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Comic Collector for Mac OS X release

May 9th, 2011

Comic Collector for Mac OS XAlwin here, with the latest news on Comic Collector for Mac OS X.

As you know, we were planning to release a full-featured Comic Collector for Mac on May 17. And with “full-featured”, I mean a Mac edition with all features of the current Windows edition. Well, I am afraid we will not be able to reach that goal.

But I have come up with a cunning plan. Here’s the deal:

What’s the problem?

First, let me explain what the problem is. We started on this project with two goals:

  • Develop a Mac edition of Comic Collector, that in its first “point oh” release would immediately have all features and functionality of the 5.0 version for Windows.
  • At the same time, create a completely new shared code framework for all our Mac software. This framework will be then subsequently be used for the upcoming major upgrades of the Mac editions of Music, Movie and Book Collector.

Well, it turns out that we severely underestimated the scale of this project.

First, we misjudged the functionality of the Windows edition. We had gotten so used to the program, that we forgot about all the small tweaks and improvements that were implemented through the years (Comic Collector for Windows has been around since 2002!). Mark and AJ (who are testing the Mac edition) keep running into stuff still missing in the Mac edition, causing our “TO DO” list to continuously grow, instead of shrink. Not a pretty sight so close to the deadline.

Second, creating the shared framework while working on Comic Collector is complicating (and slowing down) the implementation of every single feature and screen. For instance, take the Add Automatically screen. Quite a complex screen by itself, but preparing the screen to handle not only comics, but also movies, books and CDs is a lot of work. Even a seemingly simple feature like the Edit Lists screen turned out to be huge project in itself, because the new code needs to be ready for every type of list item that exists in all Collector programs, not only those that Comic Collector needs.

I have talked about the problems with the team, and here’s what we came up with:

We still stand behind our decision of creating the shared code framework. Yes, it may be slowing down our progress, but we are confident that the extra time we invest now will be earned back during the development of the major upgrades of Movie, Book and Music Collector for Mac.
However, the idea of making the first release of Comic Collector for Mac completely up-to-date with the Windows edition may have been a little optimistic (to say the least).

The new plan

Looking at the current internal build of the Mac edition, we realized that, in its current state, it already is a very good and fully usable comic cataloging program. Yes, it may be missing some stuff that is available on Windows, but does that make it unacceptable as a comic book database tool for Mac? No, we don’t think so. So here’s the new plan:

  • We will release Comic Collector 5.0 for Mac OS X next week. Probably on Thursday May 19.
  • Next week’s “point-oh” release will be a fully usable comic book inventory program for Mac OS, with all functionality necessary to catalog and browse your comic collection.
  • However: this first release for Mac will be missing some functionality of the current v5 version for Windows. These missing features will be released in the next few months, in a couple of free 5.x updates.

Now, let’s look at what will be included in next week’s release and what will be added later:

What will be included in v5.0?

Basically, everything you need to add comics to your comic database, to edit their properties and to browse, sort, group and search your comic collection, and more. Here’s the full list:

  • Import XML from Windows edition.
  • Add Comics Automatically, downloading all comic data and cover images from our online comic database, either by series title or by barcode, or by selecting from the New Releases list.
  • Support for the CueCat, C37 and OPN-2001 barcodes scanners, plus of course any HID (keyboard emulating) scanner.
  • Find Cover Image screen, to find missing images using a Google Images search.
  • Edit Comic properties, either one by one or in batch with the Edit Multiple feature, same fields as the Windows edition.
  • Browse comics lists in the main screen, in 3 views: List, Images and Cover Flow.
  • Select your own columns for the List View, save your own Column Field Sets.
  • Wish List features: All, Collection and Wish List tabs in main screen.
  • View comic details in 2 different templates, each available in 4 styles.
  • Group comics into folders (e.g. by Series or Publisher).
  • Sort comic lists by clicking column headers.
  • Search your comic database using the Quick Search box.
  • Select from several different main screen layouts.
  • View database statistics (bar charts and pie charts), integrated in main screen.
  • Export to CLZ Comics mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, over Wi-Fi and USB.
  • Manage pick lists in the Edit Lists screen.
  • Automatic Sort Title and Capitalization settings.

What will be added later?

This is the list of “secondary” features, that will be missing from next week’s 5.0 release, and added in future free updates:

  • Synchronize with Connect
  • Printing
  • Linking/Updating Comics Automatically
  • Some functionality of the Add Automatically screen, like managing Favorite Series, Search Settings and in collection filter
  • Submit to Collectorz.com
  • Add Multiple Comics Manually
  • Duplicate Comic, add new issues by duplicating existing entries.
  • Sorting on multiple fields / saving sort field sets
  • Main screen Contents View
  • Field Defaults
  • User definable Field Names
  • Database Totals screen
  • Filter screen
  • Loan Manager
  • Exporting data to HTML, Text/CSV, iPod Notes (for classic iPods)

So, that’s the deal. I hope that most of you will agree this is the best way to go, as it means you will not have to wait any longer, and you can get started cataloging your comic books on your Mac next week.

Of course, you may find that a feature that is essential for you is not in next week’s release. If so, then I recommend to postpone your purchase until that specific feature has been released.