In my last post I linked to fiction.brentknowles.com and games.brentknowles.com. If you scroll down to the bottom of either of those sites you’ll notice a footer proclaiming that the site is an AuthorControl site.
So… what is AuthorControl?
I needed a site to easily show my novels and short stories (and I knew later on I wanted a game gallery for the games I build in Unity). I have cobbled together other solutions in the past but needed something more robust. I also wanted a site that I could edit via web interfaces (my other sites required that I edit databases, via my web admin control panel).
Basically, I wanted something flexible, that allowed me to easily pop in and tweak links or covers or add new stuff.
I also wanted to build a free system that could be deployed to other authors if they wanted (scroll down for more details, if you are interested).
Behind the Scenes
The system is fairly simple. There’s an editor dashboard that allows users to create works (and soon, reviews) and then edit those works. The site itself can also be edited via the dashboard (i.e., the main index page you see at fiction.brentknowles.com could have different labels/colors and certain elements can be toggled off and on).
The data system is simply a few JSON files (these are text files). A couple files define how the site looks. Another file is used to store the users works. A backup system allows these files to be e-mailed to the user.
Presently this entire system is fairly basic but if other users start using it, I’ll add more to it.
The code for AuthorControl will be freely available via GitHub. About half of it is there now, the rest will be trickling in as I clean it up enough that I’m okay with showing the world.
AuthorControl on GitHub.
Want a Novel and Short Story Gallery?
If any writers out there want to experiment with setting this up, just let me know (via a comment here, is fine).
The initial setup will be a bit awkward — I’m sure I’m missing steps in my documentation. If you would like to try you do need access to your webservers file-system to copy some files into (I’ll give you files to upload). You’ll also need to:
- Edit a PHP file. The security (to prevent other people from messing with your data) involves setting your IP address inside a file. Once this is done only somebody using that IP address can edit your data.
- Edit Your Data. Once the files are installed correctly it’s a simple matter of using an editor interface to customize your site (i.e., changing the e-mail address for backup files, adding your social networks, adjusting text labels, et cetera) and then adding your stories and novels or whatever you want to showcase.
Again, I haven’t tested this with anybody else yet so this may prove to be a frustrating excercise. Only the brave should apply 🙂
In the future I want to expose all colors and whatnot to customization through the editor (only some are available currently). If you know how to use CSS however, you should be able to fully customize the files I give you and craft your own look.
I have also started an FAQ over at Englex. Not much there yet, but I plan on addressing some of the simple questions and answers via that site.
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