What kind of web apps can you use to make your answers awesomer?

This includes things like:

  • Interactive regex tester
  • Pastebin, online REPL/IDE, image hosting
  • Visual aids to generate charts, trees, graphs (i.e. vertices and edges), etc
  • Looks useful, thanks! – C. Ross Jun 30 '10 at 14:16
  • I'm not really sure why this is on meta. You could ask the question on Stack Overflow: "What online tools can I use to help extend programming collaboration?" – George Stocker Jun 30 '10 at 15:01
  • @George: well, if the mods feel like it, they can reverse-migrate this to stackoverflow.com then. – polygenelubricants Jun 30 '10 at 15:11
  • I like this question ... its not really strictly programming related though you could make an argument for it belonging on web apps ... – waffles Jun 30 '10 at 21:53
  • 3
    @waffles: my argument for it belonging in meta is that ultimately it's really about improving the quality of your answers. You have a snippet in your answer? Link to online IDE so people can see that it runs and works. You have a regex solution? Prove it by seeing it live in action, so people can see what's matched and what's not, and they can even throw their own input at it. Explaining some concept that can really use visual aids? UML diagrams? Need to layout a graph? etc,etc,etc. – polygenelubricants Jun 30 '10 at 21:57
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    Sorry ... I should have been more explicit, I think it belongs on either "meta" or the upcoming "web apps" stackexchange. It does not, imho, belong on stack overflow. – waffles Jun 30 '10 at 22:11
  • By the way, if others feel that these "bells and whistles" don't really make an answer awesomer, or if visual aids take too much screen space and/or unfairly draws too much attention to a particular answer etc, then feel free to downvote (or better yet, voice your opinion). – polygenelubricants Jul 1 '10 at 8:32

I'm not experienced enough in these to know if they're the best, or even recommendable; I can only say that I've used them:

Online IDEs

These give a runnable context for snippets in your answer, so people can see that it works and test and/or modify it easily.

  • ideone.com (many languages!)
  • lotrepls.appspot.com (had to use this for groovy)
  • JS Bin (a rather good edit/test tool, complete with syntax highlighting and smart indentation)
  • JSFiddle (HTML/CSS/JS editor, excellent to demo certain JS libraries e.g. jQuery)


Visual aids

Never really had to use these, but probably will eventually:


  • codingbat.com/Authoring
    • Java only for now, but you can create problems and give your spec through the tests
    • Perhaps more appropriate for asking rather than answering questions
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  • Just as expected, there are online xpath tester, xslt processor, etc. I'm sure these will come in handy for those who specialize in the technology. I'll let them provide recommendations. – polygenelubricants Jun 30 '10 at 21:54
  • I forgot that we want to make SEDE/stexdex a tool for teaching SQL, so I guess that should be included. Even if the data may not be be directly relevant for a given question, the technique shown can still be, and seeing it live in action can be helpful. – polygenelubricants Jul 1 '10 at 8:44
  • To be incorporated later (after further evaluation), suggestion from Peter Ajtai: jsfiddle.net, codepad.org, gskinner.com/RegExr – polygenelubricants Aug 30 '10 at 7:29
  • WolframAlpha is nifty for plotting graphs wolframalpha.com – polygenelubricants Aug 31 '10 at 9:21
  • groovy (and even SQL) is available at Ideone – Łukasz Kuszner Dec 31 '10 at 0:44

Though I use this for designing actual web sites, http://gomockingbird.com/ definitely has potential to help to visualize things and share them

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  • Nice site. I hadn't seen that before. – Peter Ajtai Aug 30 '10 at 16:23

I'll list my favorites

Regex Tester


  • Wikipedia (for linking that extra information on Hash Tables, CPUs, etc)
  • MSDN Library (for all those .NET classes and methods)
  • JavaDoc (for all those java classes and methods).

Image Hosting

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  • I've actually had problems with tinypic "killing" old links or replacing it with new pictures (often very inappropriate ones). Then again that was a long time ago; I haven't really used online image hosting much. – polygenelubricants Jun 30 '10 at 15:09
  • @polygenelubricants: I use it all the time for my screenshots. – C. Ross Jun 30 '10 at 16:33
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    We now have an official image hosting facility, thanks to imgur: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/08/new-image-upload-support – polygenelubricants Aug 30 '10 at 7:32

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