What the heck happened with Comic Zeal 9?

Hi all,

First of all let me say sorry for the low quality of the initial 9.0 release. There were a lot of huge changes and it was difficult to test. Nevertheless, the app should not have gone out with so many problems, if I had known about them I never would have released it.

I HAD tested manga extensively, but then I made some changes and OBVIOUSLY didn’t test enough again.

I guess most of you don’t know but bitolithic only has one employee. Don’t be deceived by what you have seen on twitter, sometimes the dog tries to help with the mouse but he’s unreliable on his best days, useless the rest of the time.

Close to release the list of things to do just grows and grows, I spend the last two months prior to a release lying to myself that I’m almost here, just a little bit further to go, another week, maybe two. I know it’s going to take longer but looking at the big picture is too daunting.

In the last week or two prior to release the work switches from coding to graphics work, writing the iTunes copy, making the screenshots and talking to the poor beta testers (they’re volunteers and I love em all). It’s a very hectic time and I feel I am doing four jobs and badly too.

I think I’ll do some more tests and it will be ready, open Manga, check, pages show up, check, right order, one page view, two page view, zoom in, zoom out, it all works, just like last time!

It’s time to get it out the door, let’s do it!

Does it remember where in a comic I am? sure! open comic, scroll to halfway through, go out of the comic, go back in, same spot. Quit the app, re-start it, shows the same spot, it works!

Let’s get this out to the users, they’re going to love the new reading view!

The first few pages of the manga, the ones all the way at the right, didn’t show up, I missed it.

The app DOES remember where in the comic you are, it saves it perfectly. But if you are reading a comic with more than 50 pages there is an optimization that, a second or two after you open the comic, causes the reading view to re-layout the pages. That re-layout made comics scroll all the way to the start again.

That is what happened, I am sorry, please know that these issues happen not because I don’t care about the app, or you, or because I’m lazy. They happen for the exact opposite reasons.

A lot of you have expressed concerns about Comic Zeal asking you to log into your iTunes account the first time you start it. I never thought it would be an issue for anyone because I know WHY it is doing it, turns out it’s a little sinister for some if you don’t know what’s going on.

If you bought Comic Zeal prior to the release of version 9 you continue to get access to all the older themes, if you buy it after you have to pay a little extra to get all the themes. Earlier versions of CZ never cared about when you bought it, this one does. It has to know if it should show you all the themes or not. To do that it asks the iPad to fetch a file that contains the version number of the first CZ you bought, most of the time the iPad then asks you to log in to your iTunes account to make sure CZ is not trying to do anything funny. The login prompt is there to protect you and it comes from iOS, not Comic Zeal.

This is what will be fixed in the next update:

  • Fixed issue with the first few pages were not shown in Manga.
  • Fixed issue where the reading position wasn’t saved.
  • Fixed issue where the app would crash if the user zoomed in to a page, then double-taped to zoom out, then went to the next page.
  • Fixed issue where the text was fuzzy in retina displays.
  • If the user has set the page to fit-to-width when they exit the reading view. Next time they open the reading view their setting will be remembered.

I hope you all like this update.

Kind regards,


Looking for general feedback on some screenshots

I've been working on an update to the Comic Zeal interface. I've not been happy with how rigid the look of CZ is and theming is something I've been meaning to do for a while.

For the last couple of days it seems like I've made almost no progress on the appeareance of the app and I think it's because I've just been looking at it for too long without any outside input.

So I wanted to show you all what I've been up to and get your feedback on what you see. There is still work to be done but it would help me to get some sense of what you all think about what I've got so far.

What are your first impressions about what you see above?

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