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All About The App

By the look of it, Comic Chameleon, the only other web comic app out there has called it a day. There has only really been them and WebcomiX and now they are gone.

From what I gather, they took a fairly different approach to comics than we did. They scraped the comics from the artists websites and in return promised a % of revenue. I don’t know how many active users they had but to pay themselves and 100+ comic creators must have been tricky.

One thing that we can learn from them is that if you are in the app market space, then it is ALL about the app. You can have brilliant ideas and the best of intentions but if the app isn’t front and centre then you are lost.

To begin with they started off as an iPhone only app. Not only that but they picked the wrong technology to make their app. There is no excuse for not supporting tablets these days. However when you installed it on an iPad you just got the system 2x blow up of the iPhone version. I am guessing they used one of those iOS/HTML/CSS hybrid systems that were popular in the early 10s. I am also guessing they didn’t have an in house programmer as they only did ten updates in seven years.

Then five years ago they did a Kickstarter to raise money for the Android app. Whatever tech they were using obviously wasn’t cross platform. They now had two apps to maintain and add features to. Even five years ago it would have been possibly to write an app that was both modern and cross platform, rather than a pure android one. they should have bitten the bullet.

Finally their app may have been a bit too high maintenance. Like comixology, it did the thing where you could read a comic one panel at a time. I am guessing someone spent a lot of time counting panels and adding it to the database. This also made the app a bit confusing as different things happened depending on where you swiped or tapped.

I will admit WebcomiX has got a bit lax at times. However there is a new version of iOS and Android every year that usually breaks something. There are new screen sizes and UI paradigms (?) to consider. There are even new things that your development tools add that can be used. The upcoming 3.1 release of WebcomiX builds on a lot of features added to Xamarin.Forms 4. One, it is a new version and you have to move to it at some point. Two, the deep linking means you could launch comics from notifications and the Home search bar. No one asked for it but they are getting it.

Still, it is a shame to see another app bite the dust after all these years. While we did the same thing, I don’t think we were ever competitors.

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WiFi Android Debugging

I have a Galaxy S9. It works but the USB-C connector is a bit loose. I have had it replaced once and do most of my charging via a mat. However I still need the connector for deploying and debugging apps.

Well, it turns out you can deploy and debug via wifi. It is dead slow but it works. I got most of the details form here and here. Once you have your batch file correct, you run it and your phone magically appears as a launch option in Visual Studio.

First get the IP address of your phone from

Setting->Connections->Wifi->Current Network->Settings

and your device name from the Stack Overflow link. In my case I had emulators running as well as my phone so it is easier just to hardcode the command to work on your phone. Put the following into a batch file and change 227bef7922047ece to your device name and 192.168.0.30 to your phones IP address.

@echo off
echo starting
::ENTER YOUR CODE BELOW::
echo Android bits
cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\platform-tools
adb -s 227bef7922047ece tcpip 5555
adb -s 227bef7922047ece connect 192.168.0.30:5555
::END OF YOUR CODE::
echo Finished
pause

Then connect your phone via USB, run the batch file, unplug the USB and check Visual Studio. As I said earlier, it is dead slow but you can do most of your debugging in the emoulator and just deploy the odd build this way.

More detail here.