WordKeeperAlpha Update

I’ve been promising an update on WordKeeperAlpha for a while now. While I haven’t provided that update, I have been working on it.

My project for a while now has been updating the Projects and Goals page, which currently shoves them all into the same page. What I’ve been working on is breaking them out into their own pages, adding new functionality, working on some new graphs and building a new API backend to support everything. For the non-programmers, the API backend is both to make the site faster in general, and a beginning step to making WordKeeperAlpha smartphone app. That’s still a ways off yet, but this is the first step toward making that happen.

This update has taken so long because of that background work. I’ve had technical issues that have taken way too long to get sorted out, mostly because I can only work on it during my free time. Now, though, I’ve gotten those technical issues solved. The backend is in place, and I’ll be able to expand on it much easier. Once this major update is out, I’m going to devote some time to fixing some of the non-critical bugs that have been reported, update the graphing software that I finally purchased a license for and do some other light updates

Once this major update is out, I’m going to devote some time to fixing some of the non-critical bugs that have been reported, update the graphing software that I finally purchased a license for and do some other light updates before I start working on another major feature. I’ve been focused on this for too long, and I do want to get to work on a social aspect to WKA. Anyway, that’s it for right now. I’ll be back with you in a week or two when I launch the new features!


WordKeeperAlpha Update 12/2014

Wow… So this month has been a little bit crazy.  Yeah, National Novel Writing Month didn’t help, but MAN it’s been crazy for Word Keeper Alpha too.  Here I was, minding my own business, when I decide to look at my traffic numbers…because that’s how I validate my worth as a person… and I notice that they have tripled.  Not only that, but all of a sudden I started getting all sorts of email from WordKeeper users … granted, most of them wanted to know how to delete word counts (more on that in a bit) but they also seemed to like it!  You can ask my wife.  I’ve probably been super annoying over the last week or so.

One of the reasons is because I got linked by PCMag.com (this article, toward the bottom) and they said nice things about WKA! I’ve also been getting traffic in from other places like writing.com and the nanowrimo.org forums.  I’ve now got over 200 registered users, and my daily traffic has better than tripled!  I could not be more excited about this.  I’m just happy that people are finding and using this thing I made.

Of course, that means I have to keep polishing of the rough edges, and the roughest edge that’s been pointed out, so far, is that people can’t delete or update their word counts.  If you’re a user, and you’ve run into this, I really apologize.  Part of the problem of developing something to use yourself, is that you know exactly how to use it, and never consider that someone might come in, make a mistake, and then want a way to fix it.  I mean, everything makes perfect sense to me, the guy who made it… Yeah, I should have thought about that.  So, my bad.

Don’t leave in frustration!  I’ve read your emails (just the ones you sent me, the government is busy reading the rest) and this is my top priority now.  This weekend I’ll be rolling my programmer sleeves up (metaphorically, because my computer room gets DAMN cold) and getting this thing done.  I’ll put up a notice here, and on WKA when this function is out and ready to use.  After that, I’ll probably work on revamping how the goal graph works, so that you can use more than just the Monthly goal on it.

I’ve got even more stuff in the works, including a more organized and sensible About page, the ability to share your progress on your blog (bit bigger job that), public profile pages, collaboration and much more.  Trust me, my work on WordKeeperAlpha is far from finished and you will all reap the benefits.  Until then, I hope you enjoy using it.  Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments or get in touch via the Contact page.


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! 😉


An end of year update – Merry Christmas!

Sorry I've been quiet since my mid-NaNoWriMo update. I'd like to say that I've been super busy getting stuff done and finishing up my project from November, but the truth is that I've been super-lazy. Granted, I have been doing some work on Edge of December, but I've mostly been screwing around catching and trianing my Pokemons. Delphox will totally kick your ass, so back off.

That being said, I'm back in the game. I've got a nice long break for the rest of the year and a little into next that I'm going to (hopefully) use to get some serious work done. December was supposed to be to finish up my NaNo project and kick WordKeeper V 2.0 out, so I'm hoping that I can still get at least one of those done. I also have the added goal of figuring out how to end out the current Arc of Edge of December. Granted, a lot of work for the few days I have, and not everything is going to get done, but I'm sure I can make some serious headway.

Most of my design work is done for the new version of WKA. All that's left is a few smaller pages and finishing the design of the social aspect. That, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. It might be a little bit of trial and error until I find something that works. Version 2.0 will be significantly more fully featured than the current generation, with a bit of social built in, some Twitter and Facebook integration, a nifty little tool that counts the words you've written and a much more advanced graphing utility to track your progress. Also, I'm integrating projects so that you'll be able to set goals per project and track them independently. Once I have it done, it will be a pretty awesome way to keep track of your writing trends and hopefully inspire you to write more.

Once December is over, I'm starting work back up on Impervious, with the goal of pushing right through the second draft, at which point I'll be looking for some Beta readers. While the beta reading is in progress, I'll finish out book 2, and maybe get a start on book 3.

Though I did spend a fair amount of time screwing around this year, I've actually written more than I ever have previously. According to WordKeeper I've written some 85,000 words since I started it at the start of the year, and had a few really good months before I got it up and running. I'm guessing that I wrote at least 100,000 words this year, which isn't bad at all! I finished up Impervious, split off Unstoppable from the vast expance that was the original draft, got started on the second draft of Impervious, got WordKeeperAlpha up and running, started on the second version of WKA, got a new blog up and running (though I need to keep it better updated), made several new writer friends online and finished NaNoWriMo again with a brand new story! None of this takes into account the awesome stuff that Glenn and I have been doing over at Edge of December where we Kickstarted our first book, and put out several eBooks. We're getting really close to finishing out the current Arc of the story, which is going to be HUGE!

Granted, that's not quite the goals I had set at the beginning of the year last year. I wanted to get a few more short stories written and submitted to various venues, and have closer to 125,000 words written, but I'm still really happy with everything I've gotten done! If I can keep up this pace, I'll have my first book done and available in 2014 with a second and third following close on its heels! That's super exciting and will serve to motivate me! There's going to be a lot of awesome stuff happening next year, so make sure to stay tuned. Hopefully I'll be a lot better at maintaining the blog and putting up some more articles that are more than just status updates between my long absences.

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you celebrate them. I should be putting out one more update before the new year with some updates on WKA, but if that doesn't happen then everyone have a good rest of the year!


Quick NaNoWriMo update

Salutations peasants! It is I, your mighty blogger king, finally returned from my quest for … y'know stuff. Thanks for not rebelling in my absensce or burning stuff to the ground. That was awful considerate of you. Also, in your place I completely would have burned something down. Just sayin'. But I'm back, and so are all the guards and also Steve the headsman. So everybody back to work or Steve get's all choppy.

Speaking of work, we're now nine days into November which means that we're nine days into National Write a Novel Month. I'm participating for the second time this year, after my fantastic, if unofficial, win last year. This year I've got a daily goal of 2000 words a day to help me build up a nice buffer for later in the month when Thanksgiving happens and I can't write for three days.

So far I have 14977 words written, which means I'm about a day ahead (since its the start of the day and I have yet to write). My wife hasn't seen much of me since the beginning of the month, but I think she's enjoying that.

I'm keeping it short today, because I've got other words to write that are not blog type words. I'll check in here every few days with a quick update, if for posterity more than anything else. To anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo, good luck and keep writing!