20 Pounds of Corned Beef

February was a fabulously unproductive month for ATC. I spent just about all of January building assets for the next chapter of the comic, became even more burned out than usual, and wound up taking most of February off. Or rather I spent most of February’s “free” time in a Tale of Two Wastelands, which is an excellent way to play Fallout 3 on Windows 7. I spent the rest of February juggling half a dozen or so freelance opportunities and obligations, though fortunately they didn’t consume all of my time…

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That was a HOOT!

This post title was brought to you by Rocko’s Modern Life.

Earlier this week Ian from Top 100 Best Graphic Novels shot me an email with a couple of questions regarding ATC – my answers are included with an ATC synopsis in his year-end writeup, The Best Webcomics to Follow in 2014 (Part One). Go check it out! 🙂

In other, more local news – a new version of the website is live! It’s the third and definitely final release of 2013, and will hopefully last for at least a few weeks. I’d prefer it to last for all of 2014 but that’s, like, fifty years in internet time and if I think of a better way to do things you can bet I’ll jump on it. V12 is an iteration on V11 with a cleaner presentation and a pseudo-mobile version – I’m using a couple of mobble checks to feed mobile devices an augmented stylesheet and different ad locations. The mobile sheet isn’t business-card-sized and doesn’t use @media queries – it sticks the left sidebar to the top of the page and that’s pretty much it. I may extend it further if I ever get a tablet or a phone with a bigger/sharper screen. I’m digging the new look, and I’m digging the speed boost and performance gains I wound up getting by working through the initial display issues. The site’s looking good, and as usual it’s the best version ever!

Here’s the v12 build log. It’s a lot shorter than the v11 build log. That build log really whipped the llama’s ass. Read More →

Migration

It’s that time of the year – and that time of the project life cycle. Comments have been shut off and all site components except for the blog have been archived – and that (this) is getting backed up as soon as I hit “Save” on this post.

ATC started life as a voodoo’d MT 3 blog. In 2008 hosting moved and the project moved from a badly implemented MT 3 site to a badly implemented MT 4 site spanning a number of subdomains, where it limped along for five years until it was rearchitected into a properly implemented MT 4 site earlier this year.

At some point within the next couple of months – roughly around the five year anniversary of the transition to MT 4 – 870 posts, 158 tags and parts of 8 pages will be migrating from a six-blog MT 4 install into a custom WP theme. Comic pages, covers, Universe entries and Cast members will all be custom post types. The relationship between Cast and Universe entries and Comic pages will be preserved, tag search will be seriously improved. Commenting will be easier for you to do and for me to filter. SEO will be possible. Facebook updates (and hopefully twitter updates) will be automated. I may muck around with some Subscription capability, though I want the site built and functional before I start digging around to see what that looks like. I’ll be able to add a page without having to rebuild a blog; I’ll be able to add to the Cast or the Universe without having to rebuild two (or more!) blogs.

For most of the past decade, MT was a good fit for ATC – but aside from ATC and the sites hosted on deadcityradio.org, I’ve never really been a Movable Type developer. When I transitioned from video to web in early 2010 it was in response to a call to learn WordPress – and over the past couple of years I’ve learned the shit out of it. I know enough about wordpress to turn a six-blog MT site into a single WP site, and I’ve learned enough about custom post types and custom meta boxes to make the page navigation voodoo work as a matter of design as opposed to a horrible, horrible hack.

In short, WordPress is more malleable, easier to work with and extend, and vastly more capable. The choice between upgrading the MT install or migrating to WP isn’t actually a choice – and it isn’t up for debate. I made the decision earlier this year, and now that TV.2 is complete it’s time to make the last of the backups and the first of the imports – I’ll be starting with deadcityradio.org domains to sort out the remaining design questions, and plan to start work on the new ATC website in late October or early November.

Courage.

Where’s that heavy machinery?

The ATC production blog from 2003 through to October of 2008 was left out of the 2008.10 migration to Movable Type 4. As part of the 2013.10 migration from Movable Type 4 to WordPress 3.X, I’m back-dating this post to whatever the blog equivalent of pole position is. Not as an indication that I have any intent to restore the old blog data but as a less-than-loud announcement that I don’t. As most of the blog is muttering about the website and commentary on the now long-complete Second Edition of The Dualist, there’s a good chance I may clean things up even further before ATCv11 goes live. I pulled the ejection cord on the older blog data as a means of sweeping an extended period of grumpiness under the rug – and given the overall tone of ATC metadata that was either an exercise in futility or my sense of what constitutes “acceptable for ATC” has changed considerably over the last five years. Regardless of what happens to the blog posts imported from the MT4 database, the only corroborating evidence that ATC existed prior to the publish date of this post is the metadata of the posts themselves.

08:58 < solios> fagbot: atc?
08:58 < fagbot> somebody said atc was Dan’s Realdoll or Alcohol, Tobacco & Cantaloupes or Air Traffic Control or Around The Clock or Advanced Technology Center or Actually Totally Coherent