Rants, PHP and "geeky" comics

I certainly read my share of on-line comic strips. Mostly though, I'm there for the rants. It seems to me that a lot of rants are funnier than the actual strip. When did this happen? Where is the actual cross-over point where rants surpass strips? I sure as heck can't see it, which is kinda scary since I don't want that to happen to my on-line comic.

However, I am taking precautions. This rant will be a boring one about the inner workings of The Adventures of Nerd Boy. If you think you're in for a "behind the scenes" thing, you are so wrong. This is about the PHP code that drives this website. Yes, it's about programming, but also about what it means to The Adventures of Nerd Boy.

This page is generated by PHP code that I wrote. I actually programmed this webpage, and I don't mean "HTML programming", which only lamers and IT sleazeballs call programming. This page, this piece of code, is my new rant system, and it's a good example of what PHP can do.

It works like this. I write one text file with the actual rant and one that contains the title of the rant. I upload them to a certain directory on the webserver, and then when someone takes a look at the rant section, the webserver runs the PHP code. The code lists the rants in above mentioned directory and displays their titles. When that same PHP code receives a filenumber (e.g. the "?file=1" in the URL), it displays the rant that corresponds to that number.

So there's a dynamic content system, easy as pie. The funny thing is that it works more or less like the comic strip system, and a lot like the fan art system. What astounds me is how easy it is to write, because PHP is basically C/C++ with some added bells and whistles. What astounds me even more is that people just use other people's code instead of writing their own.

I guess that's one of the major differences between me and other comic authors. I like to make programs. Writing the code for my website is a pastime to me. Other people might focus more on the craft of comic making or whatever, which would probably make me more of a coder than an artist, right?

Actually... I think coding is an art. I think it takes creativity and a sense of aesthetics to write a good program.

Also, comics that are worth anything at all draw upon personal experiences, most of which have nothing to do with the craft of comic making. You simply can't make a comic strip without having some other interest, something you can write about. (That said, most of the "geeky" comic strips I've read seem to be made by gamers or lamers. Where are all the pure coder, hacker and cracker strips? Some cyberspace comics without embarrassing "thumb in the eye" errors and inconsistencies?)

So what I'm saying, basically, is that if I didn't write my own code for the automatic website updates, strip queuing, rant system and fan art catalogue, Nerd Boy wouldn't be as good a comic strip. I would kind of like to think that other comic authors could benefit from that experience as well. Besides, writing a regular expression to convert lazy links on the form <http://www.google.com;Google> to regular HTML links is real fun. You'll just have to trust me on that one. :)

How's that for a boring rant, eh? That'll keep you away from this section for weeks.


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2. Rants, PHP and "geeky" comics
1. Scott Kurtz has a time machine?

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Copyright © 2001-2005 Joaquim Gândara. Fan art copyright © their respective owners.