Easel Does It.on June 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm
Eben07 is officially running the new webcomic WordPress plugin, Comic Easel. This plugin was made by webcomic helper and all around nice guy “Frumph” in an effort to replace ComicPress – the theme most webcomics use on the WordPress blogging platform. Despite Frumph’s own marvelous efforts to improve ComicPress after Tyler Martin stopped working on it, he knew it was still missing a whole lot. As much as I loved using it, ComicPress’ limitations were beginning to weigh on me and those shortcomings had been showing up in our traffic summaries and analytics as we couldn’t deliver on a consistent & quality reading experience for new and old readers.
As I have started to familiarize myself with Easel’s capabilities, it’s probably safe to say the ComicPress-era could very well be over for the would be webcomic creator and the brave souls ready to covert to Easel. Easel is clearly an upgrade, a fantastic one. It fits in a system we’re all comfortable with by now, and is less scary than ComicPress to customize.
There are so many amazing changes to this it’s really hard to pin point the things that are having me squeal with glee the most.
The biggest change is that this since Comic Easel is a plug-in it is usable with almost any theme – this opens up a wealth of possibilities for people who want to work in comics online. Being able to use one of the almost 800 themes that are quick install from WordPress’ own back end is pretty remarkable in terms of diversity and making sites look and feel different and experiment with everything. Also, generally speaking, WordPress has made it far easier to skin a theme than ever before – so getting your site to stand out, while still having the functionality of ComicPress is easier than ever.
The other big difference that I love is that I’m able to try the comics as their own separate dashboard area, organize them without re-uploading, and the “quick-edit” feature allows the admin the ability to sort and organize comics quickly and painlessly. Keeping blogs separated from the comics is stellar. In ComicPress, usually the editing and management of comics are handled by the same system, but now with the Comics Easel, there is a separated area to deal with all the comic management that looks and feels exactly like the blog post area.
The next change I’m really excited about are the introduction of chapters, characters, and locations organized in a “categories” system that can populate their own page content. Basically, now when we upload new content, as long as we tag it correctly, there are instantly added to generated pages that will show the archive organized by whichever issue/chapter, they’ll auto generate a cast page, auto generate locations and they show below the comic, too. Most archive pages have to be generated by the creator or website manager and now, they can be auto-populated. That’s huge! HUGE! for a comic like ours particularly.
Here look at the difference:
This is the current archive page Eben07 has: Archives - I have to edit that manually if I want to change it.
Now here is the auto-genereating archive page (which is out of order on Issues/Chapters currently) : http://www.eben07.com/archives/
For those of you who want to take your existing ComicPress site and move it to the Easel system, Frumph has used our website to generate video tutorials of the process. Here are the first four ::
Part One :: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30hf7kz2XOs
Part Two :: http://youtu.be/UpOYUJFaTmU
Part Three :: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5su82XPgQ50
Part Four :: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wW6u08dZZs
Anyway – I could gush on and on about it – but the real thing that’s worthy of note is that Frumph does all this coding and help for webcomic creators because he loves the medium. Definitely deserves a whole lot of kudos, but beyond that he deserves comic creator support. Anybody who has worked with Frumph knows how kind hearted he is and patient and willing he is to help – but he’s also humble often rejecting fees or willing to barter for services.
So, I want to strongly urge the creators that make these moves or just support the effort to give options to improve and energize the medium in general to make sure to support Comic Easel and guys like Frumph. They are few and far between, and we should encourage them to continue their work. Understand, Frumph isn’t doing Comic Easel as some get rich quick plugin solution, he’s done it because he likes webcomics. That’s a remarkable thing worthy our support, monetary or not. Say your thank you’s in some way, and you can do that here :: http://frumph.net/