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08 July 2010 @ 12:18 am
So basically Wordpress is the most confusing thing ever.  
So since I am working on revamping Starry Knights, one of the most important things I felt would be to update the website.  The old Starry Knights comic was (technically still is) hosted at Comic Genesis, a free webcomic hosting site.  The goal, originally, was to eventually try to get a space at KeenSpot, Comic Genesis's more exclusive sister site.  The problem I had with Comic Genesis is that in order to have a decent site, you need to have a pretty good handle on HTML (which I don't), as well as know how to utilize their Keentags system.

The old Starry Knights website looks like this.  Embarrassing, no?

At first I was determined to better learn HTML and just outright build the site myself.  I started (as any good designer should) with sketches of how I would like the site to layout, and different ideas for the different pages.  But... actually executing my ideas turned out to pretty difficult.  Since I didn't (don't.  whatever) really know how to build a website, I don't know what design aspects to utilize and which ones to avoid.

Then I remembered that at one point Megan had mentioned how Allison was remaking her webcomic, FTRebirth, and so I took a look over at her site and was like, 'Yeah!  That's a lot like what I want the Starry Knights website to look like.'  So she made her site by using Webcomic, a Wordpress plugin.  And so I poked around on Wordpress and looked over the Webcomic tutorials and thought, 'This doesn't look so hard.  I bet I could do this.'

OH GOD I WAS WRONG.  SO, SO VERY WRONG.

For one thing, Wordpress comes in two flavors: Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org.  Wordpress.com is a free blogging site, but it turns out that this is really a watered-down version of Wordpress (a program that can be downloaded from Wordpress.org), and that it is useless for anything but the most basic of blogging.  Wordpress itself is a blogging program- I think.  I think that there is a more specific term for exactly what it is, but what that term is I don't know.  Lack of knowledge of technical terms, it turns out, is my huge weak point.  The point is that Wordpress is not a website in an of itself; it is a tool with which to build websites.  In order to utilize Wordpress (which is itself free), one must first pay for somewhere to host their Wordpress site.  The Wordpress site lists several recommended hosts.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I signed up for the cheapest one I could get (that was on the Wordpress recommended list), and am now signed up to fork over $2 a month for the next two years to Dreamhost.  Not an awful price, just mildly irritating in that I hadn't been expecting it (I had somehow thought I would be able to use Wordpress.com with Webcomic, which is a huge no-can-do).

So I have Wordpress, I have a place to host it, all I have to do now is install it, right?  HERE is the part where I started to get in over my head and get extremely frustrated.  Wordpress advertises itself as being able to be installed in 5 minutes, and has a very detailed set of instructions on exactly what to do.  EXCEPT THESE INSTRUCTIONS ALL EXPECT THE USER TO HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE WITH BUILDING WEBSITES.  I HAVE NONE.  FROM STEP ONE, I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT.

So two hours later, completely confused and with the help of my grumbling-but-more-technically-literate father, I had Wordpress installed.  As it turns out, it IS really easy and can be done in about 5 minutes... if you have a clue as to what you are doing.  If I ever had to do the whole thing again, I'm sure I could do it much, MUCH faster than the first time around.  I just wish that I hadn't been so completely drawn in without first reading the instructions and realizing that I had no idea what they said.

So yeah, Webcomic is totally easy to install, but I still wasn't completely getting what I wanted.  My site was technically functioning, and while Webcomic is being hailed as a great device to host Webcomics by the blogging/webcomic community, I found that it was pretty difficult to customize without having a decent knowledge of CSS (something which, again, I know nothing about).  Eventually I switched over to ComicPress, another Wordpress-based tool for building webcomic sites.  Even though most reviewers of the two seem to say that Webcomic is superior to ComicPress, I FUCKING LOVE IT.  I eventually had to suck it up and learn some CSS, but only the barest minimum.

And guess what?

The new Starry Knights site looks like this.
I am SOOO completely happy with it.  And even though there are some kinks that I need to work out and a few other odds and ends I want to tidy up, I feel so proud of myself for making something that looks... well.. nice.  All in all, the struggle was worth it.  I came out the better, and I love the new site.

...now for the ACTUAL hard part: making the comic itself.  I am still working on outlining and thumbnailing the many chapters, but on the artistic site I am working on hammering out character designs for the million and two minor characters in the story.  The sketch dump pic is too long to add to this already-too long post, but you can check out the characters over on my deviantArt.


So, YEAH.  That's what I've been up to.

Oh yeah, and as I mentioned before, the Starry Knights website will be hosting Apophenia (my thesis), posting one page a weekday through August.  So if you're interested in seeing that, that's on the site, too.
 
 
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