WordKeeperAlpha Updates

Hey, everyone! I thought I’d pop on to let you know what’s been going on with WordKeeperAlpha since I went live a couple weeks ago.  I’ll admit, I probably got a little overexcited wanting to get it out and live in the real (digital) world.  There were some unfinished, unpolished bits, a few more bugs than I would have liked but my users (new and old) have been great at reporting them to me.  Here’s a couple things that I’ve done over the past couple weeks.

  • Added a tutorial for new users, currently stationed at http://wordkeeperalpha.com/about.aspx.  I’ve got some more plans and updates for this coming in the near future.
  • Finished the Author page.  Right now, its only used to update your email and change your password.  Later I’ll be adding sharing options.
  • Fixes to the registration / password change system.  Now you can feel free to use more complicated passwords.  Use strong passwords for everything, even for WordKeeper.
  • Finished fully integrating the sights new SSL Certificate.  I take everyone’s security seriously, and I’ll take every step I know how to do to make sure people are safe on WKA.
  • Made some changes (technical stuff) that just about halved the sites load time.
  • Various bug fixes.  Thanks for telling me about them!  The more you tell me about, the better WKA will work. 🙂

What I’m working on right now:

  • Updates to project deletion.  There were a few things I didn’t really think through enough, so there should be some updates coming.
  • Enter a word count on the wrong day?  Want to attribute it to a project that you just made?  I’m working on that.
  • Facebook sharing option.
  • Various other tweaks and fixes.

I’m going to have to work out exactly when and how I put out updates with new features…but then since its just me, I can keep something of a change log on here and ignore some of the standard doctrine with software release.  Right now, I’m leaning toward putting up one of these status updates every month.  This has the benefit of directing more people to my blog… Look, those reader stats are like crack!  Just gotta see how many people are using and reading and… *calms breathing*  I’m ok… I’m ok.  God… I may have a problem with numbers and the graphing thereof.

In other news, I’ve much more than doubled the number of registered users since launch … which sounds good on paper but there’s still under a hundred users, and probably only a handful who are active every day.  Still, its great my usage stats get to the point where the average is above even the highest peak for the last version of WordKeeper.  If you didn’t know, yes there was a previous version and it sucked.  It was hideous and as proud as I was when I first made it, I hate it now.  Anyway, the average user session is around 6 minutes now which is AWESOME.  The drop rate (when someone comes to the site then leaves after viewing the first page) is always WAY down.  Amazingly so, in fact.  Really, I never expected WordKeeper to become an overnight success, so I’m really happy that people I’ve never met are using it and seemingly liking it.

Now that I’m done tooting my own horn, it’s time for me to ask you to start tooting my horn.  … …  That sounds awkward, but we’re all friends now, right?  Ok.  Maybe we’re not THAT good of friends.  Still, if you like WordKeeperAlpha, consider sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  Consider giving my Facebook page a like, or following along on Twitter.  These little things help spread the word and also make me feel better about myself as a person.


WordKeeperAlpha is live!

Well, I'm rather sick of coding in my off hours now, but WordKeeperAlpha is pretty much fully functional and working for everyone, not just me. Just about the only thing lacking at this point is the tutorial… so … yeah. That's next on my to do list. Really though, now that its up and working I want to just take the rest of the year off of development and work on my book. That's actually the plan. I finished this version of WordKeeper, and I'm not going to be working on any more features until Impervious is done with its third draft.

That means some features that I've been wanting to work on will have to wait, but thems the breaks. I've gone almost two months without writing so much as a word on Impervious, while coding on WordKeeper in almost every free minute. If I can devote half of the effort to Impervious that I gave to WordKeeper over the past couple of months, I'll have that book done and polished by the end of the year. As it is, WordKeeper is telling me to finish my 120,000 word goal by the end of the year, I'll need to be writing better than 800 words per day on it. Which is certainly doable…I just need to do it.

Just a quick update for tonight. No pictures, no fancy deep thoughts. If you read this and you're interested in giving WordKeeper a try, head on over. If you'd like to keep up to date on the latest news, you can follow along on Twitter or my brand new Facebook page. I'll see you there.

 


August: The month of where I guess I don’t write

Granted, its been a very mild summer, but August is still a helluva reason to keep inside. Which is good! I don’t write or code very well outside. Trust me, I’ve considered it, even tried it a time or two but it just doesn’t work out well. The glare on the iPad impairs writing, or the bugs are distracting, or the heat is soul-crushing. No no. I was made to be an indoor creature. Melding into my seat and becoming one with the machine. Beep boop beep.

So, we’re 21 days into August now and I still have yet to put finger to keyboard in any sort of writing. While normally, this would constitute a soul-crushing failure on my part, its mostly because I’ve been pouring effort onto WordKeeperAlpha to get it done and out this month. The great news is that I should be able to do just that! The bad news is that every time I look at my writing graph I see THIS:

Graph of no writing

 

Ugh… that flat line accuses me. It mocks me. Moreover, the characters from Impervious are bouncing around in my head, leading rebellions and killing each other every time I start listening to music. Once WordKeeper is out, I won’t be looking at it for a month. I’m going to set myself a nice big writing goal and go to town on it.  It’s about time to start gearing up for NaNaWriMo at any rate.  I’ve got a lot of words to write before the year is over, and I should be able to do that a lot easier with WordKeeper finished, or at least the base features done.

While I’m cleaning up the remaining code and polishing things off, I’m also identifying the next set of features that I’ll be working on and rolling out over the coming months.

  • Blog integration
  • Rewards for completing goals
  • Challenges (1k in an hour) (Don’t know how in the hell I’m going to do that one)
  • Trophies and XP (for more gamification)
  • Author pages so that you can share your progress

I’ve seen a few other projects that are doing some of the things that I’m doing, but no one is really focusing on motivation and word metrics like I am.  I really think that if I can get WordKeeper going and get it a following that I can keep it the best motivational tool for writers our there.  I suppose I have to make it that first, don’t I?  *sigh* Its back to work then, I guess.  At least, after a nice walk in this beautiful August weather.


WordKeeperAlpha Update: Where its been and where its going.

Its been a while since I posted anything specific on WordKeeperAlpha, so I thought I’d update everyone on exactly how its going and how far away 2.0 is.

During the course of development last week I noticed that I had ten more users than I had previously noted which is both encouraging and disappointing.  Encouraging because that’s easily twice the people than were previously signed up!  That’s awesome.  Discouraging because all of them are getting their first Impressions of WordKeeper from the ugly ass old version.  Lets take a second to compare.  This is the current main page:

 

Old Landing

This is what its going to look like as soon as I hit publish in a month or three:

New Home Page

This is what I have for graphing right now:

Old Graphing

Blech! Right?  It doesn’t even actually work.  I thought it worked for a little while, then around the time I was designing the new version I noticed that it never changed, never kept up… It was broken to the core.  WordKeeper 2.0 is going to start off with 4 graphs!  Not 2.  Not 3.  But 4!   They’re not powered by some crappy code that I just threw together, but powered by Highcharts, an awesome javascript graphing library that I’m acquiring at no small cost to myself.  I mean that… That shit is expensive, but you guys are worth it.  Here are the graphs you’ll see right at the beginning:

New Graph 1 Yearly Graph
Monthly Goal Graph

I’ve gone mildly crazy in the data generation for those bad boys, and you’ll be able to do a lot of neat things with them that you can’t see in a jpeg.  Enough of that though.  Next up is goals!  Goals is the section of the site that I’m currently working on and just got the initial code working for.  Here’s how the goals look right now:

Old Goals

This is the new hotness!

Goals and Projects

Yes, I used the word ‘hotness’.  Shut up.  I’m excited.   I’m still working on a few of the features for the new goals, but already they are much better than the old ones.  Soon, you’ll be able to update your other goals automatically, or individually (which is a huge pain.)   Once I have the bugs worked out of goals I’ll tackle Projects, which will be a beast all on its own.  You can see what to expect up above.

Unfortunately, I still have a ton of work left to do.  A lot of the code is working only in the sense that I know how to use it without breaking things, so there’s going to be a lot of debugging.

Now, for all of my current users, I have an important question.  I’m sick of the old version being online, generally being ugly and not up to my new standards.  What would you think if I put up version 2.0 in beta form BEFORE I get the Projects code done?  I’d essentially be turning you all into beta testers, but you’d honestly get a LOT more utility out of it, even if I were to put it up now.  I’m certainly willing to work with you and set up projects for you behind the scenes (until the code works).  I’d ask that you report any errors that you find, but it would probably speed up development and final deployment a LOT…and it would get the eyesore that is WKA 1.0 off the internet.  I’d really like to know, so please, post a comment here if you have an opinion.

P.S. Sorry about any breakage that the current WKA is suffering.  Publishing the new version will help with that! 😉


Writing Weekend!

Yeah, so my last post was a little heavy handed. I'd apologize, but honestly I'd like to start doing some more posts like that. Things that are more than just status updates, posts about what I'm reading and writing. Every now and again, just talking about things like that seems like I'm taking the easy route. I should be taking advantage of this soap box and telling you all what I think about EVERYTHING! That would probably be a little more interesting than the status quo, right? That and more pictures. Maybe some kittens? People on the internet like kittens. Maybe I'll do a top ten list sometime. The internet also seems to like those.

What can I say? I'm willing to caper and dance for a few more hits to justify my existence.

That being said, I'm not doing any of that tonight. Tonight its a pure puff and status update. First off, I just got done reading Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. I wish I was half as good at weaving a story as that man. Ok, maybe I really wish I was just as good or better, but if I were half as good I'd still probably be three times the author I am now. If you haven't read Way of Kings, Words of Radiance or other Sanderson books, you really should. He's pretty much THE guy in Epic Fantasy. Of course, you'll also need to set aside a solid chunk of time, since when he sets about writing a book, his actual goal is to depopulate a forest with his mighty tomes. Words of Radiance clocked in at over a thousand pages and Way of Kings was longer (I think).

After I finished, I spent the next hour just lying in bed thinking about all the sh*t that happened in the last hundred pages and how big a deal it was, within the world. <spoiler>NIGHTBLOOD!!!1! OMG!</spoiler> That should be vague enough that I shouldn't anger anyone.

Work on WordKeeperAlpha continues. I think that I've finally got the main page squared away, save for a few details. The new graphing method works great and should be easily extendable to other graphs as I think them up or they're requested. I've decided to roll the Projects functionality into the Progress page, which lessens the pages I have to make by 1, but increases the difficulty of that page to finish. The good news is that once that's done, WordKeeperAlpha will pretty much be ready to replace the old one.

Thanks to the judicious use of vacation time and a federal holiday, I have a four day weekend starting tomorrow. I intend to use it to catch up on some of the writing that I've been neglecting over the past week. WordKeepers stats are telling me that I've been slacking off way too much, so my goal is to get my average words per day up to 500 by the end of the month. That means either a busy weekend or a busy end of the month. Or more! Either way, I intend to get a chunk or two of Impervious done.

Right now, I'm in one of my favoritest pubs, drinking a tasty cider and have gotten two different character profiles done since arriving. I love writing in pubs, but its a little more expensive than my normal Panera Bread haunt. I'll be moving there tomorrow to get things done. The only thing better than the pastries is free refills of iced tea.

I think that about covers the status update for this week. I have no idea when I'll get around to another meaty post again. Probably the next time that something ticks me off. I'm looking at you FCC.