Coding4Fun V2 Plans – Your Feedback Wanted

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:
    1. Hardware
    2. Windows
    3. Web
    4. Gaming

  • 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 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

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. 

Your Feedback

  1. What do you think about the suggestions above?
  2. If you could change three things about Coding4Fun, what would they be?
  3. Do you have any other whacky, crazy ideas that you think we should take on?

Comment Here


Comments (20)

  1. Mike Reid says:

    I think the ideas listed are great!  Especially the daily updates (and you’re right, Phil does a great job at Make.)  One typo: "or to rate other people’s ideas on what articles are (incredibly talented) authors can write about?"  I think you mean "our authors" rather than "are authors" (under "Coding4Fun Article Ideas.")

    Honestly, VS Express and Coding4Fun are great ideas that have moved me to delete Linux from one of my machines and re-install Windows.  I’m from the days of the 80s home computers: I expect a toy to tinker with as much as I want a word processor/web browser/gaming machine.  I haven’t had time to dive into Express too deeply yet, but I’m certainly planning on it!

  2. Mohammed Shareef says:

    Great ideas indeed…, I for one am really up for the Coding4Fun Article Ideas. It would be nice if we could atleast get some input as to how we can go about doing stuff. Also if the idea sounds great you guys could probably set up a guide/mentor for the project and it could updated on C4F

  3. David Graham says:

    I think most of your ideas are great. If I changed three things.

    1) More content

    2) More frequent updates give me a reason to drop by every day

    3) user community(Allow us to share how we have taken your ideas and ran with them)

  4. Olivier says:

    Updating the site on a more regular basis is a fantastic idea.  Currently I find the content is great but changes infrequently and I thus visit it less and less.  If content was kept fresh, I would be more inclined to visit the site more regularly.

  5. Dan Fernandez is the person in charge of the Coding 4 Fun web site and he is looking for suggestions…

  6. S|i(3_X says:

    UT Baby!

  7. Andy says:

    Getting the site to have more user feedback would be great. Although having a comment or discuss option would be nice a lot of people still do not interact and prefer a forum. This could be done but having any article comments linked to an actual forum thread.

    If there was a nicely laid out template it would certainly motivate me in submitting some tutorials.

    I check the C4F website daily, having it more interactive would be fantastic. Perhaps enlist some additional content administrators

  8. Andy says:

    Also if you look at the community at something like codeproject you can see why it is alive. User submitted articles, rating system and an area where others can discuss.

  9. Matt Porterfield says:

    I just found this and think it is great. But I do have some suggestions.

    1. Always have code in C# and VB

    2. Examples of the projects. Instead of lengthy explainations on what the project will do, have an example of the project the users can go to and see what the finished project should look like and what it should do.

    3. Lots and Lots more of Automation with computers and ASP.NET

  10. How about having an area on the website where high school students can show the types of programs they have been working on. It would give them some nice recognition and maybe some motivation to contribute. Prizes would be nice to have when they submit their program.

    Just a thought.

  11. Christian says:

    hi there,

    just some more updates would be really nice, the samples you’ve got now ROCKS… but the thing with updating each week doesn’t seem to hold 🙁 I’m checking in every saturday to see what’s been posted… and most of the times i have to go away again with empty hands 🙁

    more updates… would rock my world 🙂

  12. Steve says:

    Would love to see some new content, and somewhere where we can give feedback a bit more regularly.

    Love to see the in the box section, think its great to see something that affects more than just the screen!

    Would be really nice to see somewhere to lodge ideas for things we would like to see in articles to.

    Thanks for listening 🙂

  13. In outdor measurement (at sea in a kayak) you always lake battery power. So if you operate an datalogger with USB inteface it would be nice to steam your data direct to a harddisk (with USB) and live out a PC.  Could it be done ?

  14. from mars says:

    i really like this idea, well done for microsoft, projects like this designed for people who want to learn about programming, people who have that curiosity and imagination to create and have fun with technology while learn about top level programming tools and programming techniques is what every mind wants, and needs, and is what keeps this world running after all.

    i thought i will never said this but: is good to know that microsoft think on people like us.

    hope this place and the open doors keep open always, for now, thnx billy 😉

  15. shaaban says:

    hi thanks for all that

  16. Chua Wen Ching says:

    I agree with Christian on this one "and most of the times i have to go away again with empty hands :("

    Hope the coming v2 gonna rocks 😀

  17. As I mentioned in my previous post, we are redesigning Coding4Fun and we want *you* to help choose…

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