WordKeeperAlpha – July Update (Comments requested)

Happy ‘Murica day, folks! Hope that you went out and blowed some stuff up last night, drank some tasty drinks, ate some meat what was cooked on a grill. June was something of a slow month on WordKeeperAlpha when it comes to updates.  I was kept pretty busy with a certain troublemaker, pictured below, my anniversary and various other things.  Oh, yeah.  And writing.  Can’t forget about writing.

Pixel Trouble Swanson Pixel Trouble Swanson

July, however, is going to be a much bigger month.  I got to finally dig into things again today and set about updating files on the site that were falling behind.  Updated my version of bootstrap, and the theme that uses it, along with all the javascipt it relies on.  Sadly, that took a while, but I am working on some big new features.  Here’s what’s coming this month: (hopefully)

Addressing one of the biggest requests that I’ve gotten from you fine people, I’m going to be doing a major revamp of the Goal and Project pages.  I’m going to be separating them into separate pages and adding a host of new features to each one.  Among those features, is going to be choosing what Goal and Project graphs show up on you Home page.

On the Goals page I’m going to be adding statistics, such as: your words per day on a goal, the words per day you need to succed, stats on recurring goals (maybe) along with graphs for every goal, which you’ll be able to mark as favorites to show up on your home page.

The Projects page will include all the statistics that you see on the current incarnation of Projects, but include some more helpful stats.  I’ll also be adding graphs to each Project that you’ll be able to mark as favorites and add them to your home page.

Until I have some screen shots to show you what I’m working up, you’ll just have to trust me that you’re going to like it.  Other things that I’m thinking about, but not actively working on:

  • That thrice damned error that keeps the ‘Remember me’ button from working correctly on login.  I’ve spent hours and hours on this and as near as I can tell, I’m doing everything right but it just won’t stick! URG!!
  • Finishing the API, making a WordPress plugin that uses it.  WIll let you put your Goal and Project Progress up on your blog or website.
  • Author pages, the beginning of WordKeeperAlpha social.
  • Writing Sprints – more social stuff.
  • Writing groups – even MORE social stuff.

Those are the things that are on my plate right now.  That and one other thing.  Its been suggested to me a few times that I should do something to make some money off of WordKeeperAlpha.  My vision for it has always been to keep it completely free, and ad free, maybe put up a donation page or start a Patreon.  Buuuuuut, there’s always the possibility that if enough people were using WordKeeperAlpha, I’d be able to make enough money with it to make it my full time job, OR make it my part time job and writing my full time job (if I can make some money writing too…which I still need to finish a book for).  Still, I’ve promised that WordKeeperAlpha would always be free, and I’m willing to stick to that.  In fact, I refuse to charge for the core features that I’ve already developed.

My question is, and I’d really love some feedback here, what would you, my users prefer?  If I started a Patreon and a tip jar, would you donate or participate in the Patreon, were I to keep all features free forever?  What if I supplemented that with some light to moderate ads?  I know nobody likes ads, but they might be needed when I need to move WordKeeper off of shared hosting and to a dedicated server somewhere.  That sort of support doesn’t come free.  I know, I’ve been investigating it.  Another option is having some kind of “Prime” membership where everyone gets the basic features for free, but maybe API support and some of the more advanced social options or other features require a monthly membership?  I’m really not sure, so I thought I would ask for some of your opinions.  What do you think I should do?  When the time comes, that is.  This is probably a year or more down the road.  Rest assured, I will not be taking anything away from my existing and wonderful users, but these are things I have to think about.

However, if you’re looking for a way to support me now, consider giving WordKeeperAlpha a shout out to your writer friends on Twitter, or following me on Facebook, maybe write a blog post about your own experience?  All of these would help me find some more users, and drive me to pay more attention to coding and less to video games.  I’m not saying that new features are dependent on you guys helping me out, but there WAS just that big Steam sale.  Just sayin’.

Monthly update – WordkeeperAlpha & Impervious

Greetings fellow nerds. I write to you tonight from the comfort of my own home, drinking a nice Blue Moon Belgian Ale and listening to the new Nightwish album, Shudder Before the Beautiful.  Truly, life is good.  However, life has not been entirely productive this month.  Mid-month writing progress is kind of disappointing, as is work on WordKeeperAlpha.

I’ll admit it: I’ve kind of been wasting my free time for the past few weeks.  I’ve been hitting the video games a little hard and its been fun.  Soon enough, time gets away from you and you forget what in the hell you were even working on. Thankfully, last month went pretty well as I clocked in at just shy of fifteen thousand words.  My goal was to write for a total of twenty days, and I made nineteen.  That sort of goal seems to work best for getting my writing done.  You can kind of tell when I got serious about it.


April Writing - WordKeeperAlpha April writing – WordKeeperAlpha


With that knowledge, I’d have liked to do that again this month, but I’ve putzed away most of the days this month, and the rest of the month is filled with stuff.  I may be digging something of a hole, in terms of my word goals, that it will be hard to get out of.  Right now, I’m doing pretty well for my year goal, only being a few thousand behind total.  This month may be something of a low point for the year.  Speaking of which, here’s how that’s looking:


Graph for 2015, Generated by WordKeeperAlpha 2015 so Far – WordKeeperAlpha Graph


If you compare that to LAST year, I’m doing pretty good on my goals of writing more.  This is what last year looked like:


Graph of writing for 2014 Writing for 2014 – Graph by WordKeeperAlpha


Yeah, so if you were wondering, THIS is what’s so awesome about WordKeeperAlpha.  Being able to see that, despite how I feel, I really am doing better, is a huge boon.

So, I might not be making all my goals, but I have been getting much better about my writing.  And I’ve been focusing much better on Impervious.  I wish I was keeping to my one chapter a week goal, but as usual, there are extenuating circumstances.  Most of them are related to my inexperience in writing a whole epic fantasy novel.  Every now and again I come to a problem in the plot that can only be fixed by going back and doing about two weeks of work on worldbuilding and figuring out why something works the way I want it to.

Bah, but enough about that. While Impervious is my main project, I’m also working, if slowly, on WordKeeperAlpha.  So far this month, I’ve identified several areas to improve upon, marked down many new tasks to take upon myself for later versions and mostly played around with the code behind the scenes, making it a bit more robust and preparing it for future upgrades.  I know you, the users, might not notice much, but I AM working on it.

Something that’s really of note though, is that I’m rolling testing for the API.  By that I mean, the first function on the API is live and waiting for someone to try it out.  So, if you’ve got some coding know-how and want your blog readers to see your goals and progress on your blog or website, let me know and I’ll fill you in on what you need to know.  I’ve got another few features to finish before the whole API is good to go, but once it is I’ll work up some examples to make it more easily accessible for the non-tech savvy types.

Now, with my blogging duties done, I think I’ll get some work done on Impervious before I kick off for tonight. Later mi amigos.

Quick WordKeeperAlpha Status update

You know how you’re all ready to sit down and spend a rainy day writing at the coffee shop, you get there, and sit around for an hour just staring at your computer?  Yeah.  That’s where I am right now.  So, while my writing brain is spinning up, figuring out how to start this new chapter, I thought I would pop in and give you an update on what’s going on with WordKeeperAlpha!

Lets start off with ongoing issues.  I know there’s a problem with the site not remembering people past a couple hours.  That’s not supposed to be happening and I’ve been working on it for the longest period of time.  Its frustrating, for both you and for me, but as yet, I don’t know what the heck is going on.  I’ve tried out half a dozen different solutions, but nothing has really seemed to stick.  Rest assured, I’m looking into it.

The goal graph continues to be something that I’m working on.  Right now, the only goal it tracks is a monthly recurring goal without a project.  My aim is to have it so that you can have that track any Goal or Project, potentially seeing many different Goal graphs and selecting what you want to see as your default.  I’m also thinking of changing the goal graph to be the default graph, to be more like NaNoWriMo and provide a bit more motivation.  Still, this is a ways away from being fully functional.

New features:  I’m most focused on finishing up the API right now.  For those of you who aren’t coders, this will be a feature that will let you get your Project and Goal information and progress on other sites.  Once this is done, you’ll (or a coder acquiantance of yours) will be able to create a WordPress plugin or widget that gives a live feed of information off WordKeeperAlpha, so you can share your projects and progress with whoever you want.  Don’t worry, this will be something that you have to enable in your user settings page, so if you don’t want that data available, then it will stay safe.

I’m always refactoring the code for the site as I learn new techniques, but every time I do that, potential errors sneak into the code.  A special thanks to my users who report those problems to me as they occur.  I’m a one man team, so its all but impossible to catch everything. :-/

Social features are on the way, starting with the API, but then moving into public author pages, “friends”, writing groups, challenges and events.  My main focus, at the moment is finishing Impervious, but soon as that and the API are done, I’ll start in on some of the features that will allow more community involvement on WordKeeperAlpha.

Thanks to everyone who’s been using WordKeeperAlpha.  I’m up to over 400 registered users now, which is WAY more than I thought I would have by this time.  As always, I’m interested in your feedback, and can’t wait to hear about what you think of WKA and how it can help you write more and better.  Till next time, keep writing! 

The Ides of March – WordKeeperAlpha update

Alright.  So it isn’t really the “Ides” of March yet, but I like say “ides”.   But I digress (“Digress” is another word I like). Here we are, three and a half months into the year and what do I have to show for it?  Plenty!  You just may or may not notice it.  That’s because I’ve been diligently (kinda) working on bugs and other issues that have been reported to me by my wonderful users.

That isn’t sarcastic.  You guys really are wonderful and I really do appreciate it when you let me know when something isn’t working right.  As stated before, I’m only one man, and the likelyhood that I’ll find everything wrong with this Frankenstein’s Monster that I’ve cobbled together is minimal, especially when I think it works perfectly.  Trust me, I know it doesn’t.

WordKeeperAlpha development has is largely limited to the weekends now, while I focus more on getting my book done.  That doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like for adding new features, but I AM working on them.  If you haven’t noticed the bugs, I’m not going to lay them out for you here.  If you have noticed bugs, and they haven’t been fixed yet, please let me know, and I’ll make it a priority to fix.  One major one that has been repeatedly pointed out to me is that the “Remember Me” box isn’t working properly yet.  *sigh*  Don’t worry, I’m not sighing at you, I’m sighing at me.  I’ve though that I’ve had this stupid thing sorted out twice now, but every time I think I’ve got it whipped, it rears its ugly head once again.  I am working on it… in fact its my primary goal right now.  So please, bear with me for just a while longer.

Other feautres that I’m working on:

  1. Public author pages (don’t worry, you’ll chose if you have a public page or not.)
  2. An API, so that other people can develop WordPress or other blog plugin’s to share your progress and projects.
  3. A semi-public writing room and simple text-editor to accomidate word sprints. More on this below.

I’ve always wanted WordKeeperAlpha to be a more social experience for writers, but at the same time, I also don’t want to be the Facebook for authors.  There’s already one of those.  It’s called Facebook.  What I want is to create something that will let authors interact and motivate each other.  Motivation is the key here and I think word sprints are the first thing that I want to take a stab at.  I’ve been on the fence about it, since there are scads of different options for you to write in.   Hell, I’ve got no less than six apps on my iPad that I can write in, distraction free.  I don’t need to reinvent that particular wheel.  What I’m shooting for is a really simple writing environment that will let many authors participate in the same writing sprint.  It may work, it might not, but I’m going to try it and see what people think.

This, of course, is where you come in.  Do you think I’m going in the wrong direction with WordKeeperAlpha?  Is there something that you’d like to see more than a blog plugins or a feature that supports word sprints?  Do you think that would be the bee’s knees (I have yet to figure out why a bee having knees would be anything someone would be excited about)?  Leave me a comment and justify my exist…  I mean give me feedback on what you think I should do with WordKeeper next.

… … 

Seriously, someone leave me a comment.  Its way to quiet around here.

2015: Kicking in your door.

This is the annual blog post where I resolve to do things, to better myself as a human being. The problem with resolutions, is they tend to get left by the wayside as the year wears on and different problems take precedence. Or maybe that’s just for me. Still, its good to have goals, and one of the best ways of keeping to them, is to be able to track them and see how good you’re doing. Also, know your limits. You probably aren’t going to get six pack abs by July unless you’re also prepared to completely give up pizza and spend all your time in a gym. I’m prepared to do neither of these things. Here’s my resolutions: Continue reading…