Eager Is An App Store For Web Developers

App StoreIf you’re a user of WordPress or any other content management system, the process for adding new functionality is straightforward. You decide what you want to add, search for a plugin that does the trick, install it, and voilà. The process for web developers is a little different. Even assuming there already exists a JQuery or JavaScript library that does what they want, they still have to write the necessary code to integrate it neatly into their site. If it doesn’t already exist, then they have to write the code themselves. I’m sure some will balk at the idea, but wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to simply install new features on a site without any of the hassle?

That’s the idea behind Eager, a tool from some ex-HubSpot employees. I’ll explain with an example. As I’ve said before on this blog, I’m a web dev dilettante; I like to play around with building sites, but I’m not an expert by any means. When an article about better link underlining popped up in my Twitter stream, I immediately wanted to implement it somewhere. I spent a few minutes studying the explanation of the technique and the CSS involved, and then I spent a few more minutes studying it, and then I gave up because didn’t understand any of it.

But then I noticed the call-to-action at the bottom of the article saying I could install “SmartUnderlines for free”, which seemed an antithetical concept to me since I wanted to install it on a website. As it turned out, the process was quite straightforward.

Simply drop a short snippet of JS into the head section of a site, and then navigate to the Eager app store, which lists all of the available “apps”, many of which are cool tools like PACE from the HubSpot team. You choose the app you want to install and the site you want to install it on, and you’re good to go. It took a couple of minutes and when I refreshed my site, my links had proper underlining.

The number of apps in the store (which are free for the moment) is fairly limited, but it includes favorites like Google Analytics, Gaug.es, Underscore, PACE, Bootstrap, and Disqus.

In reality, Eager is a simply an elegant interface for a process that many developers know forwards and backwards, but it has a lot of potential, especially as the number of available apps increases.

I think it’ll be especially useful for novice web developers who have jumped on board the static site trend. Many bloggers want to take control of their site and get closer to the technologies that go into creating a web presence, but they aren’t ready to delve deep into JQuery and JavaScript. Eager allows them to add fairly advanced features to a static site with a few clicks.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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  • Zack from Eager here. This is a great writeup! Feel free to reply to this comment with any comments or questions about Eager you might have.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Zack! It’s great to see that you make yourself available. Users surely appreciate this level of commitment.