Ideas

Which image shows the ASCII art better? One is a screen capture of ASCII art I posted as text to a blog. To display it as text rather than an image file (png, jpg or gif) I have to be satisfied with those lines running through it and the gaps too. I don't like it, but so far it's the best solution I have found to the problem of displaying text in an HTML world. I prefer using screen capture to display the ASCII art so it can show as I created it, in the text file. Likely this is getting confusing for anyone who has not had the problem of making ASCII art work to be shown on the Internet. I used to post ASCII art to HubPages and other online sites. I seldom do now because several people were leaving comments about the images being posted as an image file instead of as a text file (which they could grab with cut and paste - using without permission or assuming ASCII art is all free to take). Well, I had set it up to display as an image gallery, just like photos, paintings and so on. The artist does not bring paint cans to the gallery and try to recreate all his or her work for the display. I see the ASCII art the same way. Mainly, it is very difficult to get the ASCII art to display in plain text. Each site uses different software, HTML code and fonts. Every time I want to post ASCII art as text I would have to figure out how it will work on each individual site and sections on the site itself could be different. I did find some things which worked, sort of. For blogs I found a plugin which displays the text in the right format but, it leaves it choppy looking, with bare lines between. I don't like the look of it - but it is the best I have found so far.  I'm still using it on this blog and my other blogs if I post a few ASCII art pictures I find on the web. At this point I am done with trying to post text files anywhere online but in an actual text file which can be a clickable link from the HTML web page. Keep it simple. If people want to complain they can go ahead and do so. But, no one should complain without offering me a solution to the problem of posting text in an HTML environment. If you don't have a real solution, you should not complain about the solution I have found.
Not everyone tinkers with HTML any more. If you have and know what the alt image tags are (and where they are) you could give this a try. It's not so practical now that almost no one uses a text based web browser. In the early days of the Internet a text based browser was practical because there were few images and if you stuck with text only web surfing you could be much faster in the days of  dial up modems. As you can see below the code is basic HTML for adding an image with the addition of the alt attribute to describe the image. This alt tag is still practical for people who concern themselves with SEO. Mainly it is good for keeping your site accessible for those who are vision impaired and have technology which will read those image tags but be unable to describe the image unless the tag exists to be read. To do this, have your ASCII art ready. Create an ASCII image to go with the graphical image you are using. In your HTML code include the entire tag inside
...
tags, and put the ASCII art inside the ALT attribute.  (See the image below which I recreated and then cut and pasted from the site where I found this idea.)

With this code a text only web browser would pick up only the image text and thus show your ASCII art picture. The ASCII art picture would not benefit the vision impaired web reader/ browser. So it is a good idea to add a word to describe your image along with the ASCII art picture.

Do not add text before or after the image itself. It will work as part of the image. Keep it all between the quote marks and the PRE tags (which tell the web browser this is pre-formatted information which should be kept "as is" with line breaks and spaces).
Above you can see an example of chain letter (chain mail) which uses ASCII art to illustrate and attract attention to it. I've seen others which use ASCII art angels and a large face with open arms on either side. I'm not a fan of chain mail, even those which appear to be nice on the surface. How well meaning can they be when they are still based on telling people what they will or will not get if they do or do not send the chain letter to someone else. Often a lot of other people. Don't consider yourself expected to send this to anyone.
I haven't thought about ASCII art text images being used for passwords in a long time. I remembered the idea when I read a post written by hackers who were trying to create software which would crack ASCII art passwords based on repeated characters. ASCII art as a password is pretty unique still. Don't worry too much about hackers cracking your password. Just make your ASCII art a bit more complicated, using more variety in the characters you choose and include numbers and letters too.  Of course, the ASCII has to be one line too. Think of it as a good reason to work on creating new one line ASCII art.

Rebus Puzzles, Wordies, Visual Puns, Pictogram Puzzles and Descriptive ASCII

I've seen this kind of insight puzzle several times over the years but if I knew the correct name for it I had forgotten. They are called Rebus Puzzles, also known as Wordies. In searching for more of these online I have found them called a variety of names: visual puns, pictogram puzzles and Descriptive ASCII. When people don't know the name, they come up with something themselves. I like 'visual pun' it makes sense. Some puzzles are straight forward text (like those I've added below). Others include pictures and symbols too. There's probably confusion about describing these styles and labeling them all with the same name. If you get brain strained and want a different kind of word game, try BookWorm.

Adding a New Element to ASCII Art

I like the idea of taking this a step farther as an ASCII art element. I've been working on ideas to create wordie puzzles (without pictures, just in text). They are a new element to add to text art. Kind of puzzling... So far I find I am only thinking along the lines of puzzles which include directional words like "above, over, under, beside". I think I can take the text puzzles farther once I wrap my mind around the idea of keeping them typed out rather than using graphic software which would let me move the words around the final image. Maybe no one will understand what I'm talking about there. But, I do and it's kind of a cool project for "someday".
One downside of creating ASCII art is the lack of colour. We type it into plain text and plain text comes out black on white. It's pretty plain that way. For most ASCII art that is fine. It keeps it simple. The focus is the art, the way it was created, rather than making it prettied up just for the sake of being prettier. However, you can easily bring colour to ASCII art. You will need:
  • your ASCII art picture (of course)
  • an HTML editor (or text editor with font and colour features)
  • a screen capture software
  • an HTML colour guide (not essential)
First, open the HTML editor. (I actually use Composer with Sea Monkey). Cut and paste your ASCII art into it. Make sure it shows right, change the font as necessary. You can even try a few fonts and see which gives you the look you prefer. My favourite is still FixedSys but Consolas comes in a close second. Next, highlight your ASCII art and use the HTML editor to colour the text. This is just what you would do if you were changing the colour of a text sentence, quote or paragraph in a written post. Any HTML or text editor that lets you change the font and colour of your text will work. If not, try another one, there are lots of good, free HTML and text editors. When your ASCII art is highlighted bring up your screen capture. (I use KSnapshot). Before you capture the image check the position of your cursor. Make sure it's not in the picture, literally. (I still do this once in a while and have to take a second screen capture to fix it). When you're ready, take the screen capture of the ASCII art and turn it into an image file. If you have a choice, the .png file tends to give best results. That's it! Of course this makes the image all one colour. If you want to make the image a light colour, change to a dark background colour. You can spend time and effort on doing more. I don't usually. I like to keep it simple and not spend more time colouring the ASCII art than I did in creating it.