no more than 4000 installations, they can’t really compete with Whatruns, though. They clock over 175.000 installations. This inspires trust.

Final verdict

So there you have it: again an extension we propose to anyone who wants to get a quick look at the Internet that’s hidden in plain sight. Whatruns will astonish you, and help you become a better coder, if you’re so inclined. At the very least it will help you see through the CSS and visual spectacles, to get at the bottom or heart of things.

Write better texts with Grammarly

With Grammarly, your writing will improve dramatically. This browser extension grabs any information you type in your browser, checks it to an extensive database, and signals any segment in need of attention. Spelling, punctuation, grammar, it all gets a pass – or not, which is a good thing.

Features

  • Grammarly runs on many different platforms, not just in a browser. There are native apps for desktops and handheld devices (iPhone and Android).
  • Checks Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation, but also conciseness, and readability.
  • Premium features include a plagiarism checker, vocabulary enhancements, and more.
You can find more information on their premium page.

Benefits Grammarly

If you write in American, Canadian, or British English, this is the extension to install immediately. Also, if you write for the web and want to avoid the most obvious errors, you need to install this program. You’ll want to consider this, especially if you’re a lonesome blogger without a big editing team to assess your work. With Grammarly, you get some useful pointers with any text. It’s a genuinely fantastic program, especially with the premium features in place.

It integrates well with many browsers, but also with Microsoft Words, which is still the go-to solution for many writers. You install a small program, and then you get to use the same functionality of the extension, but natively in your word processor. Life couldn’t be better written down.

Drawbacks

The English language doesn’t always adhere to simple black-and-white rules, unfortunately. There are many grey areas where a writer has to opportunity to demonstrate her sense of style, her literary sensibility. With Grammarly, you get an absolute harmonization which might make your writing less erroneous, but maybe also less appealing. The punctuation favors a particular convention, even though an added comma might make a difference. You always get to accept or dismiss the suggestion the system gives you, of course. Still, I wonder if, in a few years, we might discover the Grammarly-effect in the shortlist of the next Man Booker Prize.

Alternatives

  • Prowritingaid (a complete suite of writing tools).
  • Whitesmoke (besides Grammar and Style checks, they also offer a translator).
  • Ginger (a complete grammar checker, including a learning center to make you a better writer).
You can find more alternatives to Grammarly on Hostingsprout.

Final verdict

There seem to be a few massive players on the market, that offer more intelligent feedback than the Spelling Checker you’ll find in the usual word processors. Moreover, since we write evermore online (Google Docs or WordPress), we need just the help that Grammarly offers. The price is quite steep, though (around $11), but still, we wouldn’t dare to write this blog post without it.

Get Open Graph Preview to see your draft post

Open Graph Preview
Open Graph Preview

Open Graph Preview shows how people will see your site in a few popular social networks. It useful when you post to Facebook or Twitter, or to some Russia based social media platforms (vk.com or ok.ru).

Features

  • The app is free and designed by Pavel Rybin.
  • It also works with just the preview of your posts.
  • If you like it, you can donate a cup of coffee.
  • Over 15.000 developers use this extension.

Benefits Open Graph Preview

Anyone who wants to make sure their WordPress post is broadcast correctly to social media should use this extension. Before actually posting anything, so before you can use the Twitter Card validator or the Facebook Sharing Debugger, you want to make sure there are no real problems. That’s why you need this browser extension. You don’t want to share anything without making sure it’s perfect.

Drawbacks

In the review and the support section of this extension, you see a lot about the programming behind this extension. Pavel Rybin seems to be a lone developer, who managed to write a useful addition to the developer’s toolbox. He has to do this in his free time, which is remarkable. Still, with a bit more effort, and some more platforms added (like LinkedIn or Instagram), this extension might become a necessary tool for any blogger.

Alternatives

There are a few other options for this extension, but none of them are as complete and useful as OGP.

We should mention, however, that there are several free or paid automated services to post your pages or articles to the various social media platforms, who offer almost the same service. Like Buffer or Tweetdeck (just for Twitter). You’ll see the link, the featured image attached to the link you want to share, and more. For these solutions, you still need a live post, though.

Final verdict

The extension we feature here is one of the great examples of the value even a small team (or a single programmer) can add to the internet. In this case, Pavel Rybin has developed a unique, useful addition that should be useful for anyone blogging, or even for anyone browsing the Internet. Sure, it’s more like a developers tool (as categorized in the Chrome Web Store), but once you’ve published an article or post by error, you’ll quickly see you’ll need it.