Manga Module


It's been some time since I've written software on my own time. The last project I attempted was the ill-fated Yin content manager. Before that, it was Gazelle and the Internet Idea Database. I decided to stop so I could focus on developing Paper Girl. Now that I'm starting script-writing, one would think me mad for starting a software project at the same time.

One reason I decided to put down software development was that I didn't want to divide my time between two projects. A major undertaking like a content manager would take too much of my limited free time. This was the motive for switching to Drupal over a year ago. In essence, I wanted to "out-source" the content manager, so I could focus on what was important to me.

When I did switch to Drupal, every possible functionality was covered. I had blogs, users, forums, and image galleries. One function was the management of webcomic content. The Webcomic Module was designed explicitly for that purpose. The module had some bugs at the time, which I reported to the author. Eventually a new release came out that resolved these issues. Unfortunately, the module was seriously lacking in a number of different ways. I ignored these for the time being. After all, I wasn't going to draw comics any time soon, was I?

Eventually, I uploaded the few comics I have produced over the years. The original 24 episodes of Novella: College Journal Manga remain to this day, the only Webcomic managed content on the site. I never bothered to create a top-level link out of a sense of personal shame. I am a much better artist today than I was back then.

A year ago, Drupal 5 was released. In addition to several feature enhancements, the module API was changed. This necessitated rewriting all modules in order to use them on the new version. I was hoping that the Webcomic module would be among them, but I've come to the conclusion that the project has been abandoned by its maintainer. This leaves me with no upgrade path for those 24 episodes and any other future content. That is, of course, unless I decide to fashion my own solution.

Since I switched to Drupal, I've wanted to learn how to write modules. Developing my own version of the Webcomic module provides me a ready excuse. The Manga module will be my implementation of a webcomic content module. My plan is to first replicate core functionality of the Webcomic module. This includes basic content management, image uploading, and sequential browsing. Drawing from the Webcomic module, I've implemented most of these features already, learning how the module system works as I go along.

I spent most of this afternoon implementing image management in the module. This brings it to 75% functionality compared to the Webcomic module. I suspect a few more days of work will close that gap. I've decided not to implement the module directly in Drupal 5. I want to replicate as much functionality from the Webcomic module as possible before attempting an upgrade.