+4

Introducing Variant - A Reader App for Windows 10

Gauntlet 3 years ago • updated by theotocopulitos 3 months ago 12

I've been working on Variant for the last couple of months since I decided to learn C#. I've finally got it to a place I'm happy releasing it and get some feedback. If you experience any crashes or other weirdness especially if you can reproduce it please report back here for now while I set up a better system. Once I iron out what ever bugs we can find and polish it up some more (better icons and animations) I'll submit it to the store (it will be free).


Current Features:

  • Allows you to stream comics from your server.
  • Saves current and furthest read positions for each comic.
  • Layout options (single, double, and double with the cover on its own).
  • Fitting options (fit all, fit width, fit height).
  • Manga Mode.
  • Automatically skip subdirectories which contain single directories (reduces clicking!).

Planned Features:

  • The ability to download issues/series to your pc from your server.
  • The ability to watch a series, it will automatically download new issues for all "watched series" and delete issues which have been read.
  • Recents page for recently added issues.
  • Database backup and syncing between devices.
  • Toggle directory skip (increases clicking!)
  • Ability to select where the databases, cover cache and issue page caches are stored.

How to Install:

WARNING: Before installing the app you will need to install a certificate to your "Trusted Root Certificate Authorities". If you have no idea what this means don't do it.


  1. Download latest bundle and the certificate from here.
  2. If you have already installed the certificate skip to step 9.
  3. Double click the certificate file.
  4. Click "Install Certificate...".
  5. Select "Local Machine".
  6. Select "Place all certificates in the following store" and click "Browse...".
  7. Select "Trusted Root Certification Authorities".
  8. Click "OK", "Next" and finally "Finish".
  9. Double click the "appxbundle" and click "Install".

Usage:

  • You will first need to add a user, this is a local user account. Each local user can have multiple Ubooquity accounts/servers associated with them.
  • After that add a server, if all has gone well you will based with the directories in the root of the added server.
  • You can click through to directories containing comics.
  • If you want a prettier / faster experience you can right click on the server name in the menu pane and select "Scan Covers". This will obtain the directory structure of the server and start downloading issue covers in the background.
  • You might need to hit the refresh button in the command bar to see thumbnail being used on folders.
  • I suggest you set thumbnails in the Ubooquity admin section to 400 x 560 (Width x Height).


Merry Christmas!

Gauntlet


Known Bugs/Issues:

  1. There is a known bug that causes extremely infrequent crashes I'm pretty sure I know what it is and will have a possible fix out on Tuesday/Wednesday. It doesn't seem to cause any data loss for the app so.
  2. The "busy scanning circle" in the top left stops after scanning the directory structure. I know exactly why it does this and is an implementational issue I have to sort out expect it sorted in the next release (Tuesday/Wednesday).
  3. When loading comic pages there is no indication of what is happening. I had loading circles for individual pages before but the spinning annoyed me and I removed them. I plan on rewriting that part so pages that aren't loaded can't be "turned" to.
  4. You will not be able to change the layout of a comic until it is fully loaded. This currently a feature but when I deal with point 3 above you should be "fixed".
  5. "No settings page!" This is coming, all the selectable setting autosave when you change them.
  6. Image scaling issues. Text in a comic book can look pretty bad when scaled to fit the screen on 1080p or lower resolutions. I'm experimenting with fixes currently. Won't be out Tuesday/Wednesday need to check how they will affect the memory usage.
+1

I'm having a lot of issues with the number 230 - where do you take the issue numbers from?

I parse the file name and try and extract the name, issue number and year from that. I suspect it's because I forgot to properly escape out the url special characters, # is encoded as %23 so if your filename is "comic name #003.cbz" ubooquity gives it out as "comic name %23003.cbz" and my parser is picking up on the "230" as an issue number.


I've got a fix that should prevent any special characters causing problems now. I'm going to get an update out for Monday and this bug should be included in that if it passes testing over the weekend.


How are you finding it otherwise?

first impression was good, but I installed it directly before i reinstalled my surface because of some issues that have nothing to do with your software. so i just tested it quickly because i knew it couldn't do any harm.

will test it again after everything is up and running on my surface.


br

I'm still getting the 230 numbers from the version that is up in the app store, is the "fix" already in the app store version?

+1

The version that's there is a slightly version I uploaded last week to test the process (1.1.9.0). The one that's going up now is v1.1.11.0 and has the fix, it also massively speeds up the database interactions, so that's nice. According to the submission page it can take between a few hours to a few days to pass certification. Also it turns out Windows Store App doesn't show version numbers unless you go to the web page directly (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/p/variant/9plgzn3nlvpk).

Will this support touch screens? I have a non-surface Win 10 tablet which is much quicker than my Android tablet and would love a native comic reader app that integrates with Ubooquity.


Ability to set cache locations is also a great idea for tablets with limited storage, so I'm hoping you'll say yes...

The app is already touch friendly! In fact I'd say it's my preferred way to use it. The ability to set the cache location is coming soon(ish). The app is currently up on the Windows store now, it'll take a couple of days, the version number to look out for is 1.1.10.0.

its already available. haven't had time to install it on my surface until now but im testing again :)

do you have your own space in userecho or github or something like this?

I've been a little busy this last week so I kind of put it off a little. I'll sort it out in the next couple of days.

Any chance of a 32bit version? Seems my tablet makers (I have a Linx10) in their wisdom decided to only ship with a BIOS that supports 32bit Windows only, despite a 64bit CPU :(


I'm not having much luck getting comics to show on my desktop either. Could this be the size of my library( Its about 60,000 comics)? I've tried using both quick and cover scan. With the latter, I see the red rotating dots in the top left for about 5 seconds and then it stops.


One immediate suggestion - give the option to edit the server? At the moment it seems you can only Forget and Delete and existing one? Also, if you've "forgotten" a server, is there anyway to "remember" it at a later date? Presumably theres no need to if I re-add the forgotten server, or would this create a duplicate database entry?


Thanks for your effort so far though.

Sure I don't see any problem in getting out a 32bit version. As for the other requests I've started added Varaint to bitbucket for issue tracking: https://bitbucket.org/Gauntlet-Dev/variant/ so I'll answer those there, I think I've impinged on Tom's hospitality long enough.

Is this still maintained? I am not able to load any comics in it?