KittyKatBlack's Keenspace Roadmap

A layman's guide to making a webcomic

Tidbits and FAQ's are nice, but having a roadmap is always helpful. Having a roadmap that says YOU ARE HERE, and YOUR DESTINATION with a big red line from one to the other is even better. That's what I'm hoping to provide with this document. Hope being the keyword there. I'm going to try and explain how to go from "Hmm... I want to make a comic." to "AUGH! I haven't gotten the update done yet! My readers are going to kill me!" in as simple of terms as I possibly can. So, here we go...

Step 1: "I'm bored, let's make a comic."

Alright, so you want to make a webcomic? Great. I'm not going into the do's and don'ts of webcomic making, I'm just going to tell you how to do it. I'm going to trust you actually have a comic you feel like making, and just aren't just trying to kill an afternoon.

At any rate you need to sign up at Specificly, the join page. They've provided you with steps. Follow them, they're not that complicated. Once you fill out the form and sign up, you'll recive an E-Mail in a few days asking you if you're SURE you want to make a comic. If you have ANY doubts about this comic thing, now's your chance to back out. If you changed your mind about it, don't reply and your site won't be created. If you do, here's your hardhat, follow me.

You'll get another E-mail in about a week or so with your Username, Sitename, Password and other goodies. DO NOT DELETE THIS E-MAIL. If you haven't got it in a week, make sure it didn't end up in the 'spam' folder of your mail program. I use Yahoo, and occasionally automated e-mail messages I WANT do end up in my 'bulk/spam' mailbox, instead of my normal inbox. Be sure to check both. Ok, you got your E-mail and all your info. Now what do you do with it?

You'll need to go to the login page. Put in your user name and password. You should come to a screen which lets you modify settings about your site. NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN FTP PROGRAM. It does NOTHING but let you modify your settings on the guide, add banners and tell your site to update once you've made modifications. We'll get into the FTP part in the next step. Back to the login. If you CAN'T log in for some reason, there's two possibilities. The first is that the DNS hasn't propigated, (Huh? What? DNS is a fancy term for where your site is located. All this means is, "We've created your site, but it's still on our computer and we haven't opened access to it to other computers yet.") There's nothing you can do about this but wait. You can go here to check and see if your site and password are activated. If you STILL can't log in then you should request a new password

here. For some reason a recent problem has caused an in-active password to be sent in the confirmation e-mail, rendering it useless. Just request a new one. You'll get it immediately. If you can log in, you're ready to go.

Step 2: "Ok, so what's this FTP stuff?"

FTP is an internet protocal that stands for File Transfer Protocol. It's pretty self explanitory. What it does is provide a way for you to take files you have on YOUR computer and put them on the computers in the Keenspace HQ. An FTP program is the thing that does all the work.

The FTP program I use for this is called LeechFTP there's other ones out there, and I already wrote a simple tutorial on how it works. There are lots of FTP programs, but this is the one I use, so it's the only one I can tell you about. I'm not going to download a bunch of FTP stuff and figure it out. This one works, so if I talk about an FTP program, it's this one. I'll assume you also read the tutorial on how to use it, so I'm not going to explain how to use it here either. Alright, you got your site, you've got your FTP to get stuff on it, so now what?

Step 3: "That's great... but my site still looks like crap."

There are many ways to go about getting your site to look pretty. I'm not going to walk you through creating the stuff for your site, but I'll explain the basics of how to go about getting the stuff you've made in order and how to get it to work on Keenspace. First off, you need a comic. You should have at least one comic ready to post by this point. If not go draw one. And don't make it a 'COMIC COMING SOON!" dealy. Draw a comic. People hate when you do that. Anyway you're armed with your comic. How do you put it on your site? Keenspace uses an automated system for handling how comics are put on the web. It seems overwhelming at first but once you figure it out, it's quite simple. If you go into your FTP and open your Keenspace folder, you will see these folders:



/public_html The public_html folder is where all the stuff people visiting your site will see. It's all the important parts. In other words, if Keenspace is a theater, your Public_HTML folder is the stage. This is where all the pretty action happens. Inside this folder are these files and folders:



Some of you who know how HTML works, will see 'index.html' and go: 'Oh, thanks. I can take it from here.' No, you can't. You do NOT touch index.html. I'll explain in a bit, but sit back down, and keep reading. Remember how I said public_html is the stage? You don't change wardrobe on stage, you don't put on makup on stage. On stage is for actors only. You're the director/crew/makup/wardrobe sections. Your comic is the actor. So you don't belong on stage.

This is where your comics will be (duh!). But this is NOT where you upload comics to. (Confused yet? ^_^;). Bear with me, this will make sence soon enough.

This is where all your archive pages will be generated. (All your past comics will be stored here, so people can view them by clicking the 'back' and 'first comic' buttons).

This is the ONE folder in public_html that you DO directly modify. ALL of your graphics OTHER than your comic (READ: Your comic does NOT go in this folder.) itself goes in this folder. Background images, link buttons, and any other decorations you want on your site. They all go in here.

Honestly, I have no clue. It has some purpose, but I don't know what it is. Apparently whatever that purpose is, it's not something you're going to notice. Just don't delete it. (Or any folders, for that matter. If you delete a main folder, your site WILL not work, and you can't just 'make them again' The admins have to add it in. They don't like doing it. They won't like you if you do. So again DON'T DELETE FOLDERS!)

This is your main site. This is what is displayed to the public when they go to "". No. You can't touch it. Hands off! Trust me.

This is for you, not your readers. This nifty little thing lets you check the status of your website just by typing "" in your browser.

At this point, you might be thinking, "Well where the hell do I put all this crap I made?"
This is where the /workspace directory (folder) comes into play.

Ok, we're at the theater again. We have a stage. What else? Oh, a BACKSTAGE! That's what this is. This is where all the nitty gritty is set up and prepared for the stage. In this folder has the following files and folders in it:

/comics (What? Again?)



You're probably saying, "Didn't we go over this one already?" No, let me explain. This is where your comics are UPLOADED. They actually don't stay here. If you notice, I said that the /public_html/comics STORES your comics. How do they get there from here? I'll explain that in a minute.

This is where all your extra pages will be uploaded. Links, Cast pages, link pages, art pages, etc, any other stuff other than your archives and index page will go in here. There's a REASON they go in here, instead of directly in the folder with index.html

This looks like index.html except for a few changes. The -template.html pages have non-html tags in them that are used SPECIFICLY by Autokeen. All of these tags are surrounded by ***'s. You'll see things like , and ***today's_date*** and other such things. These are what make the AUTOKEEN system the wonderful thing it is.

Since it's figured that all your archive pages will be exactly the same, except for the comic that's displayed on them, this is the template for ALL of those pages. This holds information on what those pages should look like.

Ok. Ask it. "Why the heck are there TWO folders?! This is stupid and overcomplicated. I'm just going to edit my index.html like a NORMAL person." Now, stand still so I can knock some sence into you.

This is how the keenspace system works, in a nutshell.

/workspace/content ==> AUTOKEEN TAG REPLACEMENT => /public_html/content

Pretty simple, really. The reason there are two folders like this is simply because one is a TEMPLATE (Hey, I've seen that word before!) for what your pages SHOULD look like. The other holds the actual pages. There are plenty of tutorials explaining what the tags are, and how they work, so read some of those if you want to know the specifics about them. I've made a breakdown of the indextemplate.html file in the Tagtorial already, so if you want specifics on what they are and how to modify them, check there.

Step 4: "Ok, I understand the indextemplate thing, but what about all those other folders?" The index page is probably not going to be the only page you'll want to make. Many of you are artists and want to display artwork on a different page, or want a cast page, or a rant page, or whatever. This is where all these other folders come in.

/workspace/webpages This is where you upload all your extra pages, like I've stated before. Why here and not directly into the main folder? Simple. In order for your KEENTAGS to get transformed into code your browser can read, it needs to go through AUTOKEEN. If you just put ***advertisement*** on a webpage and slap it into the main folder, you will get ***advertisement*** on your webpage, not the advertisement that Keenspace REQUIRES you to have on EVERY page of your website... (OOoooh... that's why I can't just make a tag-free page myself... damn.) So yeah. Pretty much everything you do will have to go through Autokeen at one point or another, so it's easier to just work with the system instead of trying to fight your way around it. This is why you don't touch anything in public_html except the /images folder. (Since images are just image files and don't have anything that needs to be modified by Autokeen). Autokeen creates all the content in /public_html based on what you have in /workspace.

The /comics folder is similar. Even though the comics themselves aren't directly modified in any way, they are saved in date format. (Meaning YYYYMMDD ex. 20040118 = 01/18/2004. And yes you HAVE to put 0's in front of single digits for month and day. 2004118 WILL NOT WORK) The reason for this is so you can upload a week's worth of comics, and Autokeen will ONLY display the comic for that day instead of all of them at once. When a comic is displayed, it is moved from /workspace/comics to /public_html/comics. Any comics still waiting to be posted will stay in /workspace/comics until the date they are taged with. See how all this is starting to make sence now? I hope so.

Step 5: "How do I create my pages and make them look pretty?! You still haven't told me!" Well, that's because I can't. I've told you how to get them on the web, but I can't tell you specificly how to code your pages. You'll have to do that with a HTML program, or learn how to write HTML from scratch (It's not hard, and you can learn how to make a pretty decent page in about an hour just by reading some tutorials on the web.) Images are the same way. I can't tell you how to design your site. I can simply tell you how to get it up and running. If you have specific questions about things, you can always ask on the forums. This is just a basic guide on getting your pages to work.

Step 6: "Oh... well, thanks." That's about as much as I can give you on how to get your page up and running. If you felt I left anything out, post a reply to this thread and let me know, or e-mail me. I have a link for it in my sig. Hopefully, you're at least able to see your site coming together by now. Happy comicking!


Cadet Navigation

Keenspace Cadet Crash Course Keenspace Forums Template Library

External Links

This tutorial by KittyKatBlack of Teacher's Lounge


Generation Omega.

Keenspace Gear hosted by
Keenspace, a free webcomics hosting service of

Keenspace Gear v2.0 site design by
Ping Teo @ Phalanx (2004).
I am not paid to do this, so any appreciation and encouragement would be welcome ;)