I'm pleased to announce the release of my first publicly available APEX application. It's a tracker for your progress through National Novel Writing Month; here's a…trailer? presentation? um…teaser for it:
Of course, it's an initial release, so there may be some issues (though as noted before, many of those got caught in the documentation phase), and there are new features that I'm looking forward to adding (soon!).
Some history: when my wife first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2003, we quickly realized that the standard “Just write 1,667 words per day” advice falls short of the reality–some days you're busier than others, and so can't write as much. And if you don't plan for those and write more on the days you can, then you will fall behind, get frustrated, and (probably) quit. So I put together a file in Excel which adjusted how much she needed to write based on her expected availability, and it worked very well. (Yes, she made her target!) I used the file when I tried my hand at NaNo in 2009, and believe that it helped me to win as well.
But the problem with the Excel file was that it wasn't very easy to customize. Each time it was reused, I needed to tweak its setup; if I used it for something other than a 30-day challenge (which we did), I needed to do a fair amount of work to fix the math.
Enter APEX. Since it's driven by a real database, I can build it once and let the database handle the logic. If I want to set up a new challenge, it's as simple as creating a new record with start and end dates and a total target; everything else happens automatically. (I'm using some tricks to make this happen, which I'll be blogging about soon.)
I had a lot of fun participating in NaNoWriMo last year, and am pleased to be able to contribute to the enjoyment of others by making this tool available.
Update: As oh-so-gently pointed out to me below, I neglected to post any screenshots. To rectify that, you can view a bunch here