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Working On Drupal CMS to Support Webcomics Publishing

Look don't get me wrong - I think Wordpress + Tyler Martin's Comicpress is great and for many many creators and/or publishers, it's the way to go.  But I've been using Drupal for ComixTalk since 2006 and have always wanted to use Drupal to publish a webcomic(s) as well.  And I've known it's possible since Christopher Wright has had his webcomic Ubersoft running on Drupal for about a year now.

The reason why Drupal is harder to use is because to make it work for comics you need Drupal plus a number of its modules to do it (Wordpress with the Comicpress theme pretty much works out of the box although there are some key plug-ins for caching and other functions).  But I think if I can write very good instructions and/or package everything in a single installer for creators and publishers to use I can make Drupal as easy to get going with as Wordpress.  We're not there yet but I am actively tinkering and Christopher has mentioned that he will be posting something to drupal.org when he upgrades his current site to Drupal 6 (which is the version I use for ComixTalk and my other sites).

Things that seem to be potential advantages for Drupal versus Wordpress could include (I hesitate to be too definite b/c Wordpress is a great platform too and both CMSs or constantly evolving)

  1. Drupal presents the comic images as part of a special comics post so it should have more flexibility for format types and number of images than Comicpress' hardcoded display of the comic;
  2. Multi-comic or anthology sites: using Drupal's tag/category system (it's called taxonomy in Drupal) a creator with multiple series (or multiple creators banding together on a single site) should be able to present them on one site withan overall navigation for all comics on the site plus separate naviagation for each individual comic series.  To some extent I'm trying to replicate the functionality of zwol.org's archive system here.
  3. Multi-site -- by this I mean one person running multiple sites (as opposed to number 2 above which is about running multiple comic series on one site). Drupal has a nice system for running multiple URLs off of a single install of the code.  A little more work to set up (and probably require shell access to do) but can make life simpler for someone who has many comics spread out over multiple URLs (this is the main reason why I've ditched Wordpress and other CMSs in favor of Drupal only for this year).

I also wanted to get back into the practice of making comics again (and you'll see I deperately need the practice!) and I've set up altertainment.net both to be a home for that and for my work on using Drupal for this effort.  I've got more details on the Drupal work in blog posts there and I've got an archive of comics up.  There's still a lot to be done: theme work (particularly on the navigation buttons), better archives (I want lists for individual webcomics titles and storylines) and I'm still evaluating other ideas (Ubersoft.net has a baked in transcription function too - I am probably going to try and incorporate use of ohnorobot).