Author Topic: Galactibase 2.0  (Read 3066 times)

The Holy Saint, Grand High Poobah, Master of Monkeys, Ehlers

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Galactibase 2.0
« on: February 13, 2010, 07:03:55 PM »
This is a much less ambitious project than the last one, and I expect to finish it in a couple weeks.

For those of you who don't know what on earth I'm talking about, Galactibase is the code I wrote to drive the website for The Fantastic Plastic Men.

It's nice and has most of the browsing functionality I wanted, but it's lacking a number of things. Notably comments.

It also has at least one security feature I want improved and is "expensive" in its use of the MySQL database.

So I'm rewriting it. The new version will be much more efficient with writing to the database, will be cleaner in what it sends to the database, will include comments, offer much more customization, and be something other people can use on their web sites without having to hack the source.

This morning I was making a list of functions that I need to include, basing it on how I like to be able to use comic web sites. But since I want it to be available for others to use, I want input on how other people like to see their web comics.

Things I want to have it do:
  • Front End
    • the landing page should have the comic on it. None of this stupid having to find the link to the current comic
    • when viewing the archive (or possibly even the landing page), have an option to display a week at a time or X number of comics at a time
    • archive display in a calendar format
    • archive display in a list format
    • archive grouped or sorted by storyline, theme, or character
    • show comments with each comic up to X number, with a link to display all
    • comments sorted chronologically or reverse-chronologically, with optional tree view
    • full dialog searchability
    • also searchable by character, theme, or storyline
    • show news items or commentary associated with a comic
    • show most recent news items
    • character page (with picture and description)
    • rss or subscribe by email options
    • descriptions of storyline or theme titles
  • Back End (administrative)
    • upload comics sans ftp
    • style sheet editor (mostly colors)
    • reminder of what characters have not been described in the character page
    • enter dialog, alt text, commentary in the upload page, but also editable later
    • add or update news items independent of comics
    • provide for multiple users updating/maintaining news and comics.
    • edit the names of characters, storylines, or themes, from the backend
  • maybe for 2.1:
    • WYSIWYG/rich text editor for news posts or comments
    • themes
    • button/banner editor, drag and drop front end design
    • user-customizable features (comic viewers choose to view features like comments automatically or not)

so let me know what you like and what you don't like when you visit a web comic, and I'll plan how to address those features in the programming.

I'll put some discussion of comic features (with live examples) I do or don't like here:

  • One thing I don't like is Comic Press. I've not seen a good implementation yet -- it mucks up the comic and non comic posts.
  • PA and CAD both do this one, and because of their success, other people think it's ok to do. They have a landing page, for example, that doesn't have the comic on it. I don't care who you are. I come to your site to read the comic, not to hear what you think about changes in the game industry. Don't LINK to the comic from the home page, SHOW me the comic.
  • also irritating, but I don't have example because I've stopped reading comics that do this to me, don't make me scroll to read any comics. Let me see it when I first get there. It doesn't have to be the highest thing on the page, but I need to see at least the first row of your comic.
  • likewise, no sideways scrolling.
  • intuitive navigation. Clicking on the image to see the next comic is fine, but give me arrows or words. And if it's arrows without text, make them clear. Don't go for nontraditional means that don't leap out at me. I'm looking at you, Apple Geeks.
  • You don't see it much anymore, and it's a darn shame, because with the hugeness of some webcomic archives, it would be really useful, but viewing a week at a time. Sluggy Freelance and Superosity still do it.
  • You know has a useful archive? Irregular Webcomic. Since he has several different "themes," or sets of characters -- you can go back through them by theme or by all themes. You can also view 5 at a time either way. Any comic that has multiple themes (crossover!) you can link to either chain. Very nice. I just don't like how the site looks.