Nerdbucket Blog!
Leave Comments
Contact Me
Nerdy Links
Privacy Policy

Member Area:
Member FAQ
Log In

Weblibs Stuff:
Parts of Speech
Helpful Tips
About Weblibs

The Making of WebLibs

The Beginning: WebLibs was first designed in late 1999 when I had no job and desperately needed a hobby to keep what little sanity I had left from escaping. I was bored and wanted to learn a new skill, and designing a web site seemed like something that could help on a resume. But a "normal" website didn't appeal to me. I was just sick to death of people's personal sites: READ ABOUT MY FRIENDS & FAMILY, AND LOOK AT PICS OF MY CAT SCRUFFY WHO HAS HAIRBALLS AND WHO CAN'T PEE HAHAHA HA LOL!! Needless to say, I wanted something a little more interesting.

As a kid I'd always liked MadLibs, and figured that would be a great idea of something to bring to the web! I decided I'd have to learn a thing or two about web programming, though, as I couldn't find a way to make HTML take and process user input.

Enter Perl: Well, some investigating put me hot on the trail of something called perl, a programming language well-suited for what I had in mind. I could create forms in HTML and have a program written in perl go through and parse the user's input to create an interactive, web-based fill-in-the-blanks story. It seemed perfect! What a unique and wonderful idea I had!

It's all been done... I decided to see if there would be any "competition" for my crazy unique idea. As you may be aware, I was not the first person to come up with my idea, and in fact was just another one of the dozens who had though of the idea of calling it "WebLibs". My dream of uniqueness shattered, I decided to see if I could at least make my WebLibs better than others. Luckily for me, it seemed that most web "designers" who cared about WebLibs (or similar concepts) could only copy from the original MadLibs, or else could only write their own stories at the third grade level. There were only a few sites that looked like they had good design as well as good stories, and one of them actually required payment to view their "premium" WebLibs!

Today: What you see today is a collection of my own, 100% original stories. None are rip-offs of the old paper game, and most look like they were written by somebody with at least a fourth grade education.

I now use PHP exclusively and have a much more robust system for my stories. Creating and adding a new story now requires no code: I just drop in a story template. The new story is instantly added to the list on the main page, and the story is ready for use.

You may also notice that the forms have been made very easy to use. All similar word types are grouped together, but within each group, the words are jumbled. That is, if a story has three nouns, putting "tree" into the first noun box will sometimes make "tree" the story's first noun, sometimes the second, and sometimes the third. This may not sound like much, but it makes a single story able to be run more than just once by a person. I think replayability in any type of game is important, so why make WebLibs that are completely "done" once you've viewed them once?

WebLibMail is another way to keep the games fun. You make a story and send it to a friend, they then send you their story and maybe send it to another friend, etc. A single story can come out so many different ways, and with email you can instantly see how somebody else's story came out, giving you a fresh view of a story that you might otherwise have been bored with. In the pen and paper game, you couldn't do much, since the story was all written on. But on the web, these limitations don't exist! I figured it only made sense to take advantage of this fact. Too bad that I still haven't found any other WebLibs that make good use of today's technology.

Check out Games!