If all I talk about today is what's new in 4.0.22 this is going to be a really short post. Actually, let's get it out of the way now; Comic Zeal 4 will soon be a universal app and run on your iPhone.
Ok! done. Read on for details ...
Now I'm going to tell you a story, not because it's bedtime (although here it is), but because it's the best way to let you know what's been happening.
When the iPad was first announced it was fairly obvious that moving getting Comic Zeal to work on it was going to be a lot of work. Importing of comics would be different, the interface had to be changed to suit the larger form factor, typical usage would change (not a lot of scrolling), new graphics would be required etc etc.
I started work right away and sure enough, it turned into a monster fairly quickly. It took up all my time, so much so that poor old Comic Zeal 3 was neglected, the only update it saw was the removal of USB syncing. Needless to say this didn't make any of the users happy.
As the work on CZ 4 continued it became obvious that there was no way I was going to be able to release a universal binary. At the time the process for making them was very immature. Although I can't go into details I can tell you that as the deadline for app submission approached, all of us on the developer forums with iPad-only apps felt terrible for what the universal binary people had to go through.
About a month before the iPad was to be released we made the decision to sell Comic Zeal 4 as a separate app. We deliberately didn't name it 'Comic Zeal for iPad' because the plan was to stop CZ 3 development after a few months. We'd make CZ 4 iPhone compatible, let the current users of CZ 3 know they had to buy CZ 4 for future updates and eventually remove it from the app store.
When the iPad was released there were some problems with Comic Zeal 4, importing was slow and iTunes file sharing wasn't enabled (it couldn't be tested prior to the iPad release).
CZ 3 was still working fine but CZ 4 needed serious work. It got all the development time and its code diverged further and further from that of its older sibling. Even once the initial problems with CZ 4 were fixed more and more requirements emerged, everyone was excited to use Comic Zeal on the iPad and had great ideas; native file imports,resizing on the fly, a magic background setting, moving the settings into the application, brightness controls, tap-to-turn pages (obvious now I know, but never really needed on the iPhone), the perfect manga mode people asked for since CZ 1, page fits, easier next-comic selection, basically everything you've seen on the change logs in this blog.
Finally, with all that done, it was time to start working on the update to CZ 3 that was sorely needed.
It was too late.
The code was just too different.
If you're a developer you know that we have tools to make this process easier, things that merge files and version control systems that detail every change you make. It's all fun until the file merge thing gives up and the version control system tells you you've changed something in everything.
Then Steve comes out on stage and tells the world they've made a mini-iPad with a phone in it and would you kindly make sure all your stuff works on it coz it's real important, thanks.
Let me tell you though, as a developer, working on these devices is just a dream come true. This is science fiction people, right here and now. Pixels so little you can't see them!
So the sleeves went up, I got out the old shoehorn, some oil and made CZ 4 fit in an iPhone.
All of it, no compromises, nothing's missing. Everything's in there (except for page-fit which doesn't make sense).
There's even a couple of extra features like page resizing and loading in the background for faster page turns (needed for older hardware) and detecting when new files have been added with iTunes file sharing (so you don't have to re-start the app).
It's really something special.
And if you've bought ANY version of Comic Zeal you're getting it for free.
Comic Zeal 3 customers will get it first, in the form of an iPhone/iPod-only application that will run on firmware 3.1.3 and later. iTunes file sync and page locking is only available on iOS4 though. It will be distributed as an update to Comic Zeal 3 through the app store. Comic Zeal 3 will be renamed to 'Comic Zeal for iPhone'
Comic Zeal 4 customers will get it next in the form of a universal application that will run on both the iPhone and iPad. We'll probably drop the '4' from the end of the name too.
There is something that's very important to note, the versions have exactly the same functionality now, but that's not going to be the case forever. There will certainly be differences in functionality between the iPhone and iPad versions soon, and there are likely to be differences between the cheaper iPhone only and universal versions in the next three months or so.
The iPhone/iPod-only version has been submitted to Apple for approval. I wanted to get it to them early as I'm fighting a delivery timeline for a project Ms bitolithic started almost nine months ago.
The universal version will be submitted in about a week.
In future I'll try and submit both versions together.
Thanks for reading this far, I'll try to answer any questions in the comments. Also don't forget we have a new support site at http://comiczeal.tenderapp.com, it's fantastic. A search field that works!
As always my thanks go to Adam and Thom who do all the things I can't.