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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year

I wish all a Happy New Year 2007.

I want to thank all the people who have helped ComicRack becoming a better program during this year. Your feedback is the main force for further development.
I also like to thank the people who posted, told and spread information about the new kid on the block called ComicRack.

On the PayPal support donation front the project till now has received 0 (zero) €. I hope Amnesty International fared better :/

Anyways, Happy New Year and all the luck to you guys and gals out there :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Nice Christmas surprise from Google

So they disabled the google pages where i hosted the ComicRackSetup.exe.

I have put the file now on an alternate location and will send google an email questioning about what the problem is, as i can't find anything in their Terms of Use...

Or are you not allowed to put a donate button on your page?

Maybe someone can enlighten me...

UPDATE: "Because this is a Google Labs product, we're unable to re-enable or investigate your site." Nice...

ComicRack v0.9.24 released

Merry Christmas to you all :)

Here's a little gift for you to get you over the holidays.

The new version adds support for manga style reading (right->left for double pages).
Also I've upped the maximum size for thumbnails four fold.

As always here's the rundown of the changes:

  • NEW: Added Manga Style property to comics for flipped two page display (manga reading mode)
  • CHANGE: Single click list checkboxes
  • CHANGE: Sorting by year now also sorts by series if year/month same
  • CHANGE: New maximum Thumbnail image size is 512 (small performance hit, but nice anyways :))
  • CHANGE: Cover Thumbnails now honor the high quality settings
  • CHANGE: Moved Hide sidebar into the main menu and changed the keyboard shortcuts
  • BUG: Mark as read did only work with not read comics
  • BUG: Removed invalid shortcut Ctrl-I from "Invert selection" command

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Supporting ComicRack

I thought really long and hard about this one... there's now a donate button on this page.

ComicRack is a spare time project.
I'm not doing it to earn money.
I have a well enough paid job to bring me through the day :)

But I'm not going to fund this project with my own money. Call it principles. That's why it's currently only using freebie services.

What i would like to see for ComicRack is to get it's own web page, domain etc.
Also for the future there should be some kind of central database for comic information. So this means also money for database hosting and stuff like that.

So if you're enjoying the program, please support it.
If not, but you still want to do something good with your money, head over to these people.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.23 released

This is just a small update.
I finally came around to make a new icon design and get rid of the 2 year old one done for RComix. Hope you like it.

These are the new icons for Application, Document and Setup.

Another long requested feature has made it finally into ComicRack: If the program is in 2 page mode, browsing forward actually advances 2 pages :)

List of changes:

  • NEW: Added cover images to the delete dialog boxes
  • NEW: Page forward in Two Page display mode advances two pages
  • CHANGE: Changed the icon for ComicRack (was about time)
  • CHANGE: page curl effect uncovers the current read page in the comic
  • BUG: color names did not include needed spaces (wherever colors are to choose)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.22 released

Now that's what i call agile development :)

This one includes some performance enhancements, the squishing of an ugly deadlock bug, some new features and in general all the other usual mojo :)

As i've moved the thumbnail/image cache to a new location comicrack has to rebuild them. Also you can remove the old cache folder at C:\Documents And Settings\User\Application Data\cYo\ComicsRack\Cache.

Quick rundown of the changes:

  • NEW: Global filter for image keys never to use as cover thumbnails
  • NEW: Added Read/Unread/Reading filter to quicksearch dropdown
  • CHANGE: Restructured the Advanced Preferences Tab to make space for new settings
  • CHANGE: Moved image caches to local non roaming profile (better for corporate environments)
  • BUG: Fixed possible deadlock in cache/drawing
  • BUG: Fixed link to website in start menu
  • BUG: Fixed installer for Vista
  • BUG: Fixed performance for thumbnail mode list resizes
  • BUG: Fixed Alternate Series in Search Browser
  • BUG: Wrong second (uncovered) page displayed in lists in rare situations
  • BUG: Open previous comic from list did not work in reader

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Finally at least some people in the industry get it right.
Buy your non DRMed, 100% legal comics online and read them with ComicRack :)

I hope this is only the first sign of future things to come...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Flashback Universe

As a lot of people do not seem to know where to get eComics, i added a link to FlashBack Universe for your quick fix :)

ComicRack v0.9.21 released

Now that's called "pulling a quick one"...

Vista played an ugly trick on me (IShellDispatch5 for all you in the know :/)
So here's the fixed version and just for the sake of it, i also added some other fixes for which you would have otherwise waited another week...

Build 0.9.21:
  • BUG: Fixed sorting on column header clicks
  • BUG: Fixed hilite/selected state for non cover thumbnail items
  • BUG: Fixed wrong text color for selected favorites folder items
  • BUG: Fixed vista/xp shell32 incompatibility

Monday, December 04, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.20 released

A litter later then usual, here's .20

This brings some cbr/rar fixes, a nice page curl effect in the lists, selectable texts for the thumbnail view and other optimizations and fixes.

As i installed vista from the MSDN subscription recently (lets say i'm underwhelmed by this XP SP3 with a candy user interface) this one also brings ComicRack better looking and better behaving into vista land :)

As always here's the list of changes.

Build 0.9.20:
  • NEW: Added startup progress indicator to the splash screen
  • NEW: Count of group items displayed in group headers
  • NEW: Text for thumbnails is now selectable
  • NEW: Library tree remembers collapsed/expanded states
  • NEW: Page Curl effect for thumbnail/tiles
  • CHANGE: Tile Background less transparent
  • CHANGE: More fluent initial window display
  • CHANGE: Better guessing of non loaded thumbnail sizes (less flicker and movement)
  • CHANGE: List selection code optimizations (less redrawing, faster)
  • CHANGE: Switched list fonts to default icon fonts of os (looks better on vista)
  • CHANGE: Smaller/nicer sort arrows in column headers
  • BUG: Default List "Recently Added" was incorrectly named "Recently AddedTime" on inital install
  • BUG: Fixed slow preview in Comic Book Dialog introduced with the full page change in 0.9.18
  • BUG: Fixed some cbr/rar issues on Vista (and maybe XP)
  • BUG: Hack for correct drawing of browser tabs on vista
  • BUG: correct IPv6 handling in Vista for server code
  • BUG: Fixed handling of incorrect windows explorer objects (e.g. Nokia Phone Browser)
  • BUG: Fixed vertial scrolling during column resize or header dragging
  • BUG: Fixed incorrect restoring of panel sizes on startup
  • BUG: Thumbnails in lists did not honour the high quality setting

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Firewall Settings

It's always the small thing...

If you want to run ComicRack in client/server mode AND you have a working firewall that blocks inbound traffic (read as not XP firewall) you may have to open up ports 7612-7613 for inbound TCP/UDP on your firewall. And of course open them only for local/subnet addresses. Just to be save :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A view of the past

Ever wondered why the program icon of ComicRack is a "RC" instead of a "CR"?
Well, today i traveled back into the depths of my Version Control System and checked the granddaddy of ComicRack out of the repository.

It was called "RComix" and was developed in the year 2004 out of the need to have a comic reader able to read pdf files (and not wanting to use Acrobat). 2 years later it was the starting code base for the development of ComicRack. The icon is still the same :)

You can download it here.

Simply unpack it into a folder, start "RComix.exe" and marvel at the long way ComicRack has come :) You can still recognize very early versions of features and decisions still at work in ComicRack (fading panels, page part navigation, background thumbnail creation etc.).

Monday, November 20, 2006

Added some Screenshots

Finally i had the time to add some screenshots of the current ComicRack version. So now there's no excuse anymore if you're not using it :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.19 released

This one finally has the long awaited switch to text type for number fields. Now you can enter 0.5 or 12a as series information.

Here's the rest of the changes for Build 0.9.19:
  • NEW: Command to hide/show the Sidebar in Library/Explorer/Favorites
  • NEW: Hot tracking effect in browsers
  • CHANGE: Switched Number & Alternate Number to Text (allowing now 0.5, 12a etc)
  • CHANGE: Comic Book Dialog remembers last active tab
  • CHANGE: Added Cancel button to Progress Dialog when getting big file lists in explorer
  • CHANGE: Keyboard shortcuts for switching list modes
  • CHANGE: Removed Searchbar and moved the items into a dropdown menu
  • CHANGE: Some changes in how thumbnails & tiles look (I hope for the better :))
  • BUG: Proposed Textbox background incorrectly displayed & as _
  • BUG: Preferences Dialog now correctly accepts Enter/Escape for OK/Cancel
  • BUG: Month, Alternate Count, Alternate Series and Alternate Number was not editable in the details mode (long click edit)

As always

Sunday, November 12, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.18 released

Again a fairly small release.

Build 0.9.18:

  • NEW: Scroll mode now automatically switches to next/previous page
  • CHANGE: Better Page Type Context Menus & Filter Drop Down in Pages Browser
  • CHANGE: Extended List Options Dialog with some new options
  • CHANGE: Better handling of quick search with big lists
  • CHANGE: Comic Book Dialog now always uses the full scale page image in the color settings

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ComicRack v.0.9.17 released

This is just a very small bugfix release.

Build 0.9.17:
  • BUG: Crashing bug when clicking on a non valid folder in explorer view (e.g. My Computer)
  • BUG: Killed scrolling in image preview for color adjustment preview in version 0.9.16
  • BUG: Fixed multi-selection with keyboard-only in comics lists
  • BUG: 0.9.15 optimizations actually broke writing info back to eComics - that's what i call optimizations...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pimp your XP

Microsoft released a really nice theme for XP in their Zune marketing effort. It's a Media Center styled Theme in black.

You can download it here. It matches nicely with ComicRack :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm almost done with Microsoft now...

Here's a little story.

Yesterday i wanted to download the Tablet PC SDK from the Microsoft Website. If you follow the link you may notice the "Genuine Advantage Validation" stuff on the page. Now my XP is not running any of these WGA homecalling microsoft spyware. I like to have control over my computer and my operating system. I like to decide what i can and what i can't do, whom my machine is talking to in idle time and to whom not.

So till this moment this genuine advantage was to keep unlegitimate users of XP out of updates for new features. You want the new IE7? Prove you have a legitimate copy. You want this nice power toy? Show me your license. There seems to be at least some logic behind this. It gives me at least a way to opt out (that is, the XP i bought has all the features i need and no WGA stuff).

Back to the Tablet PC SDK. An SDK (or Software Development Kit) is solely there to help write and develop applications. It is no program in itself, no utility and no application, it does not give you as a user more features in your Microsoft Product (in this case XP). It is there to enable writing applications for an operating system.

So I want to make ComicRack a good program. I want to support proprietary things on the XP platform. I create a program that helps people come to the conclusion that Windows XP is a cool platform. That it has better programs than the other platforms. That those Linux guys can go home with their little featureless viewer programs. The programs make the system. People don't use Windows because it is good, but because most of the good programs are running there. So I help Microsoft earn money. I HELP Microsoft. And for this "Advantage" i have to fall to their "total control over my machine" scheme.
Nice thinking Microsoft. Only problem is, you kinda keep people losing on the way.

As an alternative, i tried to download the SDK from my Linux machine. But of course there is no way to download a Windows SDK from a non windows platform...
Finally i bit the bullet, downloaded this GenuineAdvantage Tool, "validated" my machine and downloaded the SDK.

Now lets look at the grander things to come...Vista.
Take a closer look at that future. Is this the way you want it to be?

I know i don't. And i know i don't want it to be that way with an upgrade cost for my 5 machines in my home network of roughly 1000 €,when the none monopoly guys can do it with more technical finesse and no homecalling, crippling, "don't upgrade your machines ", "we decide what content you're allowed to view" Orwellian software for this amount. And i'm not even mentioning this or this.

In the last 15 years i was supportive of Microsoft. I liked what they did. I still like SOME things they are doing (.NET comes to mind). But slowly the bad things begin to outweigh the good things.

And as a last note: Don't give me the "i don't buy it anyways, i wait for the russian release" line.
With this attitude you're just enabling Microsoft to go on doing what they are doing: Screwing over all the legitimate users...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

ComicRack v.0.9.16 released

Seems i have too much time on my hands lately :)

.16 brings the long awaited and much anticipated global color adjustment settings. It also introduces an optional "Auto Contrast" setting that greatly enhances washed out scans without you having to move those sliders around :)

And as always i threw some additional bug fixes into the basket.

Build 0.9.16:

  • NEW: Global Color Adjustment Settings
  • NEW: Auto Contrast option
  • NEW: Apply Button in Preferences
  • NEW: "Next/Previous from List" commands added to Viewer Context Menu
  • CHANGE: Default key shortcuts for messageboxes with checkboxes (press Alt to see the shortcut)
  • CHANGE: Small close button for comic preview
  • BUG: Show View commands always toggled browser visibility (now only if selected view already visible)
  • BUG: Fixed the pixel bug on the left side of the first entry in the comic list
  • BUG: Bad hash code for color adjustment values that could lead to wrong images loaded from cache

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fun with your PSP

Just tried something that worked amazingly good.

1) Connect your PSP
2) Open ComicRack, open an eComic, do File->Save eComic as... and select "Folder with jpeg images" as type
3) Browse in the save dialog to your PSP Photo Folder (in my case G:\PSP\PHOTO) and hit save.
4) Disconnect your PSP, go to photo and select the new comic folder :)

Reading on the PSP works amazingly well. Maybe it would be a good idea to add a 480 width conversion to the save function, so that the comics are already properly scaled. It would also be cool if the PSP could retain the current zoom state when changing pictures.

ComicRack v.0.9.15 released

A rather quick new release, but i had time to clean some stuff up and optimize.
Main reason is to add the new unrar.dll to the package, as this seems to solve some issues in some rare environments.

Build 0.9.15:
  • CHANGE: Optimizations when displaying folders with eComics which are not in the Library
  • CHANGE: Update to unrar.dll 3.70 - seems this fixes some problems
  • CHANGE: ComicInfo.xml in cbr/cbz files is now only read when the eComic is opened for reading or added to the database
  • CHANGE: Folder/File list in file browser is now built on first selection and not on application start
  • CHANGE: Embedded information in eComics only updated when the information really changes
  • CHANGE: Less foreground updates during scanning
  • BUG: Image sizes where not displayed correctly for files not in the database
  • BUG: Library entry could be removed in the Library Browser
As a side note: ComicRack performs best if you add your comics to the library. This allows ComicRack to make heavy use of data and information caching. The whole explorer part of it is just there for additional convenience (if you ever wondered why there's not more explorer stuff like copy files, delete etc. - thats the reason).

And second side note: i come more and more to the conclusion that cbz/cbr is a very insufficient format to store comics in.
So what are the problems ComicRack has to cope with:
  • Very slow
    Getting the count of images or trying to read ComicInfo.xml from inside costs a lot of time. Because each time ComicRack has to open the archive and decompress part of it.
  • Not Updateable
    You can not write information back to the file. With rar it is not possible at all (because of licensing) and with zip it would be just crazy (decompress archive, change/add file and compress again). That's the reason ComicRack has to resort to open up secondary filestreams to store the information in the files. But this again can lead to synchronization problems as there are three possible places for meta information - ComicInfo.xml, NTFS secondary stream, database... - a sack full of cats...
What should be the right way to do it? I don't know, but if i had to design it from scratch, i would go for a xml based file format with embedded CData elements for the images. Info would be at the end so you could update the file without rewriting it.

Maybe i should get in contact with some of the linux guys to come with something up...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ComicRack v.0.9.14 released

Various bug fixes and some nice new features made it into this one :)

Main feature of course is the new magnifier to quickly and locally zoom into the mouse location.
The Search Browser is now customizable. So no longer sticking to Genre/Writer/Series.
Also this release comes with a default genre list. The list is stored in the file genres.txt and can be adapted to your needs. If someone makes a better default list, head over to the forums and post yours.

Build 0.9.14:

  • NEW: Search Browser has now selectable columns (Genre, Year, Penciller etc)
  • NEW: Magnifier Tool
  • NEW: Default Genre list taken from Genre.txt
  • CHANGE: Small changes in News Reader Dialog
  • CHANGE: Faster disk cache initialization on startup
  • CHANGE: Mousewheel has same behavior as up/down keys
  • CHANGE: Column headers have now the same alignment as the column
  • BUG: Fixed missing image size in page display for PDF files
  • BUG: Fixed shortcut for full screen command
  • BUG: Selection bug in Search Browser
  • BUG: Search Browser was empty when initially visible
  • BUG: Shutdown exception till the first time a folder in Eplorer View got selected. This basically lead to not being able to store some preferences
  • BUG: Network sharing had problems with multiple nics in the server
  • BUG: Fixed Font bug in textboxes

Hacking the News Reader

.13 introduced the news dialog. As this is really a full blown RSS reader under the hoods, you can hack in your own feeds as long as i'm to lazy to add an editor.

C:\Documents And Settings\Your User Name\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack\News.xml

in your favorite editor and add the following line below the <Subscriptions> line
<Subscription Url=""/>

Now you've got all the Marvel News you need when starting ComicRack. If you should mess up the file somehow, simply delete it. ComicRack creates a new default one for you.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.13 released

Sorry for the delay, but i had other stuff to do in the last few weeks. But anyway, here's the new version of ComicRack.

This version now has a built in ComicRack News reader (basically a RSS feed reader for this site - but this can be extended in the future). So don't be alarmed when your firewall cries on startup that ComicRack is connecting to the the internet. The program is just downloading the news feeds. You can turn it off in the reader dialog.

I also added a Cursor Keys Scroll mode to the viewer. This means that you can now toggle the function of the cursor keys between page/part navigation (the default) and classic windows page scrolling. Each has it's pros and cons. Page part navigation allows you to navigate/page through an eComic with only using the cursor keys (or the display side keys on a Tablet PC). But of course the stepping of the part locations can be a problem (no smooth positioning of the part that is displayed). The new scroll mode allows to do just that, but of course you need the Page-Up/Down or space key to change pages. And BTW, it was always possible to drag the page in zoom modes with the mouse (hold mouse and move).
I hope this will silence some of the critics of the viewer part :P

And I added a new option to disable writing meta data back to the eComic files. This way your eComic files will be left untouched. But of course, you will lose all your meta information in the case you remove the book from the library or delete the library.

As always the list of changes:

  • NEW: Added option to disable writing embedded meta info to eComic files.
  • NEW: News Reader for ComicRack news
  • NEW: Hitting space advances to next page
  • NEW: Alternate keyboard mode where cursor keys scroll instead of display the next/previous part
  • CHANGE: Meta Info from eComics is only read when adding to library or opening an edit dialog. This should also lead to faster startup times
  • CHANGE: Embedded Meta Info is now written delayed in the background. This speeds up changing info of large batches of files
  • CHANGE: Fixed unnecessary list updates when background scan added comics. This greatly speeds up adding of lots of comics
  • CHANGE: Smoothed the stick scrolling
  • BUG: Fixed wrong date grouping when ComicRack passed 00:00

Monday, September 25, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.12 released

So here's the hotfix for the favorites bug. I also added a small control for pen users to make scrolling in big lists easier (look in the lower right corner in lists).

List of changes:

  • NEW: Added a trackball like control to the lists for easier scrolling with pens
  • BUG: Fixed crash when adding Favorites Folder containing no files

Bug in Favorites

So i made a crashing bug into the favorites browser when using it with empty folders.

Stay tuned for .12 build today. I can't stand having a buggy version out there :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.11 released

Short summary of changes:

  • NEW: Added "Change" button to the library folders in preferences
  • NEW: Added "Read Percentage" to the Smart List fields
  • NEW: Min/Max state of reader is correctly saved/restored
  • NEW: Storing list setups for remote libraries
  • NEW: Added "Include Subfolders" option to File/Favorites browser
  • CHANGE: New Align Images
  • CHANGE: Moved docking commands into the browser caption
  • CHANGE: Speedup in resizing cover thumbnails
  • BUG: Fixed some sizing bugs when docking and/or resizing browser
  • BUG: "Mark Page Read" correctly sets the last read page
  • BUG: Fixed some navigation/part bugs

Sunday, September 17, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.10 released

Here we go:
  • NEW: Added Month to meta data
  • NEW: Added "Full Screen" Button to the toolbar
  • NEW: Browser can now be docked left/right/bottom
  • NEW: Option to close browser when opening a new eComic
  • CHANGE: Switched over to unrar.dll - maybe this fixed some cbr issues
  • CHANGE: Removed non working Library Folder from Preferences Dialog
  • BUG: Fixed background scan crash with non existing paths
  • BUG: Fixed writing of meta comic information to files
Because of the writing meta info bug, the last versions of ComicRack did not write any changes to the meta data to the file. If you want to update the files with the latest information, select all your books, do a Get Info... and change a property you are not using anywhere (say Editor). Hit Ok. This will update all the data in the selected files. Do again a Get Info and change the Editor property back. Of course you only have to do this, if you WANT to write your meta info into the eComic files.

In the next days I will start adding a FAQ section to the forum.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Planned release for the weekend

There will be a new release on the weekend.

At least it should have fixes for the scan network shares issue and also the issue for not importing exising meta information from eComics.

If there's some time, I'll also add the long planned Rename/Move/Convert feature.
I'm also looking currently into python to add scriptability to ComicRack.

And the Forum is still open for your suggestions and praise :)

Digg it!

As some good soul has put ComicRack on Digg, maybe some folks can head over and press the digg button :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Flash Demo for ComicRack

I found a small flash demo for ComicRack displaying some of the features.
Thanks to whoever made it :)
You know, when investing your spare time in creating something for the community it is always nice to see that someone appreciates it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back with new v0.9.9

So here I am again.
Well you could summarize the last two weeks with two words: wet and cold :)
But here's a new build with some fixes for a few bugs I found in those last two weeks.

  • BUG: Fixed Socket error on computers not connected to a network
  • BUG: Fixed Enter/Escape for OK/Cancel in Preferences Dialog
  • BUG: Fixed All/Any selection in Smart List Editor
  • BUG: ComicRack was not restored from tray if a second instance was started


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Gone for 2 weeks

So time has come for the official family holiday. This time it will lead us to Berlin, Baltic Sea and Hamburg.
Hope there will be at least a few days of sunshine :)

This means the next 14 days will have no updates whatsoever.

Friday, August 18, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.8 released

This should be the one fixing most of the issues i built into the 0.9.7 release.

  • NEW: Optional minimizing to system tray
  • CHANGE: Changed the shared image transfer to a zip based data protocol (some speedup on slow networks)
  • BUG: Fixed scan on startup option
  • BUG: Fixed multithreading scanning & update bugs
  • BUG: Fixed update of small preview when shown
  • BUG: Fixed shell icons retrieval in Folder View
  • BUG: Fixed some multithreading and priority issues on single processor machines
  • BUG: Fixed server not reacting to client broadcasts

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bug slipped in

I just found a drawing bug that slipped into 0.9.7 that can crash ComicRack.
I also finally had time to examine the startup scanning/update bug.

Both fixes will be in 0.9.8 due out in a few days.

ComicRack v0.9.7 released

0.9.7 is here :)
A quick rundown of the changes:

  • NEW: Match All/Any for smart lists
  • NEW: Added password to sharing
  • NEW: ComicRack can now open comics even if they have the wrong extension (cbr/cbz comes to mind)
  • NEW: Drawing horizontal bookmarks in detail mode
  • NEW: Additional view modes and information for the pages browser
  • NEW: It is now possible to tag page images based on content (Cover, Letters, Story etc.)
  • CHANGE: Reduced the scrolling speed of the mouse wheel
  • BUG: Forgot to add matchers for the alternate properties
  • BUG: Fixed Program/Document icons for XP
  • BUG: Fixed some drawing glitches in the user interface

So now you can password protect your comic shares (keeping those "exotic" comics for yourself :))
Also this is the first release that has some support for per page information. For now this is limited to type tags. But I will extend this in the future...
The promised firewall setup stuff got stripped because of time constraints. It would have only worked with the windows "firewall" anyway.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

New release will be out on Tuesday

Some of the features will include password protection for sharing, an Apply All/Any for Smartlists and the ability to tag individual pages (like ads, cover, story etc).

Oh and if you like ComicRack, you can visit the forum and fill it with a little life :)
It would also be nice if some people would spread the word a little. As I really don't have the time and will to spend my time advertising, maybe some of you can.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Firewall and sharing

If you use Windows Firewall, you may need to add ComicRack to the exception list or the sharing will not work.
I will add this option to the setup in the next version.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.6 released

This version adds network sharing (see last post) in the local network.
Also it adds properties for Alternate Series or Storyline to the meta information. This can be used to define and mark crossover storylines.

Short list of the main changes of Build 0.9.6:
  • NEW: Sharing of Comic Library in the local network
  • NEW: Alternate Series, Alternate Number, Alternate Count meta data for comics
  • CHANGES: Grouping and sorting now tries to work with more tolerance (ignoring articles, typos, spaces etc)
  • CHANGES: Finer granularity in date groupings
  • CHANGES: Some labels in the GUI
  • BUG: Cursor also hidden in non fullscreen
  • BUG: Dismissing the page context menu does not open the GUI anymore (fix of bug reintroduced in 0.9.5)
  • BUG: All open windows from the file browser showed the same content
  • BUG: Duplicate Title in comic info drawing (Tile Mode, Comics Dialog)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Network sharing

0.9.6 comes along nicely.

It will include sharing of the Comics Library in the local network. This is something I really planned for a long time. And now, finally, all the parts came together.

If you know ITunes, you know the feature. You can open ITunes on a different computer on your LAN and browse the Library on your main computer. You have the same playlists, songs etc.

The same is now possible with ComicRack. So for example you can open ComicRack on a wifi connected Laptop/Notebook/Tablet and read the comics there without having to copy the files. Reading statistics like opened/open count/last page read or database information like rating/time added and so on are all available.

This whole sharing is zero config like apples bonjour technology. So you don't have to "connect" to a library on a different computer. It will simply be there. ComicRack searches the local LAN for shared Libraries and displays them.

The new release with this nice feature nobody will be using except me and my Tablet PC will be ready at the end of the week :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No updates this weekend

As I'm taking a few days off for a quick vacation in Ramsau, Styria , there will be no updates this weekend.

The next release will mainly focus on some bugs which crept into 9.5 and maybe some updates to the meta data that can be stored for comics.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Theme

Black is gone!
Hope you like it :)

Hidden Feature

When you press the middle button on your mouse and move the mouse up down you can dynamically change the zoom factor. This works in the main viewer, but also in the small preview.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

User Interface rewrite

I'm currently in a semi rewrite of the user interface.

One of the goals is to further clean up the interface, make everything more in place and also clean up some of the code.

The next release can be expected around the next weekend.

The screenshot shows the new toolbar, the new tab layout and the cleaner separation between left and right pane.

Friday, June 30, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.4 released

This is a small incremental update adding two new features:
Smooth scrolling and panning of oversized displayed pages with the mouse, and two quick commands to open the next/previous eComic from the current list.

As always here's the short overview:
  • NEW: Panning of pages with the mouse in zoom modes (hold & drag)
  • NEW: Publisher entry for smart lists
  • NEW: Size column and grouping for the lists
  • NEW: Added command to open next/previous item from current list
  • CHANGES: Page Up/Down changes to next/previous page regardless of zoom mode
  • CHANGES: Dismissing the page context menu does not open the GUI anymore
  • BUG: Part navigation roll over on last page fixed
  • BUG: Redraw bug of the main splitter
Also I think I should finally make some screenshots so that people see what they're missing out :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.3 released

So this is a rather big release, as I basically rewrote the whole image retrieval and caching logic. Wonder how much bugs have crept in :)
So here's the quick rundown on the changes and features:
  • NEW: New Memory Cache-Manager for thumbnails and images with precaching (improves speed and memory usage)
  • NEW: Error Page if page image could not be loaded
  • NEW: New Animation Switch in Preferences
    The moving little gearwheels can have a serious performance impact on broken graphics drivers. That's why this defaults to off.
  • NEW: Color Schemas for overlays
  • CHANGE: Update to unrar 3.60 dll - hope this fixes some ugly bugs
  • CHANGE: New format for the Disk-Cache (not compatible with pre 0.9.3)
    You should manually delete the old cache folder in 'C:\Document Settings\\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack'
  • CHANGE: Moved the overlays to new default locations
  • BUG: Unregister of File-Types did not work
  • BUG: Color adjustment was always calculated, even if not needed
  • BUG: Comics not updated correctly in browser
  • BUG: Comic Information was written to eComics even when no information was changed
  • BUG: Comic Information was not correctly imported into the database
  • BUG: Fixed Selection drawing bug

The rewrite happened because of two requirements. First I wanted to fix the 'black page' bug and really optimize the whole caching for the upcoming network sharing. And second, I wanted to be able to do in memory precaching to speed up page flipping somewhat.
As a side note: the caching preferences dialog does currently not really reflect all the new options available. Sometimes I'm just lazy :)

You may also note a redesign and relayout of the preferences dialog. I wanted to get rid of the "programmer" settings.
There's a problem with programmers and their software. They put all kind of settings into their programs and also crazy switches into the dialogs to tweak them. But how many people really need five color settings for overlay panels. Yep, right :)
So I tried to clean the preferences up. Make them more accessible, only put in important settings and also change the access order to better reflect their importance.

Finally a word about the "gearwheel bug":
ComicRack has this nice little moving gearwheel it displays when something is happening in the background (mostly caching and loading of images). All this loading, retrieving, caching, color adjustments etc. is done in the background, so the reader does not have to wait for completion.
Now it can happen that the gearwheel is drawn above the current page and not beside it (if there's not enough space).
This of course leads to a constant redrawing of the page part that is covered with the tiny little square of the gear box. So no problem there, EXCEPT you have a totally screwed up graphics driver that needs the same amount of time to draw the small little square as to draw the whole full screen page image.
And this, because the CPU is constantly drawing at 100% load, starves the background process that loads the page.
Point is: If loading of pages takes verrrrrry long, turn off the animation. Actually now it's turned off by default.

hf with the new release :)

Friday, June 16, 2006


If you edit the Genre for a comic, you get a dropdown list of all genres found in the other comics in the database.

It would be nice to have a default list, like the Pop, Rock, Classical etc default genre list entries in mp3 tag editors.

What would be a good initial list of comic genres?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

File Format support

ComicRack supports cbr(rar)/cbz(zip) and pdf files. But there are some pitfalls.

ComicRack expects that the extension really matches the content. So if you have a cbr/rar file but it has a cbz extension, you will not be able to view it and no thumbnail will be shown.

Pdf support is very hacked together. ComicRack only searches all images embedded in the file and displays them as pages. This can lead to funny results with some pdf files :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.2 released

Again bugfixes and some new features:
  • BUG: Preliminary Fix for the "Black pages" bug
  • BUG: Page Part Overlay not always shown when it should have (resize, zoom mode change)
  • BUG: Switched back to 1.3 sharpPdf library as the 2.x beta broke the pdf export
  • BUG: Wrong names for new lists/folders in the database view
  • BUG: Incomplete serialization of the xml information
  • BUG: Resize of the Database-Panel if main window is to small
  • NEW: Added "Move To Last Page Read" Command
  • NEW: Added true positional drag & drop in lists
  • NEW: Added Page Up/Down for browsing
  • NEW: Support for reading ComicInfo.xml in archives
  • NEW: Two menu entries for ComicRack Blog and User Forum
  • CHANGE: Default information file in eComics is now ComicInfo.xml (without any path)
Next release will have a reworked image caching that will a) fix the stupid black page bug and b) increase the browsing speed a little.

BTW the reason for this black page bug is that ComicRack loads pages in a background thread, because sometime in the future I want to share comics over the network (like iTunes can do with mp3).
But currently it can happen that i lose sync with this operation, and therefore the black page.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

PDF export broken

Well, always test, never assume.
That should be the mantra of software development.

Sometime in the past I switched from version 1.3.1 of sharpPdf to 2ß. This actually broke the pdf export without getting noticed.
So now I'm back to 1.3, next release in a few days contains the fix.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

ComicRack v0.9.1

New version is up.
This is only a small incremental update with lots of bugixes and some new features. Here's the list of the main changes:
  • CHANGE: Moved Database & Settings from "Application Data\cYo\ComicRack\Version" to "Application Data\cYo\ComicRack"
  • CHANGE: Sort order in Dialog Formats
  • CHANGE: Nice About Dialog fade
  • BUG: Wrong Count in ComicBrowser (Genre, Author, Series)
  • BUG: Range Editor in Smart Lists did not work
  • BUG: Could not delete Folders in Database-Treeview
  • BUG: Correct disable of group/arrange buttons in Pages View
  • NEW: "All Supported Files" and "All Files" Filter to the Open Dialog
  • NEW: Display of proposed settings in background of textboxes in the Comic Dialog
  • NEW: Copy & Paste of view setup in database view
  • NEW: White Point Correction
  • NEW: Register Shell-Extensions in Preferences
  • NEW: Save as Zip Compressed Comic (CBZ)
  • NEW: View Options Dialog to provide an alternative way to turn on/off columns
  • NEW: Icon for Comics
One point though for all the early adopters out there (right, meaning you three :)), in order to use your old database you have to copy all files and folders from

"C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack\"
"C:\Documents and Settings\Your User Name\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack"

If you do not do this, ComicRack will create a new database. Your old data will not be lost, this version of ComicRack simply will not find it.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A word about the Database and Meta Information

ComicRack stores all its info into the folder

C:\Documents and Settings\'Your User Name'\Application Data\cYo\ComicRack

Now this is the default location on XP/2K machines to store application specific, network roaming data. By default the Application Data Path is hidden, so you may have to change the settings in your explorer or type the location into the explorer address bar to get there.
In there is ComicDb.xml, the comic database. It's a quite simple formatted xml file. I will post the schema format someday.

But ComicRack also stores Meta Information directly into the comic files (cbr/cbz/pdf etc). So even if you should delete your database or remove files from it, when you re-add them, the info is there again.

BTW, it is already possible to store the Meta information into a separate xml file with the

File->Save Book as...

Command. Just select the proper format in the Save Dialog, right there after the formats to save your comic as a PDF-file or a list of images.

So the main point is: Data entered for your comics is not stored in some special format you do not know and is lost if you wanna change your software. There is no vendor lock in :)

So going to sleep now and catching up with she-hulk (the comic i mean :>)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New Build at the weekend

I will release a new build on saturday or sunday. The build will fix some obvious bugs and add some small new features.

There are still chunks of functionality missing that are already planned. The next bigger things I will put into ComicRack are:
  • Whitepoint correction
  • a Rename Wizzard
  • completed Extension Manager in Preferences
  • a RSS feed reader (at least for this site :))
  • Annotating comics with pen on Tablet PCs
The big thing that I kinda roll in front of me is comic sharing in a local network like ITunes is able to do with songs. As an example, I am reading most of my stuff on one of the Tablet PCs I own. So i have to manually copy files to them to read them. This means also that reading states (last opened etc) are not the same on the different machines. Sharing the comics over the network would solve this problem. An alternative approache would be a check out/in process. But I like the "Share your Library" option better :)

And as there's a forum now, you can bring in your own ideas.

It would also be cool if people who like ComicRack would spread the word a little bit. Bring some life to this dark page. Tell your friends, post in forums, mention it etc.

For now I guess I can greet each visitor personally. hehe

Sunday, May 28, 2006

New ComicRack Forum

I've added a user forum for ComicRack.
You know I'm a little old school. I still remember when there was no free file hosting, free blogs and free forums.
Wonder if all this one-click stuff actually works :)


Just noted that the ReadMe.txt in the install is still the one from the test zip. Simply ignore the unpacking and .NET downloading stuff. The new installer takes care of this now.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

ComicRack V 0.9

So this is the first "real" public release. It has still some unfinished GUI elements like the missing editor for handling file extensions in the Preferences Dialog.
It's been the first time I used the NSIS install system. Previously I had only experience with the full blown InstallShield (which I do not have at home) and the built in setup generator in Visual Studio 2005 does not work because of this. As usual anything short of reinstalling the whole OS does not solve the funny stuff in windows.
So I fell back to NSIS and HM NIS Edit as the setup project editor. For such small projects with just a few files to distribute I can only recommend this combination.
And as this is my first blog, I wonder if there's any spelling correction running somewhere :)


In this blog I plan to keep track of the development of ComicRack, a reader for electronic Comics.
Have fun :)