Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

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Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:52 am

This is free, and I hope folks find this useful. Just don't ask me about Kipper 1.0. :D

Kipper 2.0 is a PHP application that makes pages and archives on your desktop or on your website. Like Autokeen, it combines content with a template. Unlike Autokeen, you can juggle folders--point to a template anywhere, and make pages anywhere.

Image

There is no reason to use this *instead* of Autokeen or anything else. Its scope is flexible. Just for an example, you could use Kipper to make a backup copy of your Autokeen archive pages. You can point Kipper at the template that you've already got in your d/ directory, point to the comics in comics/, and tell it to make new archive pages in a completely different folder.

Kipper has its own navigation. All you would need to do to your pre-existing template is to add a few hidden comments. Here's how to enable a template for Kipper and Autokeen at the same time:

Code: Select all
<!-- strip:start -->
***first*** ***prev*** ***next*** **last***
<!-- strip:end -->
<!-- archive:navigation -->


In this example, when Kipper uses the template, it will strip the Keentags from its output, and include its own navigation. When Autokeen uses the template, it will behave normally. The comment tags don't interfere with Autokeen's output.

The operation for graphics is a little different from Autokeen, though--it doesn't read image files directly into the pages; you press a button to create source files based on the images, first, and Kipper uses those to make the pages. (Edit: Kipper now has one-touch image archive creation) Kipper 2.0 is definitely not trying to be Autokeen. Kipper 1.0 *did* try, and became something of a monster. :D

A better use for you (O Keenspotter!) might be the pages that Autokeen doesn't make--your links page, character page, etc. And you can save each batch of pages as a "job", to make updating easy. Kipper will remember where your files are, and where you want them to go, and many other details.

Future posts - Unlike Autokeen, Kipper isn't an automated sentinel that creates nightly updates. However, I have included a compromise, a dynamic "next" button that stops your reader on the current date, until the server clock ticks to midnight.

You should find installation and use fairly easy. Unzip the folder, and put it on a PHP-enabled server. If you use it on your desktop, it FTPs the output to your site. If you use it on the web, there is a password login. On your website, installation consists of just setting the permissions of a few things to 777 (a job folder, in particular). Once the permissions are set, the default is set to a test folder, and you can immediately press "make pages" and see results.

I've created a site to support Kipper 2.0, because there's a lot of additional information. *All* of the instructions are there. And I will likely have to make adjustments as people make suggestions and find bugs.

http://www.bookelves.com/kipper/

Download:
http://www.bookelves.com/kipper/download.php

This site is itself an example of Kipper's use. Each page is just a plain text file that uses the same template as my comic archives and my blog.

http://www.bookelves.com/alfliv/
http://www.bookelves.com/carsblog/

Note that while the basic shell is the same, there are significant differences. Kipper allows a sidebar widget in just the blog. It points to alternative color styles and a logo for the Kipper pages. And the comic archive shown reads one info file that includes special page titles for each comic and a full transcript of each one. Kipper's flexibility would allow even different ad codes.

The only other template I use is for the root directory, because the paths are different. That's a shortcoming I'd like to eventually overcome, and make Kipper smarter at tweaking paths. You may find other shortcomings--there's a basic RSS feed, for example, but it doesn't support future dating, even though the navigation does.
Last edited by carsonfire on Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:28 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:58 am

Now image/comic archive creation can be done by clicking one button.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Arantor on Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:13 pm

Nice going!

I really like the look of it, though I am wondering how much longer it'll be before WordPress/ComicPress takes over - already a lot of 2008's newly formed indie comics are using that and a few Keenspotters are too, I note...

(If I ever get round to doing the comic I've been planning, I'll use it too even though I program all kinds of weirdness in PHP. Even my comics would be coded as PHP scripts. Yeah, that's right, I'm nuts.)
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Kisai on Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:46 pm

Arantor wrote:Nice going!

I really like the look of it, though I am wondering how much longer it'll be before WordPress/ComicPress takes over - already a lot of 2008's newly formed indie comics are using that and a few Keenspotters are too, I note...

(If I ever get round to doing the comic I've been planning, I'll use it too even though I program all kinds of weirdness in PHP. Even my comics would be coded as PHP scripts. Yeah, that's right, I'm nuts.)


Comicpress may be popular but it's not really special. Comicpress doesn't even store the comic link in the wordpress database, it makes some assumptions about the underlying filesystem.

This is from the current comicpress theme's function.php
Code: Select all
function get_first_comic() {
        global $post, $comiccat;
        $firstComicQuery = new WP_Query(); $firstComicQuery->query('showposts=1&order=asc&cat='.$comiccat);
        while ($firstComicQuery->have_posts()) : $firstComicQuery->the_post();
                $first_comic = apply_filters('the_permalink',get_permalink());
        endwhile;
        return $first_comic;
}

function comic_display() {
        global $post, $comic_folder;
        $todays_comic = mysql2date('Y-m-d', $post->post_date);
        $siteurl = get_settings('siteurl');
        $filename = "$comic_folder/$todays_comic*.*";
        $file = glob("$filename");
        $filename = $file[0];
        echo "$siteurl/$filename";
}

function comic_archive() {
        global $post, $archive_comic_folder;
        $todays_comic = mysql2date('Y-m-d', $post->post_date);
        $siteurl = get_settings('siteurl');
        $filename = "$archive_comic_folder/$todays_comic*.*";
        $file = glob("$filename");
        $filename = $file[0];
        echo "$siteurl/$filename";
}



So translation, it looks for a comic with the same date as the post. Comicpress is "wordpress with a comic oriented theme on top" , nothing wrong with that, but you have to understand that people are using comicpress for the theme or to derive from the theme, not because it's wordpress. The same theme can be shoehorned into other CMS if someone really wanted to put the effort into it.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Arantor on Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:05 pm

Kisai wrote:Comicpress may be popular but it's not really special. Comicpress doesn't even store the comic link in the wordpress database, it makes some assumptions about the underlying filesystem.


I know it's nothing special at all. I'd never looked in any great detail at it, though, so I wasn't sure how unspecial it actually was, but I have to be honest it is becoming more popular in the indie publishing area. In one case I know of it is a problem that it does make this assumption. (Imagine an artist who has done 4 comic strips, 3 of which overlap...)

I figured it actually took the data from the attachments setup, but as I say I'd never looked. This is a slightly lazy/iffy way of doing it though, though I have to admit it will probably be less heavy on a server than doing it based on the DB server.

For most users it's enough and it's enabling a lot of users to do things without having to worry so much about the underlying CMS stuff. You're right though, users are using it for the theme as it saves them having to do it themselves - the perks of having WordPress there do help many make the switch though (the ability to comment per strip, the feed system etc - which if you don't already have a framework to handle is a pain)

Most users I've seen have customised the theme to some degree, though it's not often much more than a little light CSS tweaking rather than serious hardcore hacking.

But most of these issues seem to be taken care of in Kipper pretty well, though I haven't dug into it too much.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:02 pm

Arantor wrote:Nice going!


Thanks! :D

Arantor wrote:I really like the look of it, though I am wondering how much longer it'll be before WordPress/ComicPress takes over - already a lot of 2008's newly formed indie comics are using that and a few Keenspotters are too, I note...


The internet's a big place. ;) Plus, our target user is different. A power user cartoonist definitely wants to use ComicPress. Mine is for the low-power user without a database, and not even necessarily a cartoonist. Kipper should be useful for a hobbyist who wants to put a few webpages together. Or even a power user who wants a little tool for doing a little job on the side.

Arantor wrote:(If I ever get round to doing the comic I've been planning, I'll use it too even though I program all kinds of weirdness in PHP. Even my comics would be coded as PHP scripts. Yeah, that's right, I'm nuts.)


Me too! :D
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Arantor on Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:46 pm

Actually, as it happens, I'm leaning back towards using Kipper for my project. WP/CP is awesome but Kisai's comments about its stupidity made me rethink it slightly.

I'm still experimenting with my comic, though, both the comic (preview) itself and the presentation for it, but I have a feeling I'm going to end up using Kipper rather than WP/CP at this stage. Just can't be bothered with the engineering I'd have to do with WP/CP to function how I want. (Short of completely rewriting CP)
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:41 pm

A relatively important update to 2.01, especially for Opera users! I found that Opera was caching everything, including the login page, making it almost impossible to use.

The rest of the interface works slicker now, too. The interface and password settings are saved to one central file, instead of to the separate job files. That makes the important things and the fun things all work better.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Arantor on Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:29 pm

Opera is pretty aggressive about caching, I'd noticed. Nice update, I will be grabbing to experiment with at some point.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:14 pm

Two issues--first, I got hacked! :D

But in a good way. A security site hacked Kipper to check for security leaks. Not surprisingly, they recommend the use of .htaccess--which I do myself, on the installation page. I think they mean, though, that *I* should include some kind of .htaccess scheme. (Also, I recommend desktop use over website use--there's no better web security than not putting it on the web in the first place)

Also--I didn't think of this, but it makes sense--the "lucky charms" feature is a security risk. Even though I am definitely not a security expert, I think I can fix the issues they raised. Hopefully by Monday.

Anyway, I'm very grateful they did this, as I don't have the resources or advanced skills to test this stuff myself.

Second issue: Kipper Edit! It was a part of the first Kipper, and I'm thinking now there's no reason not to include this in Kipper 2. That's not the part that made Kipper 1 unmanageable.

Kipper Edit includes a fairly full complement of file management hooha, including a WordPress-like text field for writing and editing files, image upload, file renaming, and file deletion. All this stuff will pop up in Kipper's central report window, the same place that feeds the page-making reports.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby Kisai on Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:43 am

carsonfire wrote:Two issues--first, I got hacked! :D

But in a good way. A security site hacked Kipper to check for security leaks. Not surprisingly, they recommend the use of .htaccess--which I do myself, on the installation page. I think they mean, though, that *I* should include some kind of .htaccess scheme. (Also, I recommend desktop use over website use--there's no better web security than not putting it on the web in the first place)

Also--I didn't think of this, but it makes sense--the "lucky charms" feature is a security risk. Even though I am definitely not a security expert, I think I can fix the issues they raised. Hopefully by Monday.

Anyway, I'm very grateful they did this, as I don't have the resources or advanced skills to test this stuff myself.

Second issue: Kipper Edit! It was a part of the first Kipper, and I'm thinking now there's no reason not to include this in Kipper 2. That's not the part that made Kipper 1 unmanageable.

Kipper Edit includes a fairly full complement of file management hooha, including a WordPress-like text field for writing and editing files, image upload, file renaming, and file deletion. All this stuff will pop up in Kipper's central report window, the same place that feeds the page-making reports.


PHPBB and wordpress both want you to use .htaccess files to protect webserver locations from being directly readable (turn off directory indexes), and make only intentionally writable directories available to be written to via the script and not via HTTP PUT.

The way several ad networks got infected by malicious script was due to hijacked accounts, which in turn was due to security holes in internet explorer. It spread because some aspect of the php driven utility employed was overwritten (This is frequently what "defaced" sites are, where index.php is overwritten, and that is exactly what was targeted when the hacker gained access to ftp accounts.)

There is no perfect solution. "near perfect" solutions would involve running each web server in it's own sandbox partitioned from the rest of the server and other accounts. This isn't technically efficient, or financially viable. The most efficient solutions, are the least secure (Having one server do everything, apache, mysql, ftp, etc) since only one part needs to be compromised to break everything. MySQL has a lot of security layers. Apache, nil.

Unfortunately, the weakest link is always the end user. You can spend a lot of money and time making the most secure system, and that still won't stop the end user from being socially engineered into installing malware or giving away their password.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:12 pm

Whew. Hard to develop a web application with so little web time.

I had to do something special with the image upload, since the preferred Kipper usage is desktop. The usual procedure for this kind of thing is to upload an image through a PHP script on the target website--but if you're running the script from your desktop, Kipper has to know to FTP the image, instead.

After uploading the image, Kipper gives you a link back to the editor, and inserts the image code for you.

All's going pretty well (knock on wood). I don't know how much time I'll find to tackle those security issues, though, until later in the week. Probably the new editing features will add a bunch more security holes, anyway. :nervous:
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:57 pm

Huzzah! Kipper 2.2--the birthday edition--is ready!

http://www.bookelves.com/kipper/download.php

You can now create and edit the source files directly in Kipper, with a basic text editor or TinyMCE (the same advanced word processing system many blogs use). Image upload, too.

*And* I've increased the security. The username and password are now encrypted. I think this is actually more reliable than adding a .htaccess file, which for some reason never works for me. Now, even if somebody does access your work files, the most they'll find out is your favorite color scheme. And I think I addressed the "lucky charms" issue. If the chosen lucky charm isn't recognized by the script as having image properties, it gets denied. I don't want to give up on the good luck. :D

Some other various cleanup--the page title sequence makes a little more sense now, I think, but if you've already tried Kipper, you'll probably have to readjust your settings to get the right results.

Oh, and I added a color chart that can be invoked from the menu bar. It can be a handy reference for the interface settings and writing HTML. I might eventually add some HTML and CSS cheat sheets, too.
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:25 pm

The next release of Kipper will include a routine called Sentinel, especially for maintaining a webcomic homepage. Tags set in your homepage file set the placement of the most current comic, a dropdown, and a calendar.

<!-- sentinel:comic -->
<!-- sentinel:cal -->
<!-- sentinel:drop -->

Although there's really no way to see it working behind-the-scenes, you can see the results at the renovated Winger site.

http://www.wingercomics.com/

The site is politically conservative, so if your politics swing the other way, just pretend the content is a blur. The archive system itself is non-partisan. :D
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Re: Kipper 2.0 - archive and webpage construction

Postby carsonfire on Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:38 am

The Sentinel edition is officially released: http://www.bookelves.com/kipper/download.php
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