The versatile (and inexpensive) Raspberry Pi serves as an excellent platform to build all sorts of neat gadgets. There are resources available on the web to steer you in the right direction if you aren't the greatest coder in the world but even still, it's entirely plausible that you'll eventually run out of ideas.

That's where Google's Creative Lab comes in. Working with a small team in New York, Google employees Jason Striegel and Jeff Baxter have been working on a new project called Coder. It allows users to turn the tiny machine into a simple web server complete with a web-based development environment.

It takes less than 10 minutes to install Coder. After downloading the installer, simply load it onto an SD card, plug it into the machine and point your browser to coder.local. You'll have everything you need at your disposal to build CSS, HTML and JavaScript-based apps.

It was designed to give educators and parents a private environment in which to build and test web programs. Even if you already know how to write code, it could serve as a solid sandbox for which to debug projects or experiment with fresh ideas.

The original plan was to polish Coder to make it a more complete offering but the idea of getting the open source platform in the hands of developers ASAP was a more attractive proposition. This will give the team valuable feedback on how individuals might use it.