As web designers, we always look for inspiration while creating new designs.
While browsing through our favorite sites, we wonder about the things like technology used to build those sites, which fonts were used in the design, which widgets were used and so on. Finding out all this information is not always possible due to technical limitations. However, a new powerful Chrome extension named “WhatRuns” will rapidly fetch all the data belonging to any site on web.
As an example, now you can easily find out that Twitter was built using PHP & Python. YouTube extensively utilizes fonts from Google and tools from the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). New York Times makes use of a library of fonts including some custom made ones.
Jijo Sunny, creator of WhatRuns, tells the story behind this extension. The extension was based on pattern recognition to fetch basic data for well known ad networks initially. It was then upgraded to recognize scripts, frameworks and technology. Eventually, the extension could detect each and every widget/component that runs behind the scenes of a site. While it’s still not full fledged as the creators are working to detect legacy technologies but otherwise it’s pretty much complete in the sense that it can detect all modern day tools, frameworks & components.
At this point, you might have realized the worth of this powerful extension. Lot of times, clients just say “I need a site like XYZ.com“. It’s easy for them to say it but for you as a designer, you have to undertake a massive task of finding the underlying technologies, frameworks & components used on the reference site. With this new extension, most of your work is cut off. With simple clicks, you will have access to all the information you need about a site.
Even for component design, WhatRuns is a Godsend for finding out innovative ways of implementing back-end tasks.