Andertoons 2.0 – Topic Pulldown

OK, another small thing here, but I really like it.

The topic pulldown menu in the upper right of the header has changed slightly with topics being grouped under topic headings.

Here it is in Firefox:


And in Safari:


I love Firefox, and recently switched back to it to utilize a webmaster toolbar, but, man, you gotta love how stuff looks in Safari.

Anyway, like I said, a small thing, but I think it’ll help organize what was becoming a very long list. Enjoy!

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Andertoons 2.0 – URLs

One of the best ideas my web team came up with is something called mod_rewrite:

This module uses a rule-based rewriting engine (based on a regular-expression parser) to rewrite requested URLs on the fly. It supports an unlimited number of rules and an unlimited number of attached rule conditions for each rule to provide a really flexible and powerful URL manipulation mechanism. The URL manipulations can depend on various tests, for instance server variables, environment variables, HTTP headers, time stamps and even external database lookups in various formats can be used to achieve a really granular URL matching.

Basically, it takes complicated URLs like (showing sales-themed cartoons) to something much simpler like

Now instead of having to solely use the site itself for navigation, you can search and browse via your browser’s address bar.

Looking for the business cartoons page? Add /cartoons/business/ after

Wanna search for cartoons about meetings? Just add /search/meetings/ at the end.

Need cartoon #4002? Add /cartoon/4002/.

No more looooooong URLs. No more remembering to add .php at the end. No more confusion.

And the best part? All the old URLs people bookmarked or have linked to still work, and are automatically redirected to the current address.

Simple, easy, intuitive URLs. Nice!

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Andertoons 2.0 – Tags Revisited

A while back on the old Andertoons, I started displaying the tags I’d associated with each cartoon.

Very simply, when I create a cartoon and enter it into my database, I assign a number of words that apply to it. A typical sales graph cartoon might have ‘sales,’ ‘selling,’ ‘graph,’ ‘meeting,’ ‘business,’ ‘office,’ etc…

In web 2.0 sites, tags are a big deal, and a great source of simple and deep navigation, so I put the tags up for everyone to see, and made them links to more cartoons that share those tags.

The new wrinkle at the new site is something called a tag cloud. Check out the cartoon below:


The tag ‘work’ is listed below the cartoon. Click on it and you get this screen:


Pretty standard, except for the new column on the right:


These are the tags most often shared by these cartoons. In cases where there are fewer shard tags, the fonts will get smaller as the list descends to indicate the lesser associations.

But here’s the really cool part. When you click on the microscope icon above, this pops up:


Without leaving the screen, you get a tag cloud of all of the tags shared in ‘work,’ organized alphabetically, and rated by font size (the more often shared, the larger the font).

Click on a tag and you’re off again to more thumbnails. Or click outside the cloud and return to where you were.

Is that cool or what?!

It’s an entirely new way to browse the site, and, although tag clouds are now common, this sort of pop-up cloud is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

Anyway, hope you like it!

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Andertoons 2.0 – Highlighted Search

OK, sorry for yesterday’s lack of Andertoons blogginess. AT&T seems to have things working this morning, but also called to tell me that my DSL may go back down. GRRR…


Another really fun new feature over at Andertoons, is something my programmer just sort of came up with on his own. Check out the cartoons below:

Highlighted Search

These came up in a search for the word “red.” True, neither cartoon is about the color, but at least you get to see why they came up in the search results.

See it? Look at the first cartoon’s caption – “Don’t think of it as being fired…” The “red” in “fired” is a different color and bolded.

Now this doesn’t always work. If a cartoons has “red” somewhere in the tags, it won’t show up here because I

m not showing tags on the search pages.

Still, it’s one of those little things I’d have never thought of, and one more great little detail that hopefully makes Andertoons more fun and useful.

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Andertoons 2.0 – Free Cartoons Redesign

One of the most popular feature at everyone’s favorite cartoon site, is the blog-sidebar-ready free daily cartoon.

On the last site, you’d enter what subject you wanted the HTML code for, wait for the email to direct you to the correct code, go to that page, get the code and then, presumably, you’d head to your site to install it.

That’s a lot of back and forth. It worked, and a lot of people used it, but I really wanted to streamline the process. Hence, the new free cartoons page:

Free Cartoons

OK, first big change, instead of a bunch of text and graphics explaining how it works, I just added the thing to my own site so you can wee it work live. (Why didn’t I think of this like 2 years ago?!)

Free Cartoons 5

The other major change is that the code now appears ready to cut and paste into your own HTML immediately after choosing a topic:

Free Cartoons 3

We even added a Select All button for the CTRL-A challenged.

The Typepad Widget stuff is here too, and makes a cartoon on your Typepad blog just two clicks away. (I’m hoping to add WordPress availability later this year.)

A minor addition is some FAQ/Help stuff about the free cartoon thingy right on the page.

Free Cartoons 4

Anyway, all of this should make it even easier to add some Andertoons to your blog or site.

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