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Old 06-12-2010, 03:00 PM   #1
GBowen
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ComicBookLover for iPad

This has turned up on the app store. As it is free I pulled it down. It supports transfer through iTunes but I am on Ubuntu at present so transferred the 1st 2 Hellboy comics over via FTP (don't ask where they came from).

The 50 Mb or so transferred in around 3 mins. ComicBookLover does a fairly good job of focussing in on the frames when double tapped. It allows rotation of pages but I could not (yet) get it to zoom in on pages without any frames. Theses include the authors puff and rational at the beginning of the comic.

I have been using Cloudreader, from a few minutes reading ComicBookLover seems a better app with more features and cleaner page turns. Comics can be tagged like music files but I guess that I will need to fire up iTunes for that.

Hellboy is a small format comic with colour and little text so is a good format for the iPad. I have yet to try out this reader with A4 format comics such as 2000AD. Works such as Halo Jones or Nemesis the Warlock have a good deal more words per frame than Hellboy so may not work so well on the iPad. I have been getting by with reading these on Cloudreader
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Old 06-12-2010, 04:26 PM   #2
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I am sticking with Comic Zeal.....fits my needs really well, reads all the formats....etc........
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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For a simple comic viewer, it works good. I found the sensitivity for zooming in and out to be poor though. I also didn't like it's organization. I just tried a test copying 5 comics from a series to this and ComicZeal. CZ put them into a container while CBL has them as separate comics and no way I could see to organize things (maybe I need to use its sister mac app). To be fair, both have rather weak organization abilities.

So for free, the price is right. Perfect for a casual comic reader but if you're more serious about your comic reading, I have to recommend ComicZeal.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:33 PM   #4
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I can't use comic zeal, I find it's zoom not as good as cloudreader.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:55 PM   #5
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I'm using CloudReader and loving it after figuring out the tagging system.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by victorgoh View Post
I'm using CloudReader and loving it after figuring out the tagging system.
I use CloudReaders, because the first ComicZeal for iPad was seriously borked.

That said, both readers suffer badly from "must think like the programmer" syndrome: in order to use the program, forget thinking like a normal person. Instead, you have to think exactly like the programmer.

I *hate* that. This isn't the worst example I've ever seen—DevonThink wins that award, and by a wide margin—but it's still aggravating.

Especially on a platform like the iPad, that's built around direct manipulation of data, a categorizing system like ComicZeal's is unforgivable. "Must think like the programmer" is the antithesis of iPad design philosophy.

Here's an example:

In ComicZeal, in order to rename a collection of comics you:

1. tap on the popover button
2. tap "Edit"
3. tap the collection you want to rename
4. tap "Move"

That's right, to rename something, you "Move" it.

Anyone think "move to rename" is intuitive, straightforward, or natural—the iPad way? No, me neither.

"But after I used it for a while I got used to it, and now it's easy…"

So what? The whole point of the iPad as a device is that people should be able to use it, more or less immediately, without having to learn a bizarre, anti-intuitive, idiosyncratic system imposed by programmer's fiat.

ComicZeal is not a well-designed iPad program. Pity, because the iPhone program was great.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy Warpig View Post
That said, both readers suffer badly from "must think like the programmer" syndrome: in order to use the program, forget thinking like a normal person. Instead, you have to think exactly like the programmer.

I *hate* that. This isn't the worst example I've ever seen—DevonThink wins that award, and by a wide margin—but it's still aggravating.
ahahaha-I haven't tried DevonThink, but! I do give Devon Tech high marks for their free stuff http://www.devon-technologies.com/download/index.html
WordService 2.27 singlehandedly makes the Services menu in Snow Leopard worthwhile for me!

Back on topic...what happened to that snazzy looking comic reader I saw before the iPad actually came out...Panelfly? Did that ever come out?
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:22 AM   #8
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I've been using comicbooklover on the Mac and now on the iPad. For a first version, it's pretty nice. I've been unable to get the FTP mode to work from my Mac to transfer comics though.
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:57 AM   #9
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ahahaha-I haven't tried DevonThink, but! I do give Devon Tech high marks for their free stuff
I'm with you there. I use EasyFind constantly, it works great. DevonThink, not so much with the ease of use.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy Warpig View Post
Especially on a platform like the iPad, that's built around direct manipulation of data, a categorizing system like ComicZeal's is unforgivable. "Must think like the programmer" is the antithesis of iPad design philosophy.
actually, iPad is built for consumption of media. Not for manipulation of data.
At least comiczeal automatically categorize new comics.
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:45 AM   #11
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actually, iPad is built for consumption of media. Not for manipulation of data.
On the iPad, media is data. And you do need to manipulate it: Arranging apps. Moving books in iBooks. And so forth.

In iOS 4, you can organize apps into folders. ComicZeal is doing much same thing: organizing comics into series. Let's directly compare the two.

Folders on iOS 4:

Step 1: tap the app icon.
Step 2: drag onto another app icon.
Step 3: There is no Step 3.

Direct manipulation: tap with finger, move with finger.

ComicZeal:

Step 1: tap on the comic menu.
Step 2: tap edit.
Step 3: tap comic.
Step 4: tap move.
Step 5: choose destination from another popup.
Step 6: tap save.

Indirect manipulation: a complicated series of menus and popovers. More, the user has to discover this convoluted procedure through trial and error, it's not obvious. (And, unlike GoodReader, there is no automatic help.)

Direct is simple and transparent. Effortless. A user "just does." That's the iPad way.

Indirect is opaque and convoluted. Indirect breaks iOS interface conventions. It's appalling interface design.

The reason for interface conventions is so people "know" how a new app works, because it taps into the same procedures the rest of the OS uses. This saves the user a lot of work.

Example: The keys to cut, copy and paste on Windows and Mac are constant between applications, and even between the two OS's. Command-X, -C, -V. What purpose would it serve to have one single program change those keys to Command-R, -T, and -)? None.

Unless there is a compelling reason not to, apps should "fit" the nature of the iOS. ComicZeal doesn't.

Last edited by Daddy Warpig; 06-18-2010 at 03:53 AM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy Warpig View Post
On the iPad, media is data. And you do need to manipulate it: Arranging apps. Moving books in iBooks. And so forth.

In iOS 4, you can organize apps into folders. ComicZeal is doing much same thing: organizing comics into series. Let's directly compare the two.

Folders on iOS 4:

Step 1: tap the app icon.
Step 2: drag onto another app icon.
Step 3: There is no Step 3.

Direct manipulation: tap with finger, move with finger.

ComicZeal:

Step 1: tap on the comic menu.
Step 2: tap edit.
Step 3: tap comic.
Step 4: tap move.
Step 5: choose destination from another popup.
Step 6: tap save.

Or...
PC/MAC/NAS
1) Rename files to appropiate name as you should have done for archiving anyway
2) drop collections into itunes

ComicZeal
3) Open the just imported and sorted collection of comics and read.


I use the app for what they're intended for. For CZ, the reading experience is the most important. Not the management of files. (despite that, it's the only comicapp which automatically sort your files into the correct series based on the name)
CZ enhances comicreading experience with zoom to fit (I never managed to get the zoom of cloudreaders to behave like I want it to. Fit to height),
page by page turns (Cloudreaders "pagescrolling" irks me),
the "magic background" which fills up the background according to the color of the comics border (IE. black border, black background, white border, white background),
zoomLOCK (so you can manually crop out whitespace for a single comic)
auto-resize when image is too large (>3000px crashes apps),
resizing with image enhancements,
global file association IE. open all comic files from other apps into comic zeal,
autosort in categories.

I've been reading the dev's twitter and supportblog, it shows that he concentrates on the reading experience first. Now that that's settled, he's going to put more time on other aspects.

For my secondary comic reading app, I use ARCreaders. I use this for single issues/chapters which I haven't sorted myself into it's appropiate archive on my NAS. I will then just sync all of these files into arcreaders to read, instead of them messing up CZs library.


(btw... goodreader's "manage files"-options is even worse by your standard then.
1)tap manage files
2) tap create new folder
3) tap done
4) select files
5) tap cut
[s]6) tap done[/s] this step is taken out with latest release
7) tap to open newly created folder
8) tap cut/move

Last edited by athlonkmf; 06-18-2010 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by athlonkmf View Post
PC/MAC/NAS
1) Rename files to appropiate name as you should have done for archiving anyway
2) drop collections into itunes

ComicZeal
3) Open the just imported and sorted collection of comics and read.
So with ComicZeal, either the user has to rename files the programmer's way (otherwise they won't import and sort correctly) or the user has to memorize and use the programmer's idiosyncratic, convoluted method for sorting files on the iPad. In both cases, the user has to mold themselves to the tool.

Forcing the user to conform to the programmer is the very antithesis of the iPad design philosophy. As Jon Ive said in the introductory iPad video: "I don't have to change myself to fit the product, it fits me."

That's the iPad way. And ComicZeal doesn't conform.

(I'm sure other programs are as bad and probably worse. For example, a couple of games I've downloaded have lots of trouble with the "no right or wrong way to hold it" idea. But just because other programs do it worse, doesn't mean ComicZeal does it well.)
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Daddy Warpig View Post
So with ComicZeal, either the user has to rename files the programmer's way (otherwise they won't import and sort correctly) or the user has to memorize and use the programmer's idiosyncratic, convoluted method for sorting files on the iPad. In both cases, the user has to mold themselves to the tool.
No, the user is in supposed to use the app for what it's meant to.

You're pounding on the renaming "issue" you have with comiczeal, yet your beloved Cloudreaders don't even ALLOW you to rename or sort your books in the app.

Quote:
Forcing the user to conform to the programmer is the very antithesis of the iPad design philosophy. As Jon Ive said in the introductory iPad video: "I don't have to change myself to fit the product, it fits me."

That's the iPad way. And ComicZeal doesn't conform.

(I'm sure other programs are as bad and probably worse. For example, a couple of games I've downloaded have lots of trouble with the "no right or wrong way to hold it" idea. But just because other programs do it worse, doesn't mean ComicZeal does it well.)
Sounds kinda uptight to me. The "iPad way" or "Apple Way" is still very much a guideline, and not a law to live by.
Does the fact that a game which does not support the "no right or wrong way to hold it"-philosophy mean that the game itself can't be a good game?

I don't think I will enjoy Plants vs Zombies HD more when I can play it in portrait mode... And the fact that you can't play it in portrait mode didn't really affect the sales either.

The whole point of "no wrong or right way" is just meant that when you use the iPad, the iPad will disappear. All that's left will be the thing which engaged you in the first place: the content.
And the prime directive of all apps should be just that: present the content as good as possible. For a book, it's the text. For a comic, it's the comic. For a game, it's the game.
The major attraction will never be the bookshelf, the comicstack, or the high-score card.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Daddy Warpig View Post
In iOS 4, you can organize apps into folders. ComicZeal is doing much same thing: organizing comics into series. Let's directly compare the two.

Folders on iOS 4:

Step 1: tap the app icon.
Step 2: drag onto another app icon.
Step 3: There is no Step 3.

Direct manipulation: tap with finger, move with finger.

ComicZeal:

Step 1: tap on the comic menu.
Step 2: tap edit.
Step 3: tap comic.
Step 4: tap move.
Step 5: choose destination from another popup.
Step 6: tap save.
The requirements that Comic Zeal is trying to meet are very different to that of the folders in iOS4. In the case of folders there are only a few items per page and there is no need to scroll the page.

A better comparison would be iBooks, where re-arranging CAN be done by dragging but it doesn't have sub-folders and doesn't handle having hundreds of books very well.

Please consider the case where you have six screen-fulls of comics arranged alphabetically. You want to move your ten issues of 'Zebra tales' into a folder named 'Africa'.

Using drag and drop you would need to drag each comic up from the bottom of the list to drop it into the folder at the top of the list. It's just too slow, you'd give up after the third one.

The way Comic Zeal does it is the fastest way when supporting comic-oriented use cases. You select all the comics you want to move first, and then choose where they're going to.

The way you propose, that of mimicking the folders in iOS4, would make it very difficult to organise comics.
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