Looking Out To Sea

Comics from the halfbakery

I have finally got my act together and started writing some code and even uploaded it! Check out http://github.com/dougalstanton/comicbake where you will find the latest copy of the long-dormant Comic Bake.

So what is Comic Bake? What was it back in the day? It’s a tool for converting little text files into comics. The files are designed to be as easy to write as possible, and are inspired by the likes of play scripts and Markdown documents.

The actual format is actually in a bit of flux at the moment as I recently decided what I was using wasn’t ideal and so I’ve cleaned things up. In fact last night was spent cleaning up the parser considerably, not least because the code was several years old and my understanding of parser combinators and such has moved on since then. I’ve had more practice!

The scripts are combined with standard images provided by the user1 and the resulting comic strip, with text in bubbles and all that, written back out to disk. I’m always shocked that it works, to be honest!

At some point obviously I want to (a) put it on Hackage and maybe (b) look into binary releases so people don’t have to install the entirety of the Haskell Platform and various development libraries (ImageMagick and GD, talk about indecisive!) just to use it. It’s not quite at the initial release stage yet though. I want to make it a bit more usable and maybe improve the algorithm for speech bubble placement before I do that.

But I’m glad I pulled it out of the archive; I’m feeling really good about it now and finally getting to do some interesting coding after a long period of stagnation.

  1. I realise as I write this that it would be a lot easier to use if there were “standard” images. Creating image maps so that Comic Bake knows where each character is has always been the least usable part of the experience. If I provide some defaults then what used to be the only way to do things now becomes “advanced” — there if you want it but not necessary.