Storylines, Chapters & Navigation, oh my!
This little how-to on ComicPress 2.9’s Storylines is something I’ve been needing to put up for awhile now. The thing is, with the old ‘other dev’ code and working with ComicPress Manager it never truly functioned properly. … well until recently when I had enough time to actually jump into it and duct tape it all together.
There are 2 different methods of ‘walking’ your comics with ComicPress 2.9, the first is by date.
Every comic post you make is individually made on a single date. There is, with the limitation of ComicPress 1 comic post day. This method of navigating by date starts with the oldest date and clicking next brings you up the path to newer dates in time.
The second method is by Category, i.e. a storyline chapter. This also uses dates but with new navigation buttons it will let you walk the category alone, ignoring other comics that are posted in alternate categories and walks specifically on that one category.
Root Comic Category
When installing ComicPress you have to create both a primary comic category and a primary blog category. These categories provide the code to understand which posts are the comics and which are the blogs. Simple to think about yeah? Well when we start using Storyline’s you now need to think of the primary comic category as the “Root Category” instead of primary.
The root comic category is the highest level parent of all the chapters and books you are going to create. This is important to name properly for several reasons, the most importan reason is your URI line when people access your site and you’re using a pretty permalinks setup. I have seen some people name that category the same name as their comic, so when looking at the URI line it appears something like this (in example, mojojocomic is the root category name):
We ‘already’ know that the site we’re looking at is the mojojocomic so naming the root category like ‘webcomic’ would be more important.
This will add another level of SEO reference on search engines to know that it’s a webcomic as well.
However, with users that have a different domain then their comic, it would be more advantageous to have the root comic category named as their comic, in this example mojojostudios.com is the studio and Endless Break is the comic’s name, so using the endless-break as the root category name for your comics is appropriate.
This is using the settings -> permalinks -> [x] Custom: /%category%/%postname%/ as the permalink structure, which I recommend everyone using.
ComicPress Manager -> Storylines
Now comes the fun part, setting up your storylines. There are three accepted methods of creating storylines.
The first method is to seperate your chapters into seperate books.
The second being just using straight individual chapters.
As you see in the above image depictions of the chapter navigation it goes from ‘oldest to newest’ in order of chapters. However, in the last example the christmas and pinups categories are at the top. Storyline’s like that do not necessarily have to be in order.
This is because when your navigation from chapter to chapter with the next and previous chapter buttons it will move along the first post made in each category. This is important to remember because without a post in the category for it to move on the chapter navigation will stop cold and not be able to move further. For a more visual reference here’s what i’m writing about:
Comic posts require that they ONLY be in a single category i.e. chapter. When selecting which comic goes into which category you can ONLY HAVE ONE chosen. In the above example if you have a comic for the WebComic -> Book – 2 -> Chapter 1 – Morbid Curiosity, it can ONLY be set in the ‘Chapter-1 Morbid Curiosity’. The core code figures out the rest as necessary, do not put more then one category, do not set that comic in the webcomic, book -2 and other categories, the lowest chapter in the hierarchy is what is needed.
ComicPress Navigation Widget’s
Yes, .. widgets. When storyline’s are enabled, several of the widgets open up ‘new’ options inside of them to handle the storylines.
The most important is the ComicPress Navigation widget. If you go to appearance-> widgets and have it in a sidebar and then open it up while it’s in the sidebar you will see new options for displaying chapter navigation. Previous Chapter, Next Chapter, Previous IN Chapter and Next IN Chapter buttons will be available. .. the Previous and Next IN chapter will allow your readers to walk ‘inside’ that chapter.
The other widget that uses the Storyline code is the ComicPress Archive Dropdown widget. When you open this widget up you will see that you can then have a drop down that will open up into individual chapters.