What Blog?

Need a Recommendation? Thursday, May 24, 2018 Jacob Silvia

We're pleased to announce a new and/or improved feature: Recommendations.

Well, it's not exactly new, as the previous version had it. But it definitely is improved. Recommendations are generated in the background now, and, currently, are updated every 30 days. They're limited to 120 entries per work, because I said so.

In order to access the recommendations for a book, click the compass icon on a Work page. It will bring up the top 120 most similar works, using a proprietary similarity algorithm that will improve over time.

I for one am excited, as now I'll have a better idea about what else I might like after reading a book or watching a movie.

If you have questions or comments about this or any other feature, existing or anticipated, please do not hesitate to contact us. You may use the feedback widget at the bottom of every page, or may send us a note directly at feedback@whatcharacter.com.

Happy recommendations!

A New Look Friday, April 20, 2018 Jacob Silvia

You may have noticed our new look. Yes, we're out of beta, we're releasing on time (well, maybe not as on time as I'd like, but c'est la vie).

We've done our fair bit of beta testing, but as always, if you encounter any bugs, please let us know. Either use the Feedback widget at the bottom of the page, or send us an email bugs@whatcharacter.com or feedback@whatcharacter.com.

In this release, we completely retooled the front end and the back end. Everything, hopefully, works the same as it used to. Two differences you might notice is the lack of our illustrious API and our Book Recommendations. These are both in the process of being reworked, and will come at later features. However, they were not holding up anything for the main release, as (a) nobody was using the API, and (b) the book recommendations weren't up to the quality I wanted. So, expect them in their newest incarnations the next month or so.

While it's a lot of big changes, the biggest is the visual aspect of the site. The little boxes, especially. Don't you like them?

Anyway, I thought I'd say something to mark this momentous occasion. Please let us know what you think!

Beta Testing Friday, January 26, 2018 Jacob Silvia

Sooooooo, it's a little bit past Boxing Day.

But we now have a working beta available. You may see it here: beta.whatcharacter.com.

Not everything has been migrated over, but the beta has core functionality. If you discover an error, please send us a link to the page in question.

We put a lot of effort into making the site look great and new, and hope that we can complete the migration in a month or so (so we can make sure everything works like it should). Once that's done, we'll resume our rolling out of new features.

Why did this take so long?

You might be asking that question. The main reason is because it was, essentially, a complete re-write. The only commonality between the current codebase and the beta is the underlying database. Beyond that, it's using a newer version of the front end and back end frameworks.

Because of that, we were able to take advantage of some neat new features, but the downside was we needed to rewrite the neat old features.

In the end, we hope to have a wonderful product that is useful, but also presents the information in an aesthetic (but not too distracting) layout.

Thanks for reading!

An Update Friday, November 10, 2017 Jacob Silvia

So, it's almost been a whole year since we last blogged. What's been going on?

Well, nothing that you've been seeing. See, we're currently reworking the front and back end of the site. It's looking pretty awesome, but we want to make sure its fully polished before we release it to the wild.

Our goal is to leverage the latest versions of our front- and backend technology, but also to improve the end user experience (whether you're here for information, recommendations, or are an editor).

When can you expect this amazing new version? Well, let's target it for a Christmas, possibly Boxing Day, hopefully not Twelfth Night (but, hey, we are a literary site) release.

Once NaNoWriMo is over, we'll devote all hands to dropping a hot new release by the end of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Jacob Silvia

In a few days, the people of the United States will get together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Too much turkey, gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce will be consumed. And then, when everybody least expects it, someone will demand to know for what everybody else is thankful.

When it's your turn, you may bring up the following:

First, We did a little touchup for the info boxes. Where this is most noticible are in ordered Work-to-Work relationships (such as episodes of Television Series, such as Red Dwarf). Just look at that. Cool, huh?

Second, If that's not good enough, well, you'll also notice there is a grey signpost button at the top of Work pages. Clicking that will show you WhatRecs, which are our attempts at providing amazing and awesome recommendations. However, this technology is in its larval stages, so you'll see some weird things as it gradually makes its metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

If you like that (or if you hate it), we want to hear. Use the Feedback link at the bottom to tell us what you think. We want to know!

That being said, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and have plenty for which to be thankful.

Happy Halloween Monday, October 31, 2016 Jacob Silvia

It's the end of October, a day many celebrate as Halloween. As per the tradition of the day, we've decided to give some treats (and hopefully few tricks).

So, here's a summary of what we've added this month (next month will be much quieter, as we'll all be working on NaNoWriMo).

  1. You can now see past Characters/People/Works of the day. Click the calendar icon next to the label on the home page to see this in action.

  2. We restructured our "Popularity" metric (as seen on Top 10 Characters) to take media type into account. Basically, it weighs the relevance of that character in relation to the format of the works in which they appear (e.g., it would take a character a full season of television appearances to equal a fil appearance).

  3. People can now have more than one nationality. Go figure.

  4. Character appearances are now grouped by character. So if a character appears multiple times in a single work (useful for visual media in which a character has an "old" and "young" incarnation), all those appearances will be grouped. This is like how contributions have been working.

  5. People can now be assigned a role for a country (e.g., President of a country).

  6. As well, several bug fixes. Huzzah.

If you discover a new bug, please feel free to let us know. You can send an email to bugs@whatcharacter.com, or use the Feedback link at the bottom of the page. If you have questions or comments regarding the site, please feel free to send them to info@whatcharacter.com, or (again) use the Feedback link at the bottom of the page.

Our New API Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Jacob Silvia

We've always wanted to have an API. "What's an API?" you might ask. Well, an API, or Application Protocol Interface, is a sort of standard that says "If you ask me questions in a particular format, I'll answer them in a particular format."

Our API currently is only for characters, but we will definitely expand it to include Works and Places (as with everything in WhatCharacter, we start with characters, and work our way out).

If you would like to see the API specification, please check out the API page. It requires a user account and and API key. Since registration is currently closed, you can request a user account by filling out the form on the registration page, and once you're in, you can request an API key from your user account page.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to use the Feedback link at the bottom of the page, or send an email to info@whatcharacter.com.

Comments (On the Horizon) Thursday, July 7, 2016 Jacob Silvia

It's July. Or at least that's what my calendar tells me. That means that WhatCharacter.com is approaching its first anniversary1. Wow!

Here's what to look forward to this month:


Have you ever wanted to engage in discussion about a particular book or literary character? Heck, how about on a person's contribution to a work? Anything?

Well, that's basically what we're working on.

At first, it will be member's only.2 And then we'll eventually roll out a more anonymous option (with some level of validation).

How does that sound? You could tell us if we had the feature now, but right now, just send us feedback by clicking the Feedback link in the footer, or by sending us an email at feedback@whatcharacter.com.

  1. While it may be the first anniversary, the website has not entirely been as it is now. But that's just details...

  2. Yeah, about that, we need to let people create accounts...

New Layout (Of Sorts) Thursday, June 16, 2016 Jacob Silvia

You may have noticed that the website looks slightly different. This is because we're gradually moving towards a somewhat new layout style. Over the next few weeks, you'll see gradual changes, and hopefully it'll settle somewhere nice. 😃

Let us know what you think by using the Feedback link below.


Feedback Thursday, June 2, 2016 Jacob Silvia

Have you ever wanted to send us feedback on a particular page, but didn't want to fill out that form on Google we used to use?

Well, you're in luck. Now you can send us feedback through our own site! Just click the Feedback link below on any page, provide your comments, and if you want to, your email address (which will only be used to ask you questions about your feedback, if unclear, and to notify you when its done, and any other necessary communication. WE WON'T USE IT FOR SPAMMY OR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES! WE PROMISE!

So, if you see that we got something wrong, or are missing something important, please let us know.

We look forward to hearing from you!

New Blog Wednesday, May 11, 2016 Jacob Silvia

As you may have noticed, I just changed the blog a bit. If you're following the RSS feed, you'll want to update it.

This move was made to better integrate the services WhatCharacter will offer in the future. Right now, there is no way to post comments. As nobody has posted comments to past blog entries, I don't think that this will be a major impact right now.

In the meantime, if you have something to say, use the Feedback link at the bottom of the page or send an email to jacob@whatcharacter.com.

Quick Update Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Jacob Silvia

Things are moving along. I hope to have something official released at the beginning of the new year. Keep watching!