I’ve been checking campnanowrimo.org every few days since Camp NaNoWriMo was announced as official, and every day since mid-June. I poked around the Internet and discovered that the campnanowrimo.org domain was registered in 2009, so this idea has definitely been sitting for awhile. This afternoon I still hadn’t checked the site when one of my Twitter followers mentioned me on Twitter and said that the site appeared to be up. I went to the campnanowrimo.org site, and sure enough, there it was, all decked out in its camp glory. It’s a very simple site with a user profile, a home page, and a way to enter word count. No forums. The NaNoWriMo forums are the Camp NaNoWriMo forums. There’s also a feature that’s covered with a sign and appears to say My Cabin. This must be the new features launching in the August session of camp.
Since the Camp NaNo site is built on Ruby on Rails, and the new NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy sites will be built on the same, it’s worth looking around and seeing what features may be built into those new sites. All of this is wild guessing, but it’s still fun anyway. Most of the news is in the URL structure since the site’s so simple, but there are other things worth pondering.
My Camp NaNoWriMo profile is http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/sushimustwrite. Note the /campers/sushimustwrite. At the NaNo and Script Frenzy sites the URL is /users/3542, and under Xoops and phpBB the 3542 has always been there. The username in the URL is completely new. Could we see this URL change for the other sites?
This change could have some interesting consequences. The current API uses those numbers to fetch word counts and such. However, if a smartphone app is to be written (note: I don’t remember if that goal was reached this year for NaNo, but I could see such an app happening next year if not this year), the API would have to be rewritten anyway because the current one is read-only. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the API of a site lets people build cool things. Such an URL change could also make username changes interesting if the feature were implemented. Someone asks about the ability to change their username every year, and it was always difficult in the previous softwares. (Note: It wasn’t impossible, not even under Drupal. Staff member Sarah got her username changed when she joined the staff and kept her user id number. I’m guessing username changing takes a lot of computing resources.)
In further URL news, the About, FAQ, and other related pages’ URLs follow the /pages/ structure. So we have http://www.campnanowrimo.org/pages/about for the About page, http://www.campnanowrimo.org/pages/help for the FAQ, and so on. I really hope this catches on for the NaNo and Script Frenzy sites. It makes so much more sense than /node/a bunch of numbers.
Finally, what is this My Cabin thing? We’re supposed to find out in August, but I won’t be doing Camp NaNo then. I need to work on other projects before the Three-Day Novel weekend. Will we be able to group ourselves into cabins and watch each other’s word counts? Will it be an advanced version of the widget that lets you track a certain group’s word counts? Will there be small forum groups? Will something similar, whatever it is, be included in the NaNo and Script Frenzy sites? The suspense builds. I’ll see you around the campfire on Friday!