Development Update #3

I’m trapped in “must code” brain mode so please enjoy this new update!

  • Archive Binge is now running on a newer version of PHP! Users may need to log out and back in due to a change made to cookie encryption.
  • All Smack Jeeves comics have had their RSS links removed due to SJ no longer serving RSS
  • Features that are currently not available have had references removed (e.g. friends list). They’ll still be coming, just hiding them until they’re actually out.
  • The option to allow ratings on comics has been removed (it didn’t actually function yet, and will likely not be a feature in the future)
  • Comic banners on the front page and profile have an improved gradient
  • Fixed a bug in which the tag/warning selectors were missing their styling on the Browse page
  • Added Site Settings to user profiles:
    • Option for Dark Mode for reading comics in the dead of night
    • Option to hide favorites from a user’s profile page
    • Option to set the reader frame on the bottom of the browser window
  • Corrected an issue in which Twitter cards were not showing the image for comics with an image set.

Development Update #2

So yeah, it’s been a bit. Long story short, management is a terrible career path. 0/10 do not recommend. But that’s not what we’re here about.

Archive Binge had some updates recently! This is largely due to the Smack Jeeves upheaval because I knew a lot of the comics on this site were hosted on Smack Jeeves and the changes were undoubtedly going to result in a lot of broken comics (Only 68 out of 1148, but still).

Changelog as of 12/4:

  • Ads are back! But not bad ads. These ads are hosted by the Comicad network, which (like Project Wonderful) was created by webcomic creators for the webcomic community. I’ve worked with one of the devs on another project before and they’re good people.
  • All comics known to be Smack Jeeves comics have had their URLs updated to the new URL scheme.
  • Smack Jeeves-hosted comics now use the Webtoons-style bookmarking system due to incompatibility with iframes
  • Smack Jeeves-hosted comics now have their own crawler, which is an option on the submission and edit crawler pages.
  • Comic owners can now manually update all pages URLs for their comic listings. Example use case: removing guest comics or announcement pages from the listing
  • Comic owners can now initiate a recrawl on the “Edit Crawler” page for their comics.
    • The above two changes are restricted to comic owners only to prevent abuse. Please let me know if you’re having trouble claiming your comic, or if an unclaimed listing needs updating!
  • The development blog has been moved out of the front page and into a link in the menu (Dev Blog)
  • Minor cosmetic changes:
    • The reader page’s background has been changed to a dark color to avoid blinding readers of dark-backgrounded comics on page loads
    • The +/- subscribe/unsubscribe links have been changed to actual text ‘subscribe’/’unsubscribe’ for clarity

The week’s been a bit of a screaming blur thanks to Smack Jeeves, but I’m fairly certain that’s everything that got changed. For comic creators considering a move off Smack Jeeves, check out this resource: http://freejeeves.com/

My next step is unraveling the mess that is my trello for Archive Binge. From that, hopefully future updates will be a little more organized.

Archive Binge Compatibility

Due to some awesome word of mouth, Archive Binge has grown a lot despite being in Alpha. Through the growth, there have been a number of comics added that, for some reason or another, AB isn’t quite compatible with (yet!), either through the crawler or the reader. If you’re looking to add your comics, here’s some quick tips on making your site as compatible as possible:

The Crawler/Submission

The crawler currently works by identifying a unique tag on the “next page” link in your comic navigation, and then repeatedly following that link through the entire comic to find all of the pages. If there’s no unique marker on the link, it has a lot of trouble finding the next page amoung all the other links on the site.

To make it work as smoothly as possible, try adding a rel=”next” to the “next page” link in your comic’s navigation. It looks like this:

<a href="/nextpage" rel="next"><img src="imgs/next.png" alt="Next" /></a>

If that still doesn’t work*, you can also try adding a bit of code in your comic’s header, showing what the link to the next page is:

<link rel="next" href="http://www.yourcomic.com/link/to/next/" />

* There are instances where it doesn’t work even if you have a unique marker on the link. Usually it’s the presence of a dropdown listing links to pages that does this. If this happens, try adding a <link rel…> higher up on the page or contact me.

Comic Fury

Add this to the <head> section of Overall in the HTML editor:

<link rel="next" href="[v:nextcomic]" />

Doing this will not only make your comic more compatible with the crawler; it may also speed up your comic’s loading time in some browsers.

If you have any trouble adding your comic to the website, whether or not you try this method, please let me know and I can see about getting your comic added. I’m currently working on revising the crawler so it will work more reliably on more websites, even if there’s no unique identifier to look for.

The Reader

The most common issue on the reader is this:

A blank white screen.

This is usually caused by the webcomic’s server preventing the comic from being embedded in an iframe. This is a completely valid security practice and I won’t recommend disabling it entirely, but it does cause some trouble for Readers like Archive Binge’s. Fortunately, there’s a way to allow Archive Binge without disabling the setting entirely. The method depends on the server type you’re hosting with:

Apache (with mod_headers enabled)

Add this line to your .htaccess file:

Header set Content-Security-Policy "frame-ancestors http://archivebinge.com"

If you’re not sure how to edit your .htaccess file, please check with your web host. It will likely be a hidden file in your website’s directory.

nginx

Add this line to your site’s configuration:

add_header Content-Security-Policy "frame-ancestors http://archivebinge.com"

IIS

In your site configuration, in the <customHeaders> section, add:

<add name="Content-Security-Policy" value="frame-ancestors http://archivebinge.com" />

x-frame-options

If you have access to edit your x-frame-options directly, try setting it to this:

Header set X-Frame-Options "ALLOW-FROM http://archivebinge.com"

If none of these options work or result in errors, please check with your webhost’s support department and they may be able to assist you. Alternatively, I can switch your comic to use the Webtoons-style bookmarking system in which your comic isn’t loaded in an iframe, but the reader can manually mark their place as they read (For example: https://archivebinge.com/comic/140). If you would like me to switch your comic to the Webtoons system, please let me know!

Hope this helps and, as always, please let me know if you run into any trouble or have any suggestions or feedback for the site. Read on!

Reference: https://ole.michelsen.dk/blog/secure-your-website-with-content-security-policy.html

Development Update #1

Hey, just a short update regarding the progress made:

  • Increment crawler now works. It’s likely still a little shaky, but if you have a comic that you think will require the incrementer and it’s not working, please shoot me an email.
    • Existing comics that should have been using the incrementer or the standard crawler have been switched appropriately. There’s a few comics still using the manual crawler, but unfortunately their websites are so malformed crawling may not be possible
    • On that note, I intend to write up a short “best practices” article soon for increasing the odds of the crawl working
  • Reader Updates
    • Added ‘close frame’ button
    • Added text indicating what page you’re on out of how many total
    • Added ability to subscribe (and therefore bookmark) from the Reader
    • Fixed the issue where the Reader was cutting off the bottom of pages
  • Remember Me should actually work now
  • Lots and lots of bug fixes

In short, it’s been a busy week!

With the increment crawler in place and working, I’m going to ease up on the crawler work for a little bit to continue working on quality-of-life improvements on the site. As always, if you run into any bugs or issues or weirdness, please let me know!

Alpha Launch

Res here! This morning I finished everything necessary to reach the “Minimum Viable Product” stage of Archive Binge.  Is it feature complete? Eh, not quite. Going forward, however, the bulk of the work is behind the scenes (e.g. making the submission process more streamlined and fixing the crawler) or some quality of life improvements (e.g. unbreaking the “Remember Me” thing) so for the purposes of answering the question “can it be used?” the answer is “yes”.

If you’re new here (which I imagine you are, considering this is a brand new site), go ahead and create an account. Once you do, you may add, subscribe, edit, and read the comics listed here. Any comics read via the site will be bookmarked so you can pick up where you left off.

For site news and help, you can keep follow updates on the rest of the features in the Trello linked above, or reach me for support if you run into trouble (links on the Contact page).

Go read some webcomics!