Two WordPress Plugins to Add ASCII Art to Source Code

Adding ASCII art to the source code (the HTML files) may not interest people who don’t look at source code.

The source code is an easy place to add ASCII art because those files open in plain text, no formatting or fancy fonts. So, the ASCII art shows up without much extra work, almost none in fact.

If you access your HTML files you can add ASCII art yourself, without the plugins. (See above). But, not everyone wants to do that.

WP Figlet

WP Figlet is all about adding text created in ASCII art fonts (figlets). It even lets you choose which figlet fonts you want to use. The auto suggestions creates a figlet in your source code like this (you choose your own words):

It does work.

Source Code ASCII Art

Source Code (although not updated in 4 years, also works). If you are timid about mucking around in the HTML files then either of these plugins will work for you. Source Code lets you choose to have the ASCII art in your header or footer. However, I found it did need the extra HTML code for keeping the formatting after I saved my text image.

One thing I dislike about Source Code is the lack of artist credit (artist initials). I checked several of the ASCII images available with the plugin and none had artist credits. I used my own ASCII image with my initials.

In the end… DIY.

Don’t be bashful about getting into your own source code. Skip the plugins and just do it yourself.  Once you access the file it’s very simple to add the ASCII art with the code for notes. (See the first image in this post, no reason you can’t do that yourself).

WordPress Plugin to Add ASCII Art to your Footer

I looked at 3 plugins to add ASCII art to your WordPress blog. This is the first one I loaded up and experimented with. It does work but may not be the results you wanted.

There are no options to add the ASCII art to the bottom of your posts or pages. The plugin does place ASCII art at the very bottom of my site, under the footer.  Below is my first experiment. I was pretty neutral with the results. But, I’m a bit traditional when it comes to the font I use. The spacing was out, the lines between text. Also, the top line of my art was pushed to the left.

I tried another ASCII, thinking a longer image would look better either way.

Adding HTML code worked to keep the formatting but, it shows up on the site.

Still it is nice to have a little surprise for anyone who reads to the end. So I will keep this plugin and see how often I remember to change out the ASCII art images.

Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

I have wanted to build an archive of ASCII art for years. I have masses of text files with ASCII art collected in files, some of it I even began trying to sort out. However, it is a much bigger and messier project than I expected. To start with, how do you sort it all out so people can find it? By original artist would be nice but – it is hard to be sure who the original artist is in many cases and I don’t think many people would be searching by artist since most have no idea who they were anyway.

Anyway, I create my own ASCII art. I began in 1998 with the newsgroups which are now a part of Google. Thank you to Google for preserving those old newsgroups – they even kept them current so you can continue making posts as if nothing has changed. But, the newsgroups changed and most people moved on when the spam over loaded the content.

I knew Joan Stark, Llizard, Veronika, Hayley and many others from those newsgroup days of alt.ascii-art (I may not have that exactly right, it’s been a long time). Joan Stark became a mystery, she just disappeared one day. I have tried to track her down but no luck.  Llizard and Hayley I did find and have sent notes the odd time.

But, the old days of ASCII art are gone. It isn’t used in email signatures now. Email became HTML and stuck with that. I protested at the time. It was doomed by marketing – people wanted to use HTML to spam email better. So they did, still do. But, I still have my email set to text only just to spite them all. Small and meaningless revenge makes me feel a tiny bit better.

ASCII art is not completely dead. It is sadly not always what I would call ASCII art. I will never think of mechanically produced text art pictures as true ASCII art. If you did not pick and choose each letter, number and character to create your picture then you don’t have ASCII art. Anyone can scan a picture into text – that doesn’t make it art just a copy of the original. You rely on the software to do all the work and software can’t replace a human who is less than perfect but can see things with emotion and use their intelligence to make unique choices. Machines lack that feature, so far.

Why am I putting up this site after all this blabbing about ASCII art…? I want to show my own work and I want to promote ASCII art as a whole. I don’t want ASCII art to fall off the sidelines into history as some dorky, geeky fad that time forgot.  I don’t like to see people mock it (that includes the computer produced art versus the human produced art). I want to see the ASCII artists remembered along with the art they created.

Is that too much to ask? Probably not. But, it is a pretty big project to take on. Wish me luck!

You can read more about me and my other posts for the WordPress Blogging 101 challenge and my other sites.

Passwords in ASCII Art

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.

Create Your Own ASCII Art to Illustrate Your Blog or Website

I Make my own ASCII Art. So Can You.

Start by looking down at your keyboard. The typical keyboard has every character (letter and punctuation mark) that you need to make your own ASCII art. Anything not already on that keyboard is not used for ASCII art. If you use extra characters you’re making ANSI art.

Always work in a font which is a fixed width. Notepad, the Windows defaul text editor runs on a fixed width font. I always use a basic, simple text editor when I’m making ASCII art. Even now using Linux, there is a plain text editor.

First, decide what you actually want to create. I like to have a sketch I’ve done myself or find some clip art online to guide me while I work. Whatever works to give a plan, a simple outline – it does help.

Use your own keyboard as an aid to figuring out what will work for the shapes you need for your design/ picture. If you work on something small you’re going to need to be pretty specific with the shapes you pick. So, try something a litle larger in size. This gives you leeway to create shapes with several characters rather than just one. (This will make more sense once you are actually started).

When you’re pretty happy with your creation, don’t forget the final touch – your artist initials! Mine are ldb.

You Can Get Fancy with Your ASCII Art

Add colour, make it bigger, change the whole style of it even.

Change to another fixed width font and you can alter the look of your ASCII art. I prefer FixedSys font but it’s not available with every text editor. Try other fonts, like Consolas and Dark Courier. Some of them will give you thinner lines. Some will use shorter lines. You can see the difference a font makes in the Canadian flag illustration.

Use an HTML editor to resize your ASCII art and add colour to it. This even lets you change the background dark and your ASCII art can be light on the dark. You will need a screen capture software to save your image from the HTML editor screen. You can try various other options but this is what I’ve found works best for me.

I use Kompzer as an HTML editor (it runs with Linux).

Now Put your ASCII Art on Your Blog/ Site

I’ve seen people post guides to making ASCII art. Most of them have never actually made any ASCII art. They may have used software to create something, but that’s not the same. It isn’t hard to make ASCII art, don’t cop out with software. Try DIY first. Of course, you won’t be an expert on your first try – so try again and then take some time away from it and come back for another try on the same image/ picture.

Look at tutorials and guides, look at ASCII art created by other people, keep trying it.

Put your creations up online. Let other people see them. Chances are they will be far less hard on your work than you will yourself.

Try formatting the ASCII art but if that isn’t working just turn it into an image file and post it like any other jpg, gif or png file.