#5 - POS Tracker:
As someone who has run a lot of POS (Player Owned Structures), I know the bother that managing fuel levels and silos can be. Several attempts have been made at web-based apps to track POS fuel levels and provide warnings when they're getting low. POS Tracker 3.0.0 offers a complete solution in a desktop application, making it useful for anyone tasked with the job of looking after their corp or alliance's POS. POS Tracker has had its share of bugs and problems but is still tentatively under development, with the latest release being in April of this year. While other POS trackers may be available, this one appears to be a good tool for the job and anything that can make the life of a POS manager easier deserves a place in my top five.
#4 - EVE Commander:
Although originally met with a great deal of skepticism, EVE player "woddel" has kept up development and proven that his app works. EVE Commander is a web-based application for the management of everything EVE. There are screens for monitoring your market orders, monitoring the price of various items at the main trade hubs, organising your assets and ships, looking up your industry and research jobs, checking on your skills and much more. For giving players a web-based app they can use to keep tabs on EVE while at work, EVE commander shows a lot of promise. EVE Commander is in constant development, with the latest update being just under a month ago. Although I haven't given this app a proper test drive yet, it does look like one of the more useful web apps for EVE.
#3 - Capsuleer:
Possibly the most talked-about app for EVE yet is Capsuleer. It was the first major EVE app on the iPhone, now available on both the iPhone and iPod Touch. Capsuleer allows the user to access a wide range of data from the API and manage their EVE world on the move. With a highly polished and familiar look, Capsuleer allows players to keep tabs on everything from characters and skills to EVE news and server status. Massively took an in-depth look at Capsuleer 2.0 in April of this year, including an exclusive interview with one of its creators and some impressive screenshots of the app in action. For those with enough money to own an iPhone (damn you), this app is a must-have.
#2 - EVEMon:
EVEMon is one of EVE's oldest apps, created long before the EVE API was released. It's a desktop application that allows players not only to check up on their skill training but also develop a skill training plan. Although the app can't actually change your skills for you, it does pop up warnings and the new skill queue in EVE makes it even more useful than before. It originally required a user to either supply their username and password or provide an XML data dump of their EVE character. It has since been updated to use the EVE API key system and is surprisingly still under solid development while many of the other pioneering apps have long since faded into obscurity. EVEMon was probably the driving force behind the EVE API's creation and has certainly served as an inspiration to all current and future apps. For that reason, EVEMon easily takes my #2 slot.
#1 - EVE Fitting Tool:
Although several attempts at fitting tools had been made before EVE Fitting Tool's release, such as the popular Java program QuickFit, EFT took over as the de-facto standard tool for testing ship fittings due to its completeness and the fact that it's kept up to date. Next to EVEMon, EFT is possibly the most popular EVE app ever made. It offers users the ability to create theoretical ship fittings and view various stats on them. In addition to the kind of tanking information my own tanking spreadsheet used to provide, EFT comes with a lot more info and an easy-to-use interface for selecting ships and modules. It even uses the EVE API to download your character's skills and accounts for them when calculating ship and module stats. Perhaps the most useful aspect of EFT is its ability to let you copy your fitting to the clipboard in a standardised text format and paste it into forum threads or chat conversations. Even better is the fact that if you copy other people's fittings in that same format to the clipboard, EFT will recognise the format and add that setup to your list.
Player-developed apps and tools have been a big part of EVE for many years, from the first POS fuel spreadsheet or EVE database website to the professional quality apps we have today. Avatars United, an MMO social networking site, has recently launched a competition with cash prizes to see who can come up with the best new EVE app by September 2009. I hope you find these apps as invaluable as I and a lot of others in the EVE community have. And remember that while these five are my personal favourites, there are plenty of invaluable websites out there and new apps being released periodically. What's your favourite EVE app?
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com. SPREADSHEETS IN SPACE :D