Introducing Webcomix

I wanted to take a brief moment to invite anyone who stumbles across this post to beta-test my latest personal project; Webcomix. Webcomix is a simple web-comic aggregation service that allows you to read a number of different comics on a single page. Here is a screenshot of it in action:

Webcomix screenshot

Each comic in Webcomix is periodically checked for updates, so if like me you keep tabs on several different web-comics that all update at different intervals then Webcomix will save you from having to remember to refresh half a dozen different websites at various times just to keep up to date. Simply visit your Webcomix dashboard and you’re set!

Underneath the covers there’s a fair bit that I’m proud of with this app. First off the entire system is designed to be as lightweight and efficient (in terms of server compute-time and bandwidth) as reasonably possible. Virtually all of the actual work is handled by the client-side JavaScript. The handful of tasks that must be performed server-side are optimized with the help of a custom caching layer which ensures that any given computation (or fetch of an external resource) only needs to be performed once. There is also an additional caching layer in the client used to prevent it from making any given request to the server more than once per session.

The server itself is client-agnostic and provides a simple JSON-based API, meaning that while the initial incarnation of Webcomix is in the form of a web-app it should be just as easy to package the same functionality in a mobile, desktop, or other flavor of application. But that’s a project for another day.

Anyhow, please note that Webcomix should be considered to be beta software at the moment. So if you find any bugs or have any suggestions for new features or improved functionality then please don’t hesitate to say so in the comments section.

Also, the list of comics currently available in Webcomix is not set in stone and is only based upon my personal preferences at the moment. Webcomix is designed in a way that makes adding additional comics a trivial task, so if your favorite comic is currently not in the list then I encourage you to post a request in the comments section so that I can add it.

Lastly, if anyone has any good ideas for how to extend the comic selection UI to handle a large number of comics that they’d like to share, then please do. The current interface with its basic rows of checkboxes is obviously not sufficient for handling hundreds (or even dozens) of comics. It needs to be replaced with something better (or at least, collapsible) soon.

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