Write.app is Getting a Rewrite

Last year I announced that Write.app would not receive any more updates with the only exceptions being major bugs and security upgrades. Today I'm sort of going back on that and announcing big new plans for Write.app.

For the longest time I've been wanting to create a digital confessional. A place where people can anonymously share their secrets without their identities ever being revealed. A place where you can share self-destructing notes (like Snapchats but for notes).

At the same time I don't want the core idea behind Write.app to be lost so over this summer I plan to make some major updates to this site. You''ll still be able to write, store, and organize, your notes in both public and private. Users who bought a premium account will continue to have the same perks as usual and maybe a few more.

Here's what's changing

  • Moving from CodeIgniter to Laravel framework
  • Moving from the latest PHP 5.X version to PHP 7
  • Add self-destructing no ates
  • Self-destructing notes would work on a time-limited schedule as well (for example, if no one opens the note within a limited period of time it deletes itself)
  • Post anonymous notes publicly
  • Choose and create your own themes for your public notes pages, Tumblr style
  • Huge upgrades to the post editor. An updated UI is long overdue

So not too much is changing but the changes that are coming are pretty exciting. The most difficult part of this rewrite is going to be migrating your data from your current accounts to the new ones.

The transition should be seamless and you shouldn't be affected in any way. You''ll still log in the same as always but you'll suddenly notice additional features and a new design.

Support development

I encourage everyone to please sign up for a premium account to help fund the server costs and speed up the upgrade process. As a reminder, Write.app Premium accounts cost just $5. Not $5/month or $5/year. Nope. It's a single, one-time $5 payment to unlock premium features for as long as you keep your account. I recently had to put ads up on free user accounts to make up the costs of running the service.

How much does it cost to run this service?

You may or may not know but Write.app is a labor of love by me, Bill Patrianakos. These are my costs to keep the service alive:

Item Cost Period
Server space $20 Monthly
Domain name $12 Yearly
SSL Certificate $10 Yearly
Twilio (used for text-to-post) $80 Year
MailChimp/Mandrill integratiom $95 Monthly

Total: $1,481.99

So it costs about $1,500 to operate the site each year but only a small fraction of our users upgrade to paid accounts. With almost 10,000 users we should be able to cover these costs easily but very few people have upgraded unforuntately. In the future, if we're able to cover costs then I'll remove ads from free accounts again. Also know that this list of eexpenses is incomplete and there are definitely tthings that I've missed so the actual cost to run this site is a bit more.

I'm hoping that the rewrite and new editing UI will drive up conversions.

Changes to development and contributing.

I'm now using GitHub to store Write.app's source code in a private repository (code name: Anonypost). I will open source the core app and welcome collaborators once the first beta is ready for release. I've been wanting to open source the project for a long time but the first version had far too many secrets tracked in version control and was so customized to how I deploy code that it would just be easier to rewrite the entire app from scratch. And so that's exactly what I'm doing. The new version will be made public on GitHub when the time is right and for now anyone can track the development tasks on the public Trello board.

So anyway, that's the state of Write.app right now. Be on the lookout for changes.

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