Thursday, January 19, 2012

ComicPress and WordPress


Lately I've been puttering with comics and wanted a way to share them online. It seems like a lot of folks are using ComicPress, an add-on for WordPress for this sort of thing, so I thought I'd give it a try. I knew nothing about either product until this week, I've always been a Blogger gal. But I know more now, and I thought I'd share my initial findings. Oh, you can see my ComicPress site here.

To get started, you need to know there are two flavors of WordPress. I found a bit confusing at first. There is www.wordpress.com which allows you to build a free blog. Your blog content lives on the Wordpress.com server so there is no need for you to pay for a hosting provider or anything like that. It's similar to how blogger functions.

But there is another WordPress site, www.wordpress.org, where you can download all the necessary files and run WordPress on your own web server. Why would someone want to run WordPress on their own server? Well, you have to, if you want to use ComicPress. Luckily I already have a hosting provider, so that part was easy. You will have to make sure you hosting provider has mySQL and PHP support.

I won't go into all the steps necessary to set up WordPress. You can read all about that at the WordPress website. Same goes for ComicPress. But suffice to say, you need to have a little technical knowledge to get things up and running. You'll have to uploading files to your server and you'll need to set up a mySQL database.

I had a few false starts, partially because I screwed up the naming of my comic files.* But ComicPress has a really neat feature, if you create a directory on your local computer with all your comics in it and name them using the following format; YYYY-MM-DD-PostTitle.jpg (I think they can be .png or .gif also). You can then zip them all into one file and upload it using the ComicPress Manager tool and it will then post each comic on the proper day with the proper post title automatically. Which would be an super time saver if you were posting often.

I think for what I'm doing, which is publishing one, 10 page comic every couple of months, comic press may be overkill. There are a ton of formatting options and settings that I have only begun to figure out and the installation took a little time. But for someone publishing a daily comic, or at least publishing on a more regular schedule, ComicPress would be a very nifty tool that would be worth looking into.

* A side note on naming files...
Since I didn't know what I was doing at first, I spent a bit of time naming and renaming batches of comic files, which is a pain in the fanny using Windows File Manager. So I found a little tool to help with that. It's called D-fileMU It's kind of a weird name, but it's a simply little tool that made renaming batches of files much easier.

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