Writers' Village Announcements

Stay up to date with what's happening on the site.

RubyMiner

on Wednesday, 03 Jun 2020 5:05 AM
Hello everyone! We've been evaluating the future of this website and have made a few goals that we wish to achieve that we are excited to be announcing today.

Site to be renamed to Writers' Village

Firstly, we will be renaming this website to Writers' Village. We want to emphasize our focus on the writing community as a community. You'll note we used the name FreeFiction which was created at the beginning because our focus was on creating a free and open source alternative to FanFiction, but after months to over a year now of letting ideas naturally form on their own, this website started becoming less like a copy of another website to becoming something on it's own.

We've implemented many features so far into this that prove this to be the case such as:
  • Personalised reading time estimator (based on how long it takes for you to read)
  • This very community feature that anyone can create
  • Custom themes for profiles and the overall UI
  • An in-depth feedback and reaction system for each writer's story

We've still got many other fresh ideas that we want to explore too! You can check them out on our board here. But just to name a few, we plan on adding:

  • Dark mode and font switcher
  • Bookmark a story to save your progress
  • A story planner for writers to create and reference throughout the writing process.
  • Achievements and badges, notifications, and private messaging
  • And of course, many more.

A new theme is approaching!

But what we really want to talk about is that we've finally got a new theme for this website. Yes, a theme! What theme exactly? Medieval! Yes, we're going medieval on this website. That's not to say that we're only accepting medieval stories. But this website needs a face that is relatable. We could have went with sci-fi, contemporary, or even something new entirely, however, we can only pick one theme! If medieval is your favourite, then you're lucky. However, we still want to keep a modern look 'n' feel so it's going to take ages before this will come to fruition. It will be in the BETA v3.0 update.

We also have plans on creating a mascot because why not? Mascots are a fun thing to create for a website that's focused on the community. But this mascot has to reflect and represent the community for what it's for. We also plan on making stories based off of this mascot. How exciting?

Discontinuation of the FreeFiction Twitter account

However, we've got some things we need to address. We won't be using Twitter anymore to post our announcements. This was our primary method of communicating directly with the writing community, and while people would think it would be a smart move to still keep using it to promote the website, we're not here to promote a business. We're not a company.

Twitter is a social media platform that emphasizes on making small posts that are, by design, unable to contain much depth for explanation because of the imposed character count limit. While Twitter is great at getting your message across to lots of people, particularly if you have a big following, we are not desperate for new users to join our website. We also do not like having an imposed character limit so low. While having structure gives you freedom, too much structure can also suffocate you. And while you can break everything into separate tweets, it's really jarring to read and also write with.

Twitter is very heavily focused on people making lots of short tweets daily. I personally cannot handle making so many little posts in one day. Yes, I do love to engage with the community, however, I prefer to do so via other creative means like creating useful features for the community or writing stories that people will find interesting. There's also the Discord group and the community pages on this website for discussing things with the community. 

What's in it for the future?

Writers' Village is in this for the long haul. We don't want fast growth and thankfully it's not gonna happen anyway. We expect we'll have a reasonably sized community within 10 years. Over time when more stories are added, it will give this platform more reason for people to use. Slow and steady wins the race! Most platforms on the internet don't tend to gain traction anyway until many years later like what happened to Reddit, Wattpad, and Facebook, just to name a few!

Release plans and technical details

There hasn't been much development going on. However, we do have a list of things we need to do in order.

BETA v2.5 release
This release focuses on some more core functionality. This doesn't include all of the core functionality that we're going to be adding to the website. We're going to be adding a bunch more after v3.0. However, here is what we're doing for this release.

  • Async requests
  • Search by users and tags
  • Bookmark feature
  • Notifications

Once these features are sorted, we can push this update out. We were going to create an email server but we're going to wait until after v3.0 to make migrating to the new domain name easier.

BETA v3.0 release

  1. We need to work on redesigning the website. This includes getting the right theme sorted with fonts, colours, layouts, graphics, and other various things that make up a good UI. 
  2. We have to switch over to docker from capistrano based deployment. This is actually already finished, except there are some bugs with assets not properly loading that needs work. For those wondering why the switch, Docker's modular approach makes it easy to debug and push code to production.
  3. Then we need to create a new server, while still keeping the live site active. Just so we can get it working and migrate the database over before pulling the plug. 
  4. Then we have to get a new domain name. Once we've got one, we can just simply point it to the new server and remove the old one.

BETA v3.1 release
  • This will just include the email server for now.

BETA v3.5 release
This release will include even more core functionality. By this time, I expect there to be various bug fixes as well with the UI and such. But we will see.

Potential stable release?
You might be wondering when will we ever enter stable releases. This won't happen any time soon until we've gotten all of the core functionality out of the way and the new UI is at an acceptable level across many different devices with different browsers to a point that it's usable.

When we enter a stable release, we'll be giving the version number a 1 at the start. So it will be v1.X.X (stable) where X.X equates to what the version number was at before releasing stable. There's no real set standard for version numbers so it doesn't really matter a whole lot but it's fun to make up.

Anyway, that wraps up all there is. This is the first announcement post to be made on this website so it was a big one. Future announcements will most likely be smaller. Feel free to leave in any questions or comments. If you have any suggestions on what this website should have, feel free to make a post on the suggestion page.