Welcome to Wayrift’s 20th Anniversary Website Remake!

Author: Aywren
Date: April 25, 2022

Table of Contents

If you’re reading this – the first blog post of the brand new, re-designed Wayrift website – I extend you a warm welcome. I’ve been hard at work handcoding the pages you see here to completely reconstruct Wayrift’s reading experience and presentation as an online webcomic.

I wanted to talk a little bit about why and the benefits it will bring.

Why the Move?

Long-time readers will know that Wayrift hasn’t really seen a new site update in quite a while, especially for having been online for over 20 years now. In a time long past, Wayrift started as an HTML site, much like this. We eventually moved to WordPress, where Wayrift has been for over a decade.

However, I’ve been concerned about a few things for quite some time. Namely:

  • Wayrift is run by a plugin called Comic Easel. Easel hasn’t seen an update in the past three years, and I don’t foresee it getting future updates. That means that without warning, WordPress could tweak something and the whole comic could break. Scary…
  • Comic Easel doesn’t allow us to easily change themes because it doesn’t work with every theme – thus the site has remained looking pretty much the same for forever.
  • The themes we have been using are NOT mobile friendly or responsive at all and it gives our mobile readers a lot of trouble. When Wayrift started out, mobile wasn’t a factor, but now it is.
  • The Wayrift archive was over 2,500 pages at this point, exporting and importing the content to another WordPress platform would be a long and ponderous job. If we ever needed to switch hosts for some reason, I worry that the transition would take months of me manually having to fix comic images.

So moving to this new site allows for:

  • Mobile-friendly, responsive designs that allow both web and mobile users to see the site the way that fits them best.
  • The peace of mind that the site isn’t going to break with the next WordPress update.
  • A lightweight static HTML design that can be easily backed up and moved to any webhost without worry. We’re currently hosting with Neocities and will be moving the Wayrift domain over once the rest of the content has been moved.
  • Hopefully a better reading experience… more on that in a moment.

Archiving By Chapter

One major change in our approach is that the archive now lists all comics in the chapter as one page, allowing for a scroll from start to finish. This is also with mobile-friendly design in mind.

No longer will you have to click Next, Next, Next, Next for each page. You’ll get the entire story flow on one page, hopefully giving a better reading experience.

Keep in mind that Wayrift’s archives were (again) over 2,500 pages of click-click-click-click. For a new reader, that’s a lot of clicking. Hopefully archiving by chapter will make it easier for new and old readers to jump into the content more easily.

Also, having to hand code over 2,500 separate pages would have taken far more time to make this new site possible. I could have done it, but it likely would have taken me a year or so of steady work to finish. So Syn and I decided this was the better approach.

What We Left Behind

Making this move is not without a loss. We’re giving up two things:

  • Old comments on individual pages
  • Scripts for individual pages

Sadly, there’s just no way to move over 32 thousand comments – no joke- from WordPress into the structure of the new site. I am super sad that the old comments will be retired – I’m keeping a backup of the site for myself.

However, I have installed the Disqus comment system and comments will be open on the per-chapter basis at the bottom of each chapter as a whole. So if you want to make new memories as you browse the old archives, please feel free to comment!

We also are losing scripts for each comic page in this format. HOWEVER – new comic pages will always be posted on a separate page, and those will have the scripts for the week that they remain new.

Looking Forward

I’m currently working on PDFing Wayrift – this will take time and is a work in progress. I’m including the scripts in the PDFs, which will be free for everyone to download once those are done. You can see an example of this on the Book 1 Introduction page.

Chapters will be PDFed individually, and eventually put into a zip file once a whole book is complete. Look for updates on this along the line!

The Fan Corner is not quite complete yet. Coding the javascript galleries takes time. I decided to go ahead and release the site without a complete Fan Corner, but know that I’ll be updating this area as time permits. Again, look for updates!

If you find anything broken or wonky, please let me know – you can post it in the comments here, using the contact form, or on the Discord server.

I hope you enjoy exploring our new site!

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