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Best/Full Feature Set for Webcomics Script

I thought it might be helpful to create a list of features that a "perfect" script for running a webcomics site should have. Not every creator would want to turn all of these on for every site/comic but they should be ones that many people will want a lot of the time. (I'll update this post with suggestions from the comments too).

  • Navigation:
    • First, Back, Next, Last links (graphics or text)
      • Clicking the comic should also function as a "next" button
    • Calendar navigation
      • One Month calendar
      • Pages with all months calendar
    • Storylines
      • Link to Beginning of Current Storyline
      • Dropdown with all Storylines
      • Page with all Storylines
    • Other Archive Lists?
  • Pre-Loading For Future Publication
    • Date-Sensitive Updating of Current Page
      • With or Without Cron Function?
    • Hidden/Password Protected Folder for Not Yet Public Files

I'll add more later....

Automated RSS feeds and

Joey Manley's picture

Automated RSS feeds and xml-rpc update pings to Technorati (etc.) are two ideas I originally got from you, Xavier -- so there, I'm throwing them right back at you! They both seem very important to me.

"Dog-ears" was an idea I threw out on the MT advisory board list a few years ago, and put on my own to-do list, and still haven't gotten around to. Yeargh! But, yeah, that seems vital as well (must remember to add this to my sites).

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

The perfect script for

Surlyben's picture

The perfect script for webcomics should also include a blog that isn't necessarily tied to updates (so that when you are viewing the archives you don't have to see the blog...)

Being able to click on a comic to get to the next one would be nice. I would also want rss feeds, permalinks, the ability for the reader to select how they want to view the comic (ie one at a time, five at a time, all on one page...) and comments on each comic. (Right now I'm using wordpress for my comic. It has some, but not all of those features... I considered going with a full fledged cms like drupal but eventually decided against due to the effort involved in setting it up and the fact that it seemed like overkill)

FWIW, I hate dropdown menus. It's at least two clicks where one should suffice, default dropdown menus are ugly, and if the list is too long and you end up having to scroll through it... Well... my wrist hurts just thinking about it...

 

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Ben Bittner

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Ben Bittner

List vs calendar archive

Greg Carter's picture

I use iStrip, even though it hasn't been updated in forever. It's so easy to setup and run. There's a dropdown to choose a page or the archive page that lists the comics, dates, title, etc. I like that much better than a calendar. I don't care about the actual date, but I do care about chronological order. Â

Greg Carter Abandon UpDown Studio

Greg Carter - Abandon: First Vampire - Online Graphic Novel

I personally find calendar

Gordon McAlpin's picture

I personally find calendar navs annoying, although eventually the drop-down box I use is going to get a little cumbersome. Hell, it probably already is in Safari or other browsers that don't use scroll bars in their long drop-down boxes.

Multiplex is a twice weekly humor comic about the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas and the movies that play there.

Regarding "Full Featured"

zachwlewis's picture

Does the full feature set assume that the webpage creator has knowledge of scripting stuff (like PHP functions and MySQL database), or should we assume that the end-user has no knowledge of things like that?

SomeryC is built in such a way that it can easily and safely be twisted into doing all of the above, and more, but not without a basic knowledge of PHP. I've started writing some tutorials (and have had some written for me) about using it to make newbies understand a bit more.

Also, should developer support/extensive tutorials be part of a webcomic script's features?

SomeryC looks interesting. I

Surlyben's picture

SomeryC looks interesting. I wish I had known about it a few months ago when I was looking for webcomics scripts. Smile

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Ben Bittner

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Ben Bittner

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Shishio's picture

Well, as for making comics easier to find for readers, I believe a drop down archive (Which SomeryC has.) and Oh No Robot do a much better job. Personally, I give all of my strips descriptive titles, so my readers should have no problems looking up any favourites.

One-liners - Beware the killer dildos.
New Comic Posted 07/07/06

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Shishio's picture

I don't see the appeal of them, either. I suspect it's mostly because Keenspot has made people used to it.

One-liners - Beware the killer dildos.
New Comic Posted 07/07/06

I've never understood the

Joey Manley's picture

I've never understood the appeal of navigation pages with nothing but rows and rows of calendars on them. Assuming that a standard one-calendar-month navigational construct can have a dropdown allowing you to jump to another calendar month quickly (and all the ones I've seen, including mine, do have this functionality), what is the benefit of having an all-calendar page?

I'm not ranting -- I'm honestly asking (because if there is a good reason, I would like to add such a page to my own scripts, but if there isn't -- or if the only good reason is that we're used to those pages, because Keen* has them -- then I won't bother).

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

Good Question - My Reasons Are...

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

One reason is totally ego/creator driven - especially if you're doing a serialized strip it was always a big ego boost for me to see that page fill up with more little calendar months worth of comics.

For readers though it is probably not the little calendar formatting that is very useful in and of itself - what is useful is a way to find a comic by date in the archives. If you don't know the exact archived URL and especially if a long-running strip does not use storylines (or well-named storylines) you need a way to poke around in the archives without resorting to flipping through the ENTIRE archive.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

NavigationOption that

Erik Melander's picture
  • Navigation
    1. Option that clicking the comic should also function as "next" button
  • Display
    1. Check for/ask for the resolution of the visitors screen and select a suitable image version.
    2. Option to ask, and remember, how many "updates" to display on a page. For instance, show updates five at a time.

Vir Bonus

Solution

zachwlewis's picture

[quote=GiantPanda]Option to ask, and remember, how many "updates" to display on a page. For instance, show updates five at a time.[/quote]

That can be done by simply showing more "posts" per page. If you think of each comic and children articles (and children comments, if you have them) as one post, you could simply grab and post five of them from your database. It would take up a lot of space, but it would be completely possible.

Jack of All Blades

Interesting ideas

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

[quote=GiantPanda]Check for/ask for the resolution of the visitors screen and select a suitable image version.[/quote]

Wouldn't this also depend on the bandwidth of the visitor? I'm not sure how you could do this on the fly as I don't think the server can pick up the size of the monitor from the user's browser.

I'm also not aware of any (except 1) script offering support for different size images of the same comic.

This could be a cool feature though (now that I think of it Penny Arcade used to do this I think...)

[quote=GiantPanda]Option to ask, and remember, how many "updates" to display on a page. For instance, show updates five at a time.[/quote]

I guess this could work. I know Joey's scripts do this for archives at MT, etc...

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Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

True, bandwidth might be a

Erik Melander's picture

True, bandwidth might be a concern so it would probably be best as an option with a cookie. I must admit that I think its a bit odd that more sites don't ask what resolution the user would like. A lot of comics still format for 800x600 (I do) to avoid excluding the few people who still uses it. But at the same time, reading those comics on my brothers 1600x1200 screen could be quite painful. I think there may be a javascript solution for checking the resolution of a visistor, but I admit I am not sure.

Vir Bonus

Website or Webcomic?

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Erik - I thought you were talking about the webcomic itself - the image files. If you're talking about the website design you can do that so long as you're using CSS with your site - just make the CSS a felxible width or create a couple of CSS and let the user pick which one they want.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Gnaw.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

No no, I mean the images.Vir

Erik Melander's picture

No no, I mean the comic images.

Vir Bonus

SomeryC, FTW!

zachwlewis's picture

SomeryC has all of the most important features up there. It can't do calendar archives, but it can do everything else.

SomeryC

 

This thread is of interest

This thread is of interest to me as I tried to documents webcomic softwares for comixpedia.org

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Shishio's picture

My favourite automation script is SomeryC.

You may also be interested to know that I wrote a tutorial for it.

I don't think it has every feature listed, but it's great for me, and the author is very good about helping users and implementing requested features.

One-liners - Beware the killer dildos.
New Comic Posted 07/07/06