December 2015 Entries - Write Wise Blog

Write Wise 2015 Challenge

Thank you to everybody who entered the 2015 Challenge and also a big thank you to everybody who took the time to read the entries!

I had hoped the challenge would bring us all together again, to write stories together, and I think it has been a huge success. Well done everybody -- I think we produced three very unique, interesting stories.

Have a great Christmas!

Written by Aaron, Wednesday 23 December 2015

Challenge closes tomorrow and new features

The 2015 Writing Challenge closes tomorrow. Hopefully some of you have had the chance to get writing and enter! If so, I look forward to reading your work.

It's been a little while since I pushed v2.2 of Write Wise out, which introduced our new homepage. In the next month or two, I intend release two important updates:

  1. A new story reader.
  2. A new authentication system.

Starting with number 1 first: we've had the current reader for quite a while and it has served us well, but it's starting to show its age a bit. It was built in an era before mobiles ruled the web and, as a result, is a bit of a pain to use on non-desktop clients.

The new reader will be architecturally different from the rest of Write Wise (as it currently stands). Currently, when you load a page on Write Wise, the page is created on the server and sent to you, the client, fully formed.

For the new reader, I'm going to experiment with a different approach:

Write Wise Reader

Basically, an API will serve the data (chapters, cover images etc) and the web page will dynamically retrieve the data and decide how to display that data. Instead of the server retrieving the data and working out how to display the data, the clients will make a request for the data and handle the displaying themselves.

What are the advantages of this? Well, for one, it separates the data and presentation layers. This means that we could, in theory, have a Write Wise mobile application use the same data endpoint to retrieve the stories and display them on a native mobile app.

The main benefit I'm hoping to see, however, is in performance. Instead of having to re-render the entire page, when the user clicks 'Next' the web application will make a request for the next chapter and simply update the existing page with the new data.

This is something of a personal experiment. It is a total departure from how I have made websites in the past, so I'm open to this proving to be something of a failure. Time will tell!

The new authentication system is functionally very critical to the "modernising Write Wise" project. The current authentication system was one I wrote way back in 2011. Its API is very dated and clunky to use and it makes writing the new Write Wise a total chore.

I intend to replace it with a new authentication system, with a simpler API, that hooks into the Potato Journal account system. This means that you'll be able to log into Write Wise using your Potato Journal account, hopefully finally putting to rest Potato ID.

Write Wise has a lot of exciting potential ahead! All of these technological changes are important, but it's you -- the writers -- who make Write Wise what it is. So, thanks for continuing to contribute to the site.

Written by Aaron, Saturday 19 December 2015