2009 Resolution: Let’s Do Support for Webcomic Publishing in Drupal Right

I have been tinkering with altertainment.net to be my personal “creative” site (a slight deviation from last year’s “about” annoucement) and in doing so – make Drupal webcomic-friendly.  Luckily it’s almost there so I think with some pushing from me this could actually be a big year for Drupal + Webcomics.  I just posted the call-to-action below at the ghost-town-like webcomics group at http://groups.drupal.org:

Let’s start the discussion anew for 2009.  After some minor tinkering in the fall (and again this month) I’m positive that we can create a recipe for publishing webcomics on the Drupal platform.  To the extent there is any other active energy in the Drupal community interested in supporting this effort I sincerely hope we can all work together towards this goal.

Here’s who I am: Xaviar Xerexes, publisher of ComixTalk.com (on Drupal since 2006 and on version 6 since the beginning of 2008).  I have a very clear sense of what goes into a webcomics publishing CMS having reviewed a lot of them and used many of them myself.

Here’s (see below) what we need to (i) meet in terms of functionality and then (ii) surpass if we want Drupal to take off in the webcomics publishing community (which is largely the same as the webcomics creator community since much of it is self-published).  Instead of listing out functions (but we can do that later) let me point out two links that can show you what a good, functional webcomic site looks like:

1.  Comicpress theme on WordPress (at http://mindfaucet.com/comicpress/).  The introduction of the comicpress theme for the WordPress CMS (and largely b/c of the active support of developer Tyler Martin) has swept the webcomics area.  It is quickly become a dominant platform.  For one example of an install of it – see very popular site PvP at http://www.pvponline.com/  (I should note that Brad Hawkins also has a very good plug-in for WordPress that makes publishing webcomics on it very easy but it doesn’t seem to have caught on like Comicpress.)

2.  Ubersoft (at http://ubersoft.net/) Christopher Wright put his webcomic on Drupal 5 and it looks and works great.  This is the template for what we should be doing with Drupal. 

I feel like we now have the module support in D6 to do what Wright did in D5.  By keeping an eye on Comicpress we can learn from Wright’s efforts to create a system in D6 that (1) works and (2) is simple enough for creators to install themselves.  Ultimately I think there are a lot of reasons Drupal can out-do WordPress in the long-run but for now I think it would be great just to get Drupal into the battle here.

I have no intention of working on the existing webcomics module (and really it doesn’t look like it’s been actively developed since the D4 version) because you can achieve the webcomic platform on Drupal through CCK, Views and a few other key modules such as Custom Pagers.  Ultimately this is the better way to go as these component modules are actively developed (and ultimately might become part of core)  I have gone ahead with an initial install of modules on my own site altertainment.net to tweak and experiment out the right recipe for D6.

The key ones just to get things up and running are CCK, Views and Custom Pagers are Imagefield and Filefield.  Maybe the best first step would be to create a wiki page here with the recipe of modules and an accompanying explanation of what they contribute?  I want to start something collective here to share what I sort out but also to gather insights from anyone else willing to help and also to better identify if there are any small tweaks to existing modules that would greatly improve their useability for this effort.  Than we can figure out how to get those tweaks done (either directly or perhaps finding someone to take on a specific project)

Ideas?  Interest in working on this?  I plan to post regularly here and at altertainment.net until I get this done…



Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.