Christoph Hochstrasser

Interesting Projects of 2013

Continuing in the series of my 2013 review posts, I have now worked through all the projects I starred for inspiration and awesomeness. For your enjoyment, in no particular order.


A jQuery plugin which implements a text-wrap: balanced mode for text wrapping. This text mode produces text which is rendered so the amount of text on each line is about the same. They already proposed this as an addition to CSS3, but I currently didn’t find any reports on the proposal’s status.

I really like how Adobe starts to learn how to apply itself on the web. With their vast experience with typography, animation and layout they bring to the table, they could improve a lot in web publishing.


2013 finally brought much needed love to the PHP SDK for Amazon Web Services. The new version breaks with all backwards compatibility with the 1.x series, but features PSR-0 compatibility, much saner configuration handling, and a library built with modern PHP and the solid foundations provided by the Guzzle toolkit.


This project isn’t really something you would use in production, but the an interesting concept about using Symfony’s HttpKernelInterface for creating and composing reusable HTTP middleware components. Here is the accompanying blog post “HttpKernel Middlewares” by Igor Wiedler.

This was very important because it kicked of a major new movement in 2013: The Stack project (disclaimer: I’m part of it).


Thomas Fuchs (Scriptaculous, Zepto) did it again. Keymaster is a tiny library for adding keyboard shortcuts to your web apps and works without jQuery and in all browsers (IE6+, Safari, Firefox and Chrome).


Dokku is a simple implementation of a Heroku like service which you can host on your own machines. It provides compatibility with Heroku buildpacks, git push deployment and is built with a couple hundred lines of Shell code on top of Docker.


“_s” or also called “Underscores” is a very minimalistic , HTML5 based starter theme for WordPress by Automattic (the company behind, Gravatar and more). I’ve used this recently to build a custom theme for a WordPress project, and I must say this is really the most sane way to get into developing WordPress themes.


PHPCR is an API for working with a persistent tree of content nodes, which is the awful part of implementing a content management system. PHPCR provides many drivers beneath a common API which allows it to work with relational databases and document oriented databases.

This is really an empowering innovation for building content management systems. With PHPCR you can develop a content management system and focus on the user experience, workflows, etc. without having to think about the complex foundations like persistence of a tree structure, versioning of content or database compatibility.

I think in 2014 we will see more interesting content management systems built in PHP and based on PHPCR, with better user experiences, new ideas, as well as more code sharing among the familiar ones.


ROM stands for Ruby Object Mapper and is an implementation of the Data Mapper Pattern for Ruby. The awesome thing is how easy ROM is to use. It’s powered by loosely coupled libraries which do one thing well and by a powerful implementation of a relational algebra called “Axiom” which provides an awesome query language.


What was your project of the year? Which project inspired you the most? I look forward to your comment!