CampCite

CampCite started with a very simple pitch, “Remember those old projections your teachers used to use? What if we did that for websites?”

We were hooked.

But the simple premise belied the complicated nature of displaying contents made from a variety of screens, and to make progress our benefactors relied heavily on our intuitive development process and rapid prototyping capability. We delivered and we delivered well.

The solution to our ills was to reduce all edits to a paired grouping of image and scalable vector graphic, allowing the ease of loading appropriately sized images with a streamlined, editable interface that would be lossless when viewed on a variety of screens. The results, often showcased in our brilliant CampCite Orange, were received extremely well by alpha testers and investors, who funded our new startup with considerable enthusiasm.

Given the core project’s often changing scope, we opted to use a rapid prototyping PHP framework called Yii, which allowed us to readjust our database models rapidly as the needs of our driving management changed. Our API, which was being converted to a lighter weight NODE platform at the time of our departure from the product, was written to allow browser extensions on three browsers and a standalone web API to pull contents and information rapidly to our users, and the results spoke for themselves, which investors touting the ability of the product to meet the needs of clients in both the casual user and qualitative analysis markets.

The development side of the project went beyond a simple front and back end software, but ultimately included browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. These projects, written by our head creative in the necessary and arcane mixture of Javascript, PHP, Visual Basic, and proprietary XML, later integrated a singular backbone that allowed a tiny development team to meet the constant demands of maintaining active projects for three browsers in addition to the ongoing software development. Other items developed to some degree for CampCite include an experimental, community-targeting advertising platform, an automated forum moderation software that flagged content based on the likelihood that it violated our terms of service and the priority at which it would need to be addressed, and sorting algorithms that included information about how quickly a the post was being interacted with and its relation to a user’s stated or gleaned interests and previous votes. Many of these items did not make it into the production version of the website and were subsequently ordered to be scrapped by management, but we had a significant amount of fun making them, and we always love using the lessons learned in other softwares.

While our initial product was well on its way to market, we suffered a major setback in the form of competitive projects being launched by Google, Microsoft, Evernote, and others. It was clear that this web-as-whiteboard feature was a desirable one, but without a niche audience to pursue, CampCite as it was was no longer tenable.

We separated from CampCite after a year and a half of development, but wish their team the best of luck. You can see their current version here.