Welcome To 2018!
 Happy New Year!

2018 has arrived and 2017 is firmly behind us. As you may have noticed, the last couple of updates just didn't happen. The holidays limited my time quite a bit more than anticipated, both for development and actually writing updates. In the end, I did little of either and focused mostly on writing fiction. Really, there's been no "recent" progress to talk about.

Typically, when a new year comes along, it's time to look in the rearview mirror, to see all the things you've accomplished. Although I could go into detail about all the changes that have been made, all the new features added, I'm satisfied, I think, to put my accomplishment down with one sentence.

The beta of the Online Writing Log was launched.

There you have it. Ok so sure, there's more to it than that but if you've been following the progress, you already know what's been going on. If you're new, I'll spare you the details. To be honest, with everything launching the beta involved, that's good enough for me. So instead of dwelling on details of the past, let's look into the future. What's next for the Online Writing Log?

Cleanup, Fixes, Additions

Nobody really likes to clean, right? Cleaning an app isn't much fun either but it's one of those things that need to be done. Currently, OWL has a lot of little pieces that need to be cleaned up, added or fixed, things I'll be working on this month. This includes:

  • The new chart on the goals page needs to be tweaked. The cumulative sum is off by a day, somehow.
  • The progress and goals on the log page need to properly reflect the activity based on the drop-down. This could be time-consuming but in order for other activities to be able to used as goals, this needs to work.
  • The date/time fields in the activity logs will need to be split into separate date and time fields for several presentation related issues. This will be a bit of experimenting to see what works best.
  • The dashboard has been very neglected. It needs a lot of love, including ways to filter the data you see and so on.
  • Notifications, notifications - I need to finish building proper notifications so that you can just look at the icon to see if there are any updates as opposed to heading straight to the news and updates page. My plan is to instead send you directly to the activities page and if there's an update, you'll see it from there.
  • A bunch of other smaller things, including speeding up existing processes.
  • There's something fishy with time and date stamps still going on, something related to time-zones. I still need to figure this out, partially to support future features.

Plans For The Future

Of course, beyond the cleanup, I have plenty of ideas for the future, some of which are already partially implemented. I work on them a bit here and there as time allows. Some of them, like leaderboards, are already processing data in order for me to determine how to best collect the data. Anyway, so here's a list of what's on the drawing board:

  • Updated website
    • Although the
  • Project improvements,
    • Separate page for each project, with stats, timelines, achievements etc.
    • Add the ability to add a due date (This one may come sooner than later)
  • Goal improvements
    • Set goal based on project timelines
  • Dashoard improvements
    • The current charts show info but they're not customizable so it's hard to really see how you're doing. I'll be adding options to this soon.
  • Leaderboards
    • Daily, Weekly and Monthly leaderboards are being considered.
  • Achivements/Badges
    • Standard achievements for things like reaching daily goals, monthly goals, finishing projects etc.
    • Custom achivements set by users for challenges etc.
  • Challenges
    • Monthly challenges is the first thing to come to mind, along the lines of setting up a challenge for NaNoWriMo, the Monthly Writing Challenge on Twitter etc. In other words, ways to keep users engaged.
    • The challenges could include things like user invites, message boards, stats and so on.
    • OWL-run challenges and user-run challenges
  • Social features
    • Follow others, chat, do word sprints together etc. There's a lot of possibilities here.
  • Premium features
    • Premium features is still on the drawing board but these could include things like customizing the app, adding your own categories, activities, challenges and more. Ultimately, we'll see what this all entails.

Of course, my mind goes in all kinds of directions when I think of what's possible so obviously, all of the above will take time to work through and make it work. I'm looking forward to what the next few months hold and I hope you'll join me on the journey, the goal of which is helping you find a tool to help keep you motivated in your own writings.

So, with that, Happy New Year!