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[APP] Comic Reader Mobi (kinetic scrolling and swiping finally implemented!)

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By deisama, Senior Member on 6th December 2008, 12:34 AM
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Comic Reader Mobi
by Ty Landercasper
I just realised that its been a whole year since I started this project!


A look back...
A lot has changed (including going commercial) but I thought it'd be fun to go over all the changes



Ah the difference a graphic artist can make!

Loading and saving

The first iteration of the load menu was quite crude! In fact for most of the non commercial development, I pretty much relied on everyone just opening it through their favorite file explorer and ignoring my built in load completely

Issues arose when people wanted to read a different comic. Since Comic Reader Mobi only remembered the very last one you opened, you'd lose your place! A recent menu was put in, and that worked great as long as you didn't read more than 10 comics. I tried implementing a crude version of bookmarking, but it was extremely buggy, and difficult to manage.

Now adays, everything is built into Comic Reader Mobi. Your place is remembered in every series, and every comic. So you can easily see where you last, and whats already completed. Everything is done automatically, so you never have to worry about again.

Onscreen Controls

Back in my day, we had these fancy things called "Buttons". And boy, it sure was great, because I hardly had to put any thought at all into the onscreen controls!
Just use the action button to change a page, the up and right to change your comic, (or zoom in) and left and right to change pages. Button binding got more sophisticated in the later versions, and in the commercial version you can bind any button to any action, and it even supports overriding the volume, close and phone buttons!

But alas, the days of buttons soon ended, as more and more people started getting the new Touch HD. Without an action button to press, they were stuck with keeping the menu's open all the time and using the clunky menu system. Having to hit "Menu-> next page" over and over. Eventually some ugly onscreen controls were thrown in. They were small, and before I knew how to do transparency. So they either blocked important parts of the comic or were difficult to press on the screen because they were small!

Now we have a whole new menu system which is layed out for all the important actions. Its easy and quick to drag your finger on it to get to the suboptions. Users have the option of always showing the menu bar, or showing super transparent controls. The transparent controls are even draggable now, so if they're blocking part of the text, you can just move them out of the way

Comic Reader Mobi even has a brand new feature with a center hotspot. If you press in the center of the screen and drag within the box, than the onscreen controls will quicly popup and you can easily change pages or access controls that way! Its like being able to swipe to change pages

Lens Mode!



And who can forget the lens! initially created because someone requested a "zoom box" and I didn't know what that meant, the lens has because a powerful feature for letting people read comics without needing to scroll around.
I noticed early on that I was having a hard time reading my comics, because I'd constantly get lost, or not understand what was happening. By being zoomed in and scrolling around, I could read the text clearly, but most of the gags and action scenes were lost on me, because I was unable to see them entirely.

The first iteration of the lens just opened at a set size, didn't have any borders, and believe it or not, wasn't even draggable!
Most of the development was focused on the lens from that point on. A lot of good well as well as bad ones were implemented in order to get it to be usable. Users could change the size of it, on option was added to make it dragable, another one was added so that it would only appear while you were touching the screen(this feature was quickly scrapped), there was even a "lens mode" option where everywhere you touched a dragged a lens would come up(another scrapped feature). It eventually finished with being on tapping the screen to pop the lens up, and you could drag it by dragging the lens, or drag the page by dragging off the lens.
I created a way to detect text on the screen so that the the lens would autosize to the bubble, and I'm constantly improving the algorithm so its more and more reliable.
And now its just as easy to read on the small screen as it is on the large one!

On the iphone side, one of my customers requested being able to change the zoom level, because he was legally blind and the lens was the only way to read comics at all for him! So now Comic Reader Mobi lets you set the zoom level to 2x,3x, or 4x.
The Commercial version also lets you select "Box Zoom" from the buttons, which lets you drag your own custom box to create a lens.
It also has the option to fit to the entire page, so you can draw custom lens anytime you don't have to scroll at all


The Name
Originally deemed "Comic Reader" because my naming ability is not one of my stronger skills. I eventually asked forum members to help me come up with a name, but as it turns out most of them actually liked the name "Comic Reader!" They said it made it easier to find and identify. Someone suggested Comic Reader Mobile, for Windows Mobile, and it instantly stuck. By simply adding another word, it magically changed from a description to a legitimate title!
When I was about to go commercial, I was worried that the "Mobile" part might get me in trouble since it was going to be out for the iphone and Blackberry. So I set out to find a new name. That was when I learned that there was a whole .mobi domain out there, and since it was new, there were actually domains still available! Like a kid in a candy store, I snatched up as many as I could. I was very excited when I realised I could call the program Comic Reader Mobi, and people would be able to get to it by going to http://comicreader.mobi
And that is how the program ended up with what is quite literally the most generic name I could possibly give it



Loading Times
Throughout the development, people complained about the comic load times. Since I only read manga, which is traditionally very small and light files, and only had one or two second delays between pages, I pretty much had no idea what you were all talking about, and just assumed everyone was crazy.
When I started the development of the commercial version, I figured if I wanted to take your money, I should probably look into this issue..
I eventually tested it with an American comic, and it turns out you guys weren't crazy and the loading times were indeed slow! I immediately reworked the loading system, and now the program buffers the next page while you're reading so all the pages changes are usually instant.

Kinetic Scrolling and swiping
The most common feature request has finally been implemented! Now the program features kinetic scrolling, and a great page turning feature!



Final Remarks
Its been quite a ride this past year, and I'm planning on making many more improvements for the next one!


If you'd like to buy it, or read more about it, you can go to my website here:
http://comicreader.mobi

or, if you want to wish me luck, ask any questions, or just feel like populating my forums you can go here:
http://forums.comicreader.mobi


Thanks!
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6th December 2008, 12:56 AM |#2  
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This sounds great but where is the App?
6th December 2008, 01:12 AM |#3  
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whoops, I remembered to upload the attachment, but didn't realise I needed to add it in the body!
6th December 2008, 06:09 AM |#4  
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Thank You
6th December 2008, 06:32 AM |#5  
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thx
thx! nice app
6th December 2008, 09:15 AM |#6  
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Ive been looking at something like this for awhile! Interested to see how it performs!
6th December 2008, 11:46 AM |#7  
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Any chance for an update to read .cbr files?
7th December 2008, 12:37 AM |#8  
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yeah, the next version will support cbr and rar files
7th December 2008, 08:56 PM |#9  
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Kudos for the program. I like it!

I am waiting for the update for the cbz format. Its going to kick some serious butt. Also is it possible to access files from the storage card? When I am given the access to the open menu, I can only open files that are on the device memory.

Cheers tho.

Ben
7th December 2008, 09:16 PM |#10  
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It actually will open files on the storage card but only one level deep
so anything in \comics\xmen will not be seen
but
\xmen will be.
I really really don't understand why Microsoft choose to make their open dialog work that way, but there you have it

In the next release I'll have an option to associate comic reader with cbz and cbr files, so that you can open them from File Explorer and get around that.
8th December 2008, 12:15 AM |#11  
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Ah I see that. Thanks for the tip.

This is a really nice idea btw. I have been using just the included image viewer up until now to read my comics and stuff. I will totally be watching for the updates.

Thank you.
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