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TOPIC: Windows Sync

Windows Sync 2 years 5 months ago #42398

  • spidermitch
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Since I got my Windows 8.1 tablet, I've been struggling with a solution to sync reading lists and comics like I do my Android tablet & phone. Obviously the ideal solution would be to have a ComicRack Windows Reader app (not the full blown ComicRack for Windows) in which you could sync, just like ComicRack for Android. However, I wanted to share the different ways I've tried and which worked / didn't work so well.


Using ComicRack for Windows as a Reader:
You can simply open ComicRack for Windows and open a comic book from within your database. Touch controls work, but are very clunky. You can assign hotspots, but it's nowhere near as fluent and intuitive as the Android version. I often found myself having to position my touch to specifically the hotspot to progress the page. Furthermore, if it registers more than one touch (which happened often), you'll be consistently annoyed while reading.

Using Hybrid Sync and scripts:
Since I already have an Android system being synced with the comics I'm reading, I tried the following method: Using folder synchronization at a certain time, I would sync my comics folder on Android to my Windows 8.1 tablet. Then at a certain time, the Windows tablet would run a rename .cbp to .cbr script. This would allow me to access all files that were synced with my Android tablet. A couple of caveats to this method: 1) you'd have to run a .cbr to .cbp script BEFORE the Android to Windows sync kicked off (this ensures the files are constantly duplicated). 2) All the files will be dumped into the same directory; there will be no reading list sorts of any kind.

Using ComicRack as a Google Chrome app:
Google recently released the App Runtime for Chrome (ARCWelder) app within Chrome. This is a way for developers to see if their apps can run correctly as ported to Chrome from Android. I've ran ComicRack for Android through ARC and discovered that it runs rather flawlessly. The problem is: since the app runs on an application layer on top of Android instance within Chrome, there's really no way to get comics up there. ARC only allows for one android app packaged and opened at a time, so you can't access the underlying Android directory structure and copy and files to it. Furthermore, when ARC packaging the full ComicRack for Android, it attempts to do a license check with Google Play Services, and that's currently not supported through this developer tool. Still, this is the most seamless way to port over ComicRack for Android that I can see. It is available to launch from the Chrome App Launcher, runs in it's own window, and all the transitions and controls seem to run very well.

Using an Android Emulator:
This is currently the most viable alternative, however, some Android emulators run more smoothly than others, and it's really dependent on your hardware as well. I've tested about 4 or 5 emulators on both my Windows 8.1 tablet and various PCs, and some work better than others on some hardware, so there will be alot of testing. You'll need an emulator that allows network access & Google Play services, since ComicRack will verify license against the Google Play. You'll also need to ensure the Emulator has ample space for the files. (I've also been able to map my PC's comic folder within the emulator, which allows ComicRack for Android to write to this space. The advantage here is you don't have to worry how much thick-provisioning is given to the Android emu, but the synced files will still be .cbp files & not accessible through readers on the PC side unless their extension is changed.)
All this said, sometimes ComicRack for Android won't even run on the emulator, so it's best to try a .cbz or .cbr directly first. Launch ComicRack in Android & open a .cbr/z... if it opens, and you're able to proceed through two or three pages without much hiccuping, then you should be okay to sync. Syncing is also a little tricky, as some emulators don't recognize that a Wi-Fi connection is already being used, and it will refuse to allow ComicRack to sync. All-in-all, using an Android Emulator to read comics on isn't ideal, but it's currently the only way to get ComicRack to sync comics with reading lists & allowing for a seamless reading experience using the ComicRack for Android app within the Emulator on Windows.

Full Android natively installed:
This isn't viable for most hardware types, but at one point, I actually partitioned my system and got Android x86 running on my PC. The problem here is having to reboot the tablet every single time I wanted to read comics or sync them just wasn't viable. I would have opted to stay in Android the entire use of the tablet, but ARM-built apps wouldn't work correctly on my Intel system :(


These are not available, but would at least provide an easier workaround, if not a solution:

ComicRack Reader for Windows:
If only this existed. There are supposed to be Windows 10 app tools coming, which allow iOS or Android developers to easily port their application to the Universal Windows Platform. If this happened, I'm sure alot of us would be extremely happy. Hell, I'm sure many of us would happily pay for a ComicRack Reader (that could sync) if it was on the Windows App Store.

ComicRack Filter "Only Checked"
So, if there was a way to filter ComicRack to show only reading lists that have been Synced. You can currently do this on the Devices page with the "Only Checked" button. It occurs to me if you could do this on the main page, you can drag / drop each reading list to your Comics folder on your Windows 8.1 reading device. If there's a way to do this, I've not discovered it yet.



So, I know that's a little long-winded but I wanted to throw it out there. Maybe it'll help someone in the same predicament, or inspire another solution I haven't thought about.
Last Edit: 2 years 5 months ago by spidermitch.
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Windows Sync 2 years 5 months ago #42405

  • TheOiulkj
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Here's a post I made a while back which describes another method which might interest you.

comicrack.cyolito.com/forum/38-tutorials...ters-via-internetlan

Another thing I have discovered since making that post is that you can install comicrack as a portable app by adding/uncommenting "UseLocalSettings = true" in comicrack.ini which would allow you to run comicrack completely from it's install directory. Then you'll only need to sync that one folder and everything will go with it, minus the comics themselves of course. Also, you'll have to deal with the donation nagscreen whenever switching devices even if you have donated.

So basically if you'd like your settings to be the same across computers you could use the "portable" method. If you want different settings (and no nagscreen) you could install as normal then sync the database only.

This of course doesn't solve the issue of comicrack for windows being poorly optimized for touch screens and hopefully we get some windows based touch screen love in the future, but I still find comicrack to be better than even most apps that are made exclusively for touch screens. Hell, I don't even like the comicrack android app very much anymore. Compared to using the windows app with a tablet, the android app just doesn't do it all.

tip: stick to the "tap" gestures and it'll be a lot more usable ie: use tap for next page and two finger tap for previous page.
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Windows Sync 2 years 5 months ago #42439

  • spidermitch
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I actually forgot to mention here how I have my ComicRack setup for syncing to Android, simply because I don't use it on my portable Windows tablet. I have about three Windows computers where, at any given time, I can open ComicRack and have the most up-to-date database changes & synced comics list on my Android devices.

Basically, all my comics are on a mapped NAS (same driveletter on each computer) & I keep core ComicRack files on each computer's local drive.
The database, ComicDB.xml & it's backup are within Dropbox, which is installed in the same directory on each PC. The ComicRack.ini file is modified with UseLocalSettings=true & Databasepath=c:/Dropbox/ComicRackLiveDB

This ensures that the database is always synced to each PC (especially with Dropbox's LAN sync feature turned on) & there's an added value of Dropbox versioning your database, so if you ever crash, you can restore. Add this to ComicRack's built in auto-backup & Manual backup to another cloud service, and you're good to go! As an added bonus, I also created a batch file that I launch ComicRack with that first copies all settings from various plug-ins and /data/config.xml so I can sync the Android client's sync list across the two computers I use the main ComicRack program on, then it launches ComicRack, and as a TSR stays waiting until CR is closed, then copies the configs back to the Dropbox folder. I know I could have done some crazy symlinks, but a batch file at launch & hidden until close works just as well for me.

Either way, it's really great that CR allows for custom DB paths & such and it's really cool to read your write-up of how you set yours up too!

I really just wished there was a separate Windows 8/8.1/10 reading app. I see a few threads in feature requests, so I'm hoping it gets the attention it deserves. Again, at the very least just letting us manually filter showing what's currently synced would allow us to manually drag/drop over to the Windows tablet.
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