January 2020 Development Updates

Hey all! We've been working hard at bringing some major updates to CallToAr.ms to you. We've been in a closed beta for several years now, and it's time to start talking about getting the site public!

Calls To Arms Are Now Events

A major challenge with the initial design was having notifications just sprayed out, but nothing to tie them all together with. Someone declaring they wanted to play a game created an event on their profile, and sent out notifications, but that was it. This really put a limit on what we could build into the system.

To solve this, any time you declare you want to play a game, you are creating an event, to which we can attach all of the relevant information to. Think of these as streamlined Facebook events (without all the nasty stuff that comes with Facebook).

New Events and Notification System

The single biggest piece of feedback received was that there was no way to respond to a notification to say you were showing up. With the event change mentioned above, we can now add the ability to respond via whatever notification platform you're using. Rather than having to reach out by some other mechanism, you'll be redirected to the event page for you to respond easily.

A sample notification from Pushover

Mobile Apps

Another big request is the addition of native mobile applications rather than just a webpage. While this isn't a requirement for the new release of the site, rest assured that we are looking into our options here. There are a lot of benefits of having mobile apps, and we're looking into some of the cross-platform solutions like React Native and Flutter to serve our needs here.

Expect to hear more around this around June.

Monetization and Your Privacy

It's pretty much impossible to work on building a big site of some sort without thinking about how to sustain it. We live in a culture where we are used to getting things for free. Unfortunately, "free" websites mean that you are the product, and your data and personal information is being harvested for ad revenue.

This will never change: CallToAr.ms will never sell your data, in any form, period. It will never be given to a third-party tracker. We will not anonymize it and sell it off. End of discussion.

This means that we need to think of other ways to generate income. Servers and infrastructure aren't free. People aren't free. Inevitably, this means that, at some point, we will need to charge our users to use the site. That on its own is a hard pill to swallow for some, and so we're actively working on ideas for how to keep everything affordable for everyone, or to have a limited featureset for those who do not wish to pay.

We'll have more on this in the future, so stay tuned!

I own and run CallToAr.ms