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Old 09-05-2022, 02:00 PM   #1
DragoonGT
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Introducing Banana Manga Reader! A browser based manga reading app

I started this project because I wanted to "hack" my kobo to something more and also because UMR didn't work well on my Libra 2. So, I decided to make my own manga reading app. The name Banana Manga Reader is an homage to mango manga reader, which I used on my rooted (nooted) nook simple touch several years ago. Also, I like bananas.

Banana Manga Reader (BMR), is an application designed to read manga on Kobo eReaders, which do not have an inbuilt manga reader for reading manga from online sources. It was designed to be easy to install and use. Banana Manga Reader (BMR) provides most of the features you would want from a manga reader. You can read online, save a title to a favorites list and download chapters to your library for offline reading. The app was made more for reading manga you already know about rather than for discovering new manga, which is why the search capabilities are limited. (cough, cough this is totally by design, yeah.. not because I have limited knowledge about web scraping in python)

The app was built entirely with python for the back end, since this is the only language that I had any experience with. This meant that the ways I could interact with the device were limited. So, I relied on HTML for the front end, to provide buttons and images for navigating and viewing. That means that if you are interested, you can experiment with the html files and the python code to customize your BMR app! Even better would be using a similar framework to make more interesting applications for the Kobo eReaders. I will be very interested in seeing what the Kobo and mobileread community can do with it.

Features
  1. Allows you to read manga from online sources. (currently just mangakakalot)
  2. Allows you to add titles to a favorites list for easy access.
  3. Allows you to save chapters for offline reading. (Although you will need to be connected to a network for opening the browser, you do not have to be connected to the internet. For example, connecting to a mobile hotspot without internet tethering works well)
  4. Manga reading should be a smooth experience. No obstructive elements will be on the screen while reading a manga chapter. Tapping on the left or right side will flip the pages (left turn to go to the next page). Tapping in the center opens up the menu.
  5. You can add your own manga to the library. On the microSD card, navigate to KOBOeReader/.BMR/static/library Here, you can create a folder with the manga title as it's name. Inside this folder, add folders with chapter titles, which will have the pages stored in png/jpg image formats. Extracting CBR or CBZ files should give you this structure. [library>manga title> chapter title> images]
  6. All of the files and programs remain on the mnt/onboard partition of the device. No files are placed on the root (/) partition or the /usr partition. This way updating, deleting files and making any changes (backing up files, editing htmls or the python script for personalization or improvement) is safer and easier.


Installation
Make sure you have 300 MB or more space on your Kobo microSD card.
  1. Install NickelMenu. If you don't have it installed already, click the link and follow the instructions there. NickelMenu will help us create a menu item to launch BMR
  2. To prevent images from showing up as books, perform the following operation by connecting your Kobo to your computer:
    1. Navigate to KOBOeReader/.kobo/Kobo and open Kobo eReader.conf in the text editor of your choice
    2. Scroll down to find [FeatureSettings] , if it doesn't exist, create it! (type it in)
    3. Under [FeatureSettings], paste the following: ExcludeSyncFolders=\\.(?!kobo|adobe).*?
  3. From the pane on the right on the Github page, go to the Releases page or select the latest release. Download the file named "[Release date]_BMR_v[latest version].zip", for example "220905_BMR_v0.zip".
  4. Unzipping the file should give you a folder named ".BMR". Copy this folder to the root of your microSD card. (The root is the KOBOeReader folder. Simply drag ".BMR" to KOBOeReader)
  5. Create a menu entry using NickelMenu.
    1. From KOBOeReader/.BMR, open "nickelmenuconfig.txt" and copy it's contents.
    2. Navigate to KOBOeReader/.adds/nm/
    3. If a config file does not exist, create a new text file with any name, for example, "config.txt"
    4. Paste the contents from "nickelmenuconfig.txt" into the config file.
      Safely eject your eReader from your computer.
You are now ready to use Banana Manga Reader!

Launching and Using BMR
Once you have installed BMR, you can launch the app by performing the following steps:
  1. Open NickelMenu on your Kobo eReader and select "Start BMR server". Click "OK".
  2. Open NickelMenu on your Kobo eReader and select "Open BMR".
  3. Enjoy! More details and instructions for use can be found under "Navigation" from the hamburger menu in the top right corner of the application/browser window.
  4. Make sure you always exit the app by navigating to "Close app" from the hamburger menu. Press the "Shut down" button. (Not shutting down this way will keep the BMR server running in the background. You don't want there to be multiple instances using up CPU resources when you start BMR again next time. So, it's best to close the app this way)

Note:
You will need to be connected to a network to open the application, since it works using the kobo browser. (You do not need an internet connection. Connecting to a network without internet access seems to work)

Uninstall BMR
To uninstall BMR, connect your Kobo to your computer and navigate to KOBOeReader/.BMR and create a file (any type) called "uninstall". Next, run the startup script from your Kobo: go to nickel menu and select Start BMR server. This will remove BMR and all of the contents of KOBOeReader/.BMR. Any downloaded contents will be lost. Make a backup of the KOBOeReader/.BMR/static/library directory to keep your downloads. To remove the NickelMenu entries, you will have to open the config file from KOBOeReader/.adds/nm/ and remove the entries manually.

Obligatory Disclaimer:
I have developed and tested the application on a Kobo Libra 2, which is the only Kobo device I own. I cannot guarantee that it will work as intended on other Kobo devices. Use at your own risk. I am not responsible for any damages/ bricking of your devices.

Known Bugs and occurances:
  1. The first time you open the app using "Open BMR", it may fail, as it needs a couple of seconds for the server to start. Future trials will be faster
  2. There is a small image near the hamburger menu icon when the app opens up. This seems to be an artifact of the eink screen. It disappears after clicking/touching anywhere else.
  3. Once a chapter link is clicked, loading the first manga page may require about 30 seconds. This is because all of the images are downlaoded to the cache for fast scrolling.
  4. Sometimes, when opening a manga chapter, the screen will be blank except for a small box with a "?" in the middle of the screen. Hitting the refresh icon of the browser will solve this problem. This seems to happen because some times the program jumps to the next step without completing the current step (starts to show image without actually fetching it first)

Acknowlegements
Many thanks to all the developers of NickelMenu for creating a tool that allows us to experiment with our Kobos.

The idea of using the browser and the startup script were inspired by the WebPortal project by frostschutz

Leave a Tip!
If you enjoyed using Banana Manga Reader, leave a nice comment. Better yet, leave me a tip in my tip jar! (paypal: buxared14@gmail.com) As a novice in python, HTML and Linux, it took me many hours and many months to get here. BMR will always remain free, so consider donating. Thanks!

I hope you have fun using Banana Manga Reader! Go Bananas !!
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Old 10-06-2022, 10:30 PM   #2
asdf23
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This works great on my Libra 2! Thank you for making this.
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Old 10-07-2022, 09:12 AM   #3
asdf23
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I found that this has a better experience if you make the browser full screen. For those who don't know. In the guide above. Where you are adding options to KOBOeReader/.kobo/Kobo/Kobo eReader.conf. Under [FeatureSettings].
Add
FullScreenBrowser=true

In your nickel menu config, you can also add the following option.
menu_item :browser:Quit:nickel_misc:home

https://i.imgur.com/aMLLoBH.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/w5YFhjH.jpg
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Old 10-07-2022, 10:09 AM   #4
asdf23
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I thought it was worth mentioning. If you do go fullscreen, you can remove the header by changing the nickel menu link to not use modal.
menu_item :main :Open BMR :nickel_browser :http://banana:1234/

I haven't found a good way to close the browser besides putting the device to sleep. This is a better reading experience, at the cost of a little inconvenience getting out of it.

https://i.imgur.com/bCUPvRl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/9rr1nbl.jpg
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Old 10-26-2022, 10:17 PM   #5
DragoonGT
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I'm glad you are enjoying BMR
I tried going fullscreen, but ended up going with the modal browser because I thought that the familiar UI with the close button and zoom slider was useful too.

I wanted to make a custom browser for using BMR. This would make it easier to have all the navigation buttons and other features like fullscreen mode, and also allow opening the browser without a network connection. But, I have no Idea how to do that.
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Old 10-31-2022, 09:30 AM   #6
jaceygan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asdf23 View Post
I thought it was worth mentioning. If you do go fullscreen, you can remove the header by changing the nickel menu link to not use modal.
menu_item :main :Open BMR :nickel_browser :http://banana:1234/

I haven't found a good way to close the browser besides putting the device to sleep. This is a better reading experience, at the cost of a little inconvenience getting out of it.

https://i.imgur.com/bCUPvRl.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/9rr1nbl.jpg
You can add this line in config to add a Quit menu item when the browser is open.
menu_item: browser: Quit: nickel_misc: home
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Old 06-21-2023, 12:58 AM   #7
YONdaDON
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Hello everyone! I tried your method and I love the fullscreen, but it looks like I have the Pocket button that I can press to I guess save it to my articles. Does anyone know how to remove it so I can see the manga in fullscreen?

It is interesting because when i load it up there is no button but the second i press the button comes up, see the pictures below. Any help is appreciated

https://imgur.com/a/bbLlCAA
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Old 09-16-2023, 11:32 AM   #8
DragoonGT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YONdaDON View Post
Hello everyone! I tried your method and I love the fullscreen, but it looks like I have the Pocket button that I can press to I guess save it to my articles. Does anyone know how to remove it so I can see the manga in fullscreen?

It is interesting because when i load it up there is no button but the second i press the button comes up, see the pictures below. Any help is appreciated

https://imgur.com/a/bbLlCAA
Interesting.. I don't have a pocket account, so I never came across this problem. Have you been able to solve this? Did it go away with the recent firmware update? I would really appreciate if anyone else who experienced this problem and found a solution could post here. I could add you guys' suggestion to the installation instructions so that everyone will know what to do.
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Old 10-20-2023, 03:22 PM   #9
y4k
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This is awesome and works quite well. I Couldn't get Ultimate Manga Reader to work on my Libra 2 but this one was set up in minutes.

It could definitely use some quality of life work:
Being able to sort manga from old to new would be useful, as you have to scroll down the entire page now, as well as being able to pick up where you left off with a manga, and being able to download multiple chapters at the same time.

Also, I was wondering if there was a way to remove the white line at the bottom, it persists even after adding the fullscreen browser line in the config file.

Not sure if these things would be difficult to implement. It's already awesome that it works so thanks very much for that!
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