Since its inception, DargonZine has lived within the dimensions of flat text files. Because the focus of the magazine is emphatically textual, we haven’t found that limitation too confining. Our most adventuresome foray into layout consisted of adding ASA carriage control characters in column one so that there would be page breaks between stories!
Twelve years ago, successfully sending text across the network was pretty impressive. But the rise of the World Wide Web has recently given electronic magazines wonderful new facilities not just for providing multimedia content, but also for interacting with the reader at an individual level.
Back in 1984, DargonZine (then FSFnet) was a pioneer as one of the first electronic magazines on the Internet. Now that more advanced facilities for layout, graphics, and supplementary information are available, text-only electronic magazines are becoming less and less popular. In keeping with DargonZine’s history of blazing the trail for other emags, it’s time we provided our audience with something more sophisticated than uninterrupted text in a text editor.
So forgive me for being overdramatic when I tell you how proud I am to announce that DargonZine has reassumed its leadership role among electronic magazines and realized a dream that I’ve had for a couple of years. After having put a great deal of effort into designing and creating an admirable presentation, I can finally say:
DargonZine has gone Web.
For those readers who prefer to receive issues via email, flat text will continue to be a primary delivery method, although most future developments will be on our Web presentation. For those readers who have access to the World Wide Web, we are developing what I consider to be a world-class Web presentation, with some really cool features that will make you salivate more than a guest at the Thanksgiving Day table.
As of right now, what do we have out there on the Web? Well, there’s the standard stuff you’d expect: a full FTP site, the Readers’ and Writers’ FAQs, an index of stories, the “Best of DargonZine” issues, the current issue, and links to related topics. But beyond that, there’s some information about the authors, a subscription form, and two reader questionnaires. One interesting feature is that we’ve established a permanent, unchanging URL that will always point to the most recent issue of DargonZine. We hope people find that useful, so that they don’t have to hunt all over the place for new issues.
The other majorly cool thing we’ve done is make available an indexed copy of our DargonZine Glossary, which describes all the people, places, and things that have been written about in the magazine. Furthermore, we’ve painstakingly gone through each story, creating hyperlinks between key text in the story and the Glossary. So now, for example, whenever you see “Clifton Dargon” appear in the narrative, you can click on that name, and you will be taken to a description of that character. We think this is a huge step forward, and will be very useful to our subscribers, and of incredible value in helping new readers get up to speed on who’s who in Dargon.
To be fair, there are some things we haven’t done. The author bios and GIFs remain pretty sketchy. At this point, we don’t plan on sprucing up past issues, so issues earlier than 8-4 remain text-only for the time being.
So I strongly urge you to check it out. I hope you’ll be pleased. And if you can think of any ways that we might even further improve our presentation, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Okay?
What’s the URL, Kenneth? Set your browser to point at the DargonZine Home Page URL: http://www.shore.net/~dargon and enjoy our new look!
Now, back to more mundane topics. This issue features works by two more new writers — John McGonigle and Mark Murray — sandwiching a short piece by Jim Owens, whose career with us goes back to the early days of FSFnet, before the Dargon Project even existed!
Please welcome John and Mark aboard, and take the time to check out the Web site and let us know what you think! And, as ever, keep spreading the word!