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New archive system
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2002 3:01 am    Post subject: New archive system Reply with quote

Like my front page reads today, I've uploaded the first pass at my new archive system for the site. It's rough and may have some bugs, but looks pretty solid to me thus far. More work yet to do, but I'm pleased that I've got it working well enough that it functions.

The heck of it is that all of this work really only makes things easier for one person- me. Most everybody else won't really notice the change. I would hope that certain features are faster, so the pages load in less time, but the site was already designed to be low-bandwidth and as fast as I could make it anyhow.

Moving forward, I think I've written general enough code that someday I can release it for other people to use. One of the pitfalls of my earlier version was that it started out very specific for my site and not only remained so, but actually became more inbred and zwol-centric. Not that anybody would notice, anyhow. I mean, a site's a site, right?

I once read a comment on another message board about my site saying that it didn't stand out from a design standpoint, but that it had a unique feature in that most comics were available in two sizes. Yeah, I appreciate that I've taken a no-frills approach to the layout and kept flashy stuff to a minimum, but the real design for the site is stuff that doesn't just leap out and grab people, because they don't realize it's there.

By way of example, there's one comic in the gallery that exhibits most of the features that I offer- here: http://www.zwol.org/archive.php3?zwol=20010313 This comic is available in three sizes and has an annotation. The links to first, last, next and previous comics as well as the weekly comic listing below (or the calendar, depending on how you use it) are all automatically generated and all of this appears in the archive when I simply upload one, two or three files for that comic (which can be loaded in advance, should I be working in advance, with those files not being accessable until the day they are scheduled to appear).

It's a LOT of work to set this sort of thing up, but I'm happy to do it and once I finish the modifications this time around, I should be able to leave it more or less alone for the next two years- at least I can hope!

Anyhow- It's late and I'm just rambling on now, but I felt like sharing.

New comics soon (as I keep saying).
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Craig J. Quack
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Joined: 19 Feb 2002
Posts: 28
Location: The swamps of Haddonfield, NJ

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2002 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg--

As you've overhauled the archive system, I was updating the link to my No Contest strip when I noticed that the text that accompanied it is no longer archived on the same page. Personally, I liked the way that the text and the comic for the same day went together, but I guess that's not how it's set up anymore. If you're not going to do it for all of them, would you at least consider including the text for the No Contest strips with their counterparts, since they're special cases?
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2002 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm working on it- All of the notes that were previously with No contest strips will be with them in the new location.

Edit: Actually, isn't it there all ready? I thought I had moved them all and I just checked- I do see the note with your comic, here: http://www.zwol.org/archive.php3?nocontest=20010324

Does it come up for you?
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2002 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ug. Tons 'o work, but I think I'm 95% finished now. Enough so that it's worth a test run this week so I can see what goes wrong with it. I've a few more features I want to add and one little bit that will be necessary down the road, but for now- it's working. (I think. I hope.)

This week- two groups of photos- some B&W stuff that'll show on the index page and some color ones that are only appearing in the archive itself. Then I'll move all the Reiterating stuff and add in the 52-pick-up Jam.
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Craig J. Quack
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Joined: 19 Feb 2002
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Location: The swamps of Haddonfield, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2002 8:48 am    Post subject: This is weird. Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Edit: Actually, isn't it there all ready? I thought I had moved them all and I just checked- I do see the note with your comic, here: http://www.zwol.org/archive.php3?nocontest=20010324

Does it come up for you?


Actually, yes, but now I'm looking at it from home (and on Netscape). For some reason, it didn't show up when I looked at in work on Explorer. Of course, when I check it on Explorer at home, it's there, so take that with a grain of salt.
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
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Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2002 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know- it's possible that when you looked, you were catching me in-between the updating. First I had to move the comics, then move the notes, and there was some time between. That's probably it.
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Craig J. Quack
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mystery solved!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2002 11:53 am    Post subject: How did you set up all the nifty archiving and news posting? Reply with quote

Greg

I'm looking around the site and your forum but dont' see anything on how you set up all the nifty features on the ZWOL site. You hint here about sharing the code ?

I'm trying to teach myself quite a bit about mySQL and PHP but it's not easy b/c I don't have enough time in the day most days...

Anyhow I'm wondering if you had any tips, books to read, sites to read or general "here's how I did it" advice to share?
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Greg Stephens
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Joined: 14 Apr 2001
Posts: 3861
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2002 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm always willing to answer questions about how I did it, so if you have any questions, please feel free to post or email (though if you post, then others can read the replies and thus share the knowledge, or even contribute a better answer).

Someday I would like to share my archive system, but it's not in a fit state to be distributed at the moment. You may wish to take a look at David Schumacher's ATP Autosite which you can dowload and either use or study the code. I expect (though can't speak for him) that David would be willing to answer questions as well.

Most of my knowledge came through various websites and attempting things myself, but I'm no longer able to point to any individual site that tells all. A good resource is the PHP FAQTs Knowledge Base, which has answers to questions as well as several good links to other sites. One site in particular which helped me configure my test environment on a local Win2000 machine (for development and testing) was Edward's Internet Workshop for installing PHP, MySQL and Apache on Win98. I don't test on that box any longer but, as I recall, his instructions were pretty good.

I can recommend two good books that I own and reference: SQL Queries for Mere Mortals is an excellent SQL book. It is not MySQL-specific, and that is probably its strength. For PHP, I like the PHP Developer's Cookbook, although you may also wish to consider the PHP 4 Bible. As with any computer books, it's best to stand in the bookstore for a while and flip through them to find one that you're comfortable with and is appropriate to your skill level.

And never, ever forget to check the PHP documentation and the MySQL documentation. These are now, more than any book or website, my primary sources of reference.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2002 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!
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