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The Code Zone Bargain Basement Blog



New project part two

  Posted by , 24 February 2011 - - - - - - · 233 views

Well, the angriestprogrammer.com project has spawned a successor. And the successor came from its sheer overengineering. Even though my little database/XML/PHP driven comic compositor could've been simpler than it was, I gave it a few extra capabilities. Namely the capability to overlay several bitmaps in a frame, although angriestprogrammer.com only shows one bitmap so it was never needed.

And I got to thinking, what if I was able to define bitmaps with descriptive names and have them appear only if they're called into existence in a frame, i.e. if they're speaking? And what if I gave the speech little comic "bubbles" so I could use backgrounds other than just white? If I did those things, I could build a more sophisticated (but only slightly more so) "red meat" style comic (google for it) out of a simple XML description.

And then I got the idea of knock-knock jokes. After all, there are millions of those out there, and there really isn't a good site for 'em. Most knock-knock sites appear to be holdovers from Geocities that have plenty of knock-knock jokes, but they're not really presented in an appealing style. So I invented my new site, knockville.com, a kids' website that will become (I hope) the definitive home for knock-knock jokes on the web, presented in an appealing style.

That is, if you find public domain clipart appealing. And I do. There's just an odd innocence to it. Case in point.

Posted Image

I think a Facebook commenter summed the whole project up with something like "you've figured out how to be a cartoonist without having to draw OR write. Congratulations."

So my goal is to spend an hour or so a week scanning in a couple of new characters and/or backgrounds and entering a dozen jokes, in the hopes that eventually I'll have about 100 characters and a couple-dozen backgrounds. And I'll keep entering knock-knock jokes until I run out. And after that, I'll just let the site repeat jokes forever.

And I don't think repeats will be a problem once I have a big enough mass of material. I remember listening to an interview a few years ago with the creators of the Teletubbies. And the interviewer asked 'em why they stopped making new episodes after four years even though they were successful. And the answer, I thought, was quite astute. It was that they had enough episodes that any kid who just discovered the Teletubbies would now outgrow the series before running out of episodes. They could now re-run episodes forever without worrying about them getting stale, because kids are EXPECTED to outgrow them. I fully expect kids to visit my site, press the "Random" button a dozen times until they get a few new jokes to tell their friends at school, then get on with their lives.

And why knock-knock jokes? Because when my daughter was four years old, I was roped into helping the kids with a party at school. And one of the kids was bummed because she wanted to sit by my daughter but couldn't, so I declared that I was going to sit by her. And then I told her a knock-knock joke. And as soon as I did, a dozen other kids started chiming in with their own jokes (most of which were completely random and awful but I digress). I saw that there's just something pure and easy-to-remember about knock-knock jokes, and I always kept with me that if I could present knock-knock jokes in a silly format that kids could read and remember for school the next day, they'd probably show up to read 'em.

So I made the site. And I made it in a way that would be easy to maintain. All that's really left to do is to add a page where kids can submit their own jokes. And if I use their jokes I'll give 'em credit.

So I'm hoping that this modest little project will work out. Thoughts?https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5927544581291786949-865814893269699073?l=thecodezone.blogspot.com

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