Fewer, better features make a tool great

 

Details are nettlesome time-consumers. When we focus on writing well-crafted code or developing easy workflows, sometimes all the fine points obscure our sweeping vision of the Grawlix CMS.

This happened once or twice before our public debut in April 2015. There was endless room for adjustment: should the nav icons move left by two pixels? Should the error message sound more upbeat? Is that the right shade of purple? Did we push every button combination possible?

It took effort to remember our goal of helping artists publish comics on the web. So we regained our vision by publicly announcing a launch date — and by cutting features.

Sure, we have plenty more ideas for the system, and so do the artists who use the Grawlix CMS. Since launch we’ve had requests like:

  • Bookmarks for readers

  • Arrow key navigation

  • Hide the “next” link when on the latest page

  • Easier theming

  • Set any URL to the home page

  • A full blog outside of the comic pages themselves

  • More sharing options

  • Tags

  • A built-in comment system

  • Built-in analytics

  • More archive show() options

  • Multiple images in a comic page

  • Responsive and mobile-friendly images

  • WordPress import/export

Some ideas, like multiple images per page and custom home pages, we’ll likely implement in version two. But not every idea is practical. Analytics, for example, are notoriously complicated to store, sort and parse. Theming and advertising are ongoing discussions. And some features simply wouldn’t help artists publish comics online.

How do we decide what makes the cut — and what gets cut? We defined our mission.

  1. Storytelling: The Grawlix CMS connects artists and readers.

  2. Publishing: The Grawlix CMS lets artists upload and arrange comic pages with ease.

  3. Reading: The Grawlix CMS lets readers get lost in stories or enjoy daily strips without hassle.

  4. Surfing: The Grawlix CMS works well in a variety of browsing conditions.

Our goal is to build a tool that helps artists publish comics on the web. Features that improve publishing and reading make the cut. The rest are just details.


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