I wanted to get community feedback on some of the things we're thinking about for Coding4Fun V2. Below is a list of changes I sent to some C4F authors asking their thoughts (many of which I've added below) and I'd love to hear your feedback:
Coding4Fun v2 Proposed Changes
- UI Redesign - It needs to be done or at least refreshed in my opinion.
- Content Reorganization - Right now the content is basically all over the place. I’d like to organize and put all of our content into four big buckets:
- Daily Updates – I'd love to have daily updates covering the topics listed above or other cool, relevant content for C4F'ers. I'm thinking something like the awesome work Phil Torrone does with Makezine.
- Content Submission – To be honest, this is our biggest pain point as it's hard and laborious to get content on Coding4Fun today (there are literally 20-pages of detailed instructions). We're going back to our original design when we first launched Coding4Fun which is to have it driven completely off of a blog the way the home page headlines are today. We could even send vendors a customized - Word 2007 Blog Template that they can fill in and "boom" we're done.
- Code Samples - This is another laborious process that involves code-signing bits, obscure tools and, well, human intervention. For the bigger, more complex projects, we can put them on CodePlex, while the typical article sample could go on Channel9's Sandbox
- Multi-Language – People like Coding4Fun. They don't like having to choose a language to have fun. In short, everywhere possible we want both the article snippets and code samples to include both VB and C#.
- Community Involvement – This is a tough one, but I really want to enable more community involvement, at its most basic this would be ratings and public comments. I do, however, dream of a Digg-Like system where people could rate/Digg code samples
- Coding4Fun Article Ideas – Wouldn't you love to be able to submit some cool idea that you don't know how to do, or to rate other people's ideas on what articles are (incredibly talented) authors can write about? I would and we may do this by modding the connect.microsoft.com infrastructure (think MSDN Product Feedback) or by creating a public wiki.
- Q&A/Ask the C4F Writers - Another idea we've been kicking around is having a Q&A column where you could write in questions and our talented authors could .
- Content Calendar – For both our authors, us, and our readers, it would be nice to know when articles will be posted or when we'll have special editions. For example, we know we’ll be doing a Halloween Coding4Fun Guide, a Halloween Gift Guide, and another April Fool’s Day guide.
- Content Templates - This is probably minor, but I'd like to add metadata to the article so you can see what's involved like:
- Category: Ex: Gaming
- Time Required: Ex: 30 minutes
- Difficulty: Ex: Intermediate
- Cost: Ex: $39 for used Web cam
- System Requirements: Ex: Managed DirectX December 2005 CTP, .NET Framework 2.0
- Category: Ex: Gaming
Other Off-the-Wall Ideas
- Community, Community, Community - Understood, we're seeing what we can do short term and long term 🙂
- UI Redesign Community Voting - Call this the Gundelroy-Factor, but Mike (and others) disliked our original tattoo'd guy on the Coding4Fun home page so we like Mike enough to change the picture. In short, we can have our graphic designer come up with a couple of templates and you, the community, would get to vote on the new site design.
- C4F'ies - This would be a once-a-year award for our favorite coding projects, hardware, utilities, hacks, mods, best user contribution, best reader question, most popular article, and more.
Short Term Pain
The tough part is that since we're rebuilding our infrastructure, we won't have new articles updated on the site for a few weeks, but we have some very cool articles literally sitting in my inbox. Here are two teasers for the articles I have now: (1) Scott Hanselman and fingerprints (2) Two Words: Unreal Tournament. Again, my apologies, but we'll be back much better than ever soon.
- What do you think about the suggestions above?
- If you could change three things about Coding4Fun, what would they be?
- Do you have any other whacky, crazy ideas that you think we should take on?